It's starting to look "a lot like Christmas" ...if Christmas looks like chaos !!! Boxes, crates, bits of tree, garlands and lights...lots and lots of lights. Greg ( aka Ba Humbug) has excelled himself risking life and limb swinging off his ladder draped in icicle lights and fortified by a hearty warm mug or two of steaming mulled wine. The Christmas tree was transformed from three big shapeless black garbage sacks ( bin bags in English speak) into a shimmering glittering red and gold vision...fortified by another mug or three of ...you guessed it..mulled wine. Baby Jesus was placed in the manger, the three kings joined the ox and the ass and the angels glitter around the crib...oh, did I mention the mulled wine ? In the corner, my "memory tree" evolved from the saddest oldest Christmas tree ever, its semi naked branches are now adorned with precious memories. Weary antiquated baubles from my dim and distant childhood, shimmering trophies collected from travels around the world and, the family gifts, each one chosen especially for us. Each box named and dated....memories collected over 20 years loved and appreciated. Tears shed over family no longer able to be with us.....and a consolation glass of Greg's home grown, home fermented.....lovingly prepared....mulled wine to make it all feel better. Christmas is a special time of year, Christmas invokes Joy and sadness....memories and anticipation. I'm sure that I will be inspired to share more Ranch shenanigans before the big day..... but between now and then, we wish you happiness and health. Oh, and if you happen to call by the ranch kitchen...maybe a little taster of Greg's mulled wine. Take care, keep safe and keep us in your thoughts. M and G xxx
So grateful for everyone and everything in my life ! Happy Thanksgiving to all our Family and friends, here and all over the world. Love, Maureen and Greg
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness..close bosom friends of the rising sun...." Thank you Mr. Keats, I couldn't have said it better myself ! ...but you seem to have overlooked the fact that the sun barely shows itself (after the aforementioned rising)..the mists seem to perpetually hang over the valley, nasty spiders apparently set up home despite a seasonal "not welcome" notification, horses continually challenge the "DON'T come in muddy" mandate ( thank you..NOT !..Chelsey ) Streaming river- lets constantly defy Greg's drainage system and my bangs (fringe) have taken on a persona of their own. Life seems to be a "dodge the raindrops event"...but, putting everything in perspective..Mr. Keats sir....you REALLY didn't give the whole seasonal portrayal and sometimes Autumn (Fall ) sucks...but, is there a better life ? (seem to remember a hot dry Summer when we were pleading for a raindrop or three).....can't see it ! Thanks to Erin and Jim for everything they do, Love ya (Americanism ) Take care, keep safe, M xx
George the big (very big) Oxford ram and his resident and hopefully (very) pregnant harem were happily hiding out in the warm dry barn when Bran the Border Collie and I arrived to evict them this morning. The rain was falling, the storm clouds were heavy, the muddy puddles were spreading and clearly our not too hardy little flock were not enamored at the prospect of yet another wet day in a soggy pasture. Bran typically intent on the dispatching George and his ladies expeditiously the 10 yards from the sheep barn to the pasture gate yipped yapped and swirled in circles. The heavily pregnant and not (we hope) just overweight ewes co operated with the over enthusiastic Bran but George wasn't about to co operate. George put the brakes on half way across the yard. "Bran..get him in" resulted in Bran with a mouth full of soggy wool but no movement from the unyielding ruminant....."Bran...GET HIM IN " and a less than enthusiastic Bran disappeared under Georges substantial "bits" with his tail between his legs and there was stalemate. As the curious ewes watched the proceedings from inside the pasture gate, Bran watched the proceedings from under George's ample scrotum and it became clear that there was stalemate. Evidently some human intervention was required and with a little (lot) of manual persuasion (and my knees up his woolly butt) George the ram found himself firmly behind a locked pasture gate, a very subdued Border collie retreated to fight another day and I had very mucky jeans !
Today is Erin's birthday and her special day was celebrated in the barn kitchen with chocolate birthday cake, magic candles and a powder blue hoodie with a very Erin appropriate logo.
On the evening before the election, I want to close the diary with a prayer for peace and reconciliation in our deeply divided country. Whatever the result, family is family, friends are friends and America is America. God bless, keep safe and take care from the ranch. M xx
Patience pays off. 5 months later ... The girls are starting to lay eggs. First "practice" egg today. Time to move the ladies to their new home with the rest of the "big" girls.
Day 13..Evie's American Farm Adventure
Evie is currently in SeaTac Airport, almost certainly clutching what crumbs remains of a clutch of oatmeal and raisin cookies salvaged from the cookie counter (it would have been rude not to, right ?). We trust that the lingering aroma of newly baked cookies in the oven are only one of the memories that she will take home to England. We hope the experiences we have shared over the past two weeks will remain with her as they will with us for many years to come and we thank her for embracing each new challenge with a smile ! Yesterday, the sun shone, the puddles dried up and life was good. We celebrated Guy Fawkes night a little early, had a good hot bonfire burning tree limbs collected through the Summer heat. Evie learnt to drive the big green tractor and didn't destroy anything (always a bonus !) and together with lovely old mare Moon and beauty with attitude Charm the golden palomino, we rode through the forest trails as the sun set. Safe trip home Evie, give my love to England and...see you again soon.
Take care, keep safe America. M
Nice way to end a very pleasant day and Evie's last day. Sadly, Evie will be on her way home tomorrow evening. It has been a memorable visit with Evie. One that will be remembered for a very long time!
Day 10.....Time is really going by on Evie's family Farm Adventure.. and it is still raining !!! While Oatmeal and raisin cookies baked in the ranch kitchen, Evie and Greg headed down to the workshop. As golden cookies came out of the oven, a training session on the big green tractor was rained off (before Evie had the chance to touch the gears or threaten the barn wall) and as the oatmeal and raisin cookies were cooling, young Evie was learning to use the radial saw and the staple gun. Bran was trying to hide under the freezer and Luke was hyperventilating at the noise... but a promise to let Evie back into the saddle, rain or shine had to be honored (honoured in English speak). Evie and Moon headed out to the arena as grey clouds rolled across the sky and as the rain came down, Erin coached cajoled and chided (in the nicest possible way).."heels down, legs forward....love that horse up" ..and Evie smiled..the biggest smile as the big old black mare walked and trotted around the field. Hope you are having fun Evie... almost bed time, Bran has taken his place by the door, the cuckoo clock is about to cuckoo...it has been a long wet day. Good night, God Bless, take care of each other. M xx
Day 8 of Evie's Farm Visit.
Still raining and no end of the deluge in sight (at least while young Evie is here) but, as the 5am alarm (VERY unwelcome) sounded in our still dark as night bedroom, something wasn't quite normal. Greg was hurting. Back hurt (again)......not good. A quiet word with our wonderful ranch resident Erin and a conspiratorial discussion with young Evie evolved a plan which would solve any problems or discussion with Greg who was "fine"..where or/and when have I heard that before ? Evie and I resolutely headed out to the sheep barn where we rounded up any black jelly beans we could find ( and there were plenty !! ) Still smiling and wielding a threatening pitch fork, my young ranch apprentice and I wandered into the cow barn. Seriously....mucking out cow poo sets a whole new bunch of challenges to the "professional" horse poo picker. Cow poo doesn't lend itself to an easy clear up. Greg, please feel better tomorrow. While Evie and I were discovering exactly why we choose to spend our morning cleaning horse stalls, sorting out politics, religion and global problems, Erin quietly and efficiently mucked out all the horse stalls. This evening, Erin cancelled her own plans to help out at the barn. I want Erin to know how much she is appreciated ( thank you Erin).... we (Evie, Erin and I) want Greg to know how much we need him to feel better And I would ask, should Greg not feel better tomorrow, PLEASE cows and sheep DON'T poo as much ! Take care of each other, appreciate each other and pray that the election is over soon !! M xxx
Its me, Maureen, (the Boss)