On Friday we said goodbye to Grace once again, she packed up her little brown Subaru and headed back to the city. Charm is going to miss his young friend, Tiger for sure will be searching for her and Lady the big Shire mare will be wondering where she has gone. We will miss her too but welcome her decision to return to school and wish her every success.....don't forget hay time on the ranch...all conscripts (I mean volunteers !) welcome !!! Thanks for all your help Grace, we look forward to seeing you again.
Today is the day that we REALLY start to expect the strident baaaaa of a tiny lamb when we open the big barn doors. Five months ago love was in the air...in the barn .....in the pasture.....(EVERYWHERE !!) when Rodney the ram was turned into the sheep pen to resume his duty as gigolo extraordinaire after his Summer of enforced celibacy. Rodney the ram was not hesitant and if the ewes didn't move fast enough ...and even if they did, they were (at least for a few moments) fortunate ( or unfortunate !) enough to be the recipient of his undivided and very ardent attention. As a consequence of his diligence, we have eleven very rotund "ladies in waiting" looking extremely uncomfortable and ready to burst. Without doubt photos will follow...LOTS of photos....babies never get old and each lambing season is welcomed with new anticipation and excitement. Oh, and, thanks to Grace, Rodney' s exclusive new man cave is ready and waiting to ensure that there will be no unscheduled visits to the harem until next Autumn. We found your grafiti Grace...I didn't find the sheets though. smile
Aside from the pending population explosion in the sheep pen, Tom the turkey is starting to feel Spring. Our turkey Romeo has, by default got three pretty young things on which to shower his love.... and lust. I guess, by the end of the breeding season the poor turkey will be worn out. From dawn to dusk Tom works his magic, his snood transforms into vibrant blue and red, his tail fans and his wings spread and droop in an enticing display of male vanity. Slowly deliberately and elegantly the tom turkey poses himself ..."is this my best side ?". On the far side of the pen the three turkey hens huddle, reluctant to be the focus of his attention but Tom doesn't seem to notice...he knows his time will come...patience Tom, patience.
Yesterday, Justine, a young farm visitor worked the Gentle Giant choral society into a crescendo with all the style and skill of a big band conductor. Waving a long blade of grass and pretty as a picture in pink, Justine sang Jingle Bells.....as the blade of grass rose and fell, as it rose and fell, the band of hens watched, heads moving in unison cackling and clucking (in frustration and annoyance) just waiting for the succulent grass to fall. It will soon be Spring ladies, Spring brings gardening and gardening means weeds...LOTS of weeds. (darn it !!)
Time to post this entry, it's Sunday, I'm living in TOTAL chaos and mayhem....we are remodeling the kitchen....WHY oh WHY is the whole house upside down. Take care, keep safe, M
Good morning all. Maureen is busy with other morning activities which leaves me to wish everyone a happy morning. Yesterday was a fine day for a ride. The groom was busy getting everything ready for the two ladies. Its a great way to end a day of rushing to and fro. The Chevy truck had to go in for some work first thing in the morning so, of course, we had to get all the stable yard out of the truck to the repair folks could get in. It was part of the annual spring clean and blow out. Does that mean I won't have to clean it again for a few months?? Maureen was a happy bunny. I almost died when I saw the bill!
Everyone was busy with projects. John got on with preparations for getting the tile back over the barn kitchen sink. Grace figuring out the dimensions for completing Rodney the Ram's man cave. It should be ready for occupancy today if there is nothing to surprise us when we get down to the barn (lambs!!??).
Hope you all have a good day. Time to go. Daylights burn'n as they say. Take care, stay safe. Greg
Bran the Border Collie has a new dog bed. Not for Bran the rolled up horse blanket, no longer the piece of carpet ( clearly formerly a luxurious soft beige hue now tinted with barn yard brown and muck pile black)...Bran has a new, opulent, sumptuous stuffed fluffy bed and he is a happy dog ! The bed is a kingsize circular model ( which has caused a logistic problem in our largely rectangular kitchen) which leaves ample room for a twin bed sized dog but Bran has just taken on the challenge of filling and even draping over the edge. He has tried the" on the back, four paws in the air" napping, he has perfected the fetal pup snooze and he does the fill the space flat out dead dog sleep. Bran is a happy dog in the barn kitchen but not so in the barn.....in the barn he has feline competition. The recent month of consistently wet windy and cold weather has persuaded our two ageing barn cats to forgo any attempts to find lunch for themselves. Any rats and mice that are presently fortunate enough to have chose our ranch for their residence are having a period of weather induced parole as Tiger and Shy appear to have temporarily retired in favor of a life of comfort and ease. Unfortunately for Mr. Bran, his perch on the front of the quad has been usurped by two unrepentant ginger cats, the two will be found curled up on a dry coat, stretched out on a hay bale and fast asleep in the horses bed of shavings . Two hungry mewing cats will meet us in the barnyard for breakfast.....clearly the rats slept easy last night. At lunchtime Tiger and Shy will relentlessly haunt us for a cat nibble refill and by dinner time the two cats will be waiting by the feed room door resonantly demanding their evening meal in stereo. The barnyard mice will roam at will, our feline hunters have satisfied tummy's !
Timed out....my tea is cold and time to go already. Take care, keep safe and dry. M
It's NOT a good morning ! No morning without my cup (mug) of tea can be a good morning....I feel grumpy and I feel miserable. Today is the day designated for my physical, I'm going to be poked and prodded , I'm going to be interrogated about my innermost secrets and I'm going to leave the doctor's office feeling more unwell than when I entered it. ...I'm hungry (and I don't usually eat breakfast) and I want my tea !
Well, sadly, young Jaden went back to the city after four days on the ranch. It was a fun time with our grandson and we look forward to his next visit..... I will ensure that the four wheeler is fully fueled up and an ample supply of muffins and a new jar of Pub mix are in the pantry. Thanks for all your hard work Jaden, see you again soon.
Grace has also been busy in the barn and has become quite proficient with the various power tools that make up Greg's boy's toys arsenal. She is responsible for the construction of the panels that surround the pen that will be Rodney's celibate Winter home when the ewes have lambed and under Greg's discerning eye has operated the angle grinder, drill press, radial arm saw and the nail gun with confidence and skill. Well done Grace ....up the Girl Team !!!
Dodging rain drops and between gusts of wind Grace and Lady set off for a trail ride through the woods as the sun set. I made up the threesome with the lead rope....just in case but I was un necessary as Grace competently wound her way through the forest trails on the big Shire Mare.
Time to post this entry. I'm still grumpy, I'm still miserable and I still don't have my tea. Take care, keep safe, M
All was quiet in the barn. In the sheep pen, Rodney the ram was sharing breakfast with his increasingly rotund harem. In the cow barn, Daisy May the black Dexter and Misty Moo the Jersey heifer quietly await the daily process to Cow Lane and the residents of the horse barn were ensuring that not one shred of hay or one morsel of breakfast remained un eaten. It was time to begin the morning routine, old T Bone on his unstable legs snuffled and snorted at the interruption to his breakfast...surely there was at least one crumb hiding under his beat up rubber bowl and he was going to ensure that it wasn't going to waste. Grace and young Jaden elected to work on Lady the big Shire Mare. Lady had inhaled her grain in record time and as is her custom, proceeded to pick up the rubber bucket and hurl it around the stall. Once the bucket inconveniently lands upside down, Lumpy Lady despondently hangs her head and concedes game over. Yesterday was a little different to other days. From Mr. Coopers stall, as I removed his night rug, dodging his big black nose searching for carrots, I heard activity in the big Shire's stall. As I began lining up straps clips and under rug, still dodging searching lips .......all went quiet. As I fastened up the breast straps ( yes....Cooper was still searching), needing reassurance that all was well in the adjoining ( and still very quiet) Shire stall, I called out to the intrepid two. Silence was the disconcerting non reply. Removing Mr. Coopers nose which was firmly buried in my coat pocket, I peeked over the stall gate just in time to see Lady meekly standing, head down with the tail flap of her "out to play" horse blanket over her neck and the chest straps under her buttl ! Something was clearly not quite right ! In their defense and under the rules of the "no blame policy", Lady is a VERY big horse....it is a seriously oversized blanket and it was a learning exercise for both of our young farmers. Well done both of you and thank you for your perseverance...and your tolerance ( in advance) for my blog revelations.
Jaden goes back to the big city today. He has been my friend and my ally, he has found me my favorite Pub Mix morsels from the depths of the big plastic jar and we have entertained ourselves with Mrs. Sirius on his I Pad. Seriously....a computer telling you that "you are certainly entitled to your opinion" ????? ...scary ! Thank you for putting up with us Jaden...thank you for all your hard work and we look forward to your next visit...soon ?
Well, time to get this entry posted, it is going to be dry this morning, well, there's a novelty ! Take care, keep safe, M
Good Morning Everyone! I will admit this is going to be a short one. Maureen is busy, but I want to keep our viewers up to date on Grace and Jaden's activities. Grace is back in the swing with the animals and "projects". Jaden learned the finer points of GGMR's "dig a hole so you can fill it in!". Actually I think he was getting practice in for when his family gets their own place and how to dig those fence post holes and set them properly. We are in the process of preparing Rodney the ram's Man Cave. Only a few days now until the lambs start appearing. Then poor Rodney has a 7 month vacation (forced celibacy) from the nagging women (ewes) and screaming babies (lambs)...??
Well have to go. I have fullfilled my obligation for the short term. Keep warm, stay safe and dry. Love to all. Greg and Maureen.
There's a lot of loving going on around Gentle Giant Meadows Ranch right now. Jaden our young grand son is back for a few short days on the farm and he is just loving everything....he loves Misty Moo the adorable heavily pregnant Jersey cow, he loves Charm the golden palomino with beauty and attitude, he loves Lady the giant Shire Mare....but most of all, Jaden LOVES the four wheeler. Everyone knows, mechanical things need to be run to keep them working...right ? well, clearly the four wheeler needs EXTRA special attention and Jaden is REALLY ensuring that there is no possibility of that vehicle seizing up while he is around to take care of it.
Sadly, Mother Nature is not co operating with Jaden's visit and, whilst I hesitate to grumble about the weather ( having watched the wind rain and snow creating personal and economic havoc on the East Coast and in England). A series of heavy rain storms are lining up in the Pacific and MJ ( Fox 13 meteorologist) watching a kaleidoscope double Doppler weather map is enthusiastically advising us all to stay warm, dry and....indoors on this Presidents day holiday ! ( not much hope of that around here !) Jaden is anxiously watching the weather, his concerns aren't for his warmth or for his comfort, Jaden wants to ride, just ONE ride...... just a short one before he has to return to the city.
Along with our concerns about the inclement and inconvenient weather, we are anxiously watching little bodies growing and udders beginning to swell in both the sheep pen and the cow barn. This year's crop of lambs are imminent and Misty's nine month pregnancy is over in less than five weeks. Sadly for Rodney the ram, lambing signals his return to celibacy and his "man cave" was being prepared yesterday by Greg and his uncomplaining right hand man, Jaden. Thanks Jaden
We were very happy to welcome Grace back to the "girl team" yesterday. Grace arrived in the rain and will be with us for two weeks before returning to school. It is going to be a really busy two weeks and we know she will enjoy the experience....if not the weather.
Got to go, take care, keep safe and dry ( Huh ???) M
I'm currently sitting in a building site.....I'm surrounded by paint tins, paint brushes and paint swatches, unpainted walls and half painted molding......I'm in heaven !!! Sadly, being creative with a paintbrush exhausted my literary creativity, or maybe just exhausted me ! Clearly, my dereliction to the Almost Daily Diary has caused consternation around the world, concern has been expressed for our health and worse, much worse......breakfast coffee didn't taste the same without the flavor of the farm to start the day. Happily, we are just fine. Despite spending much of the week inhaling paint fumes, balancing on one leg on a window sill or hanging off a ladder I have ( to my surprise and Greg's relief) survived. The good news is, the kitchen /family room is transforming with each stroke ( yes, I now gently stroke, no more lashing on the paint, drowning the brush in the tin or inadvertently painting the floor, ladder and worst of all, me) it's character is changing and I'm loving it. the bad news for poor Greg is...I've got the bug now and plans are already taking shape in my poor overtaxed brain for the next room....and the next. If it is standing still long enough, it will be painted.
It has to be said, whilst my artistic appetite has been revived....life at the ranch continues, my daily duties are unabated, old T Bone still poos a storm and Mr. Starbuck the black Appaloosa with no spots manages to convert his clean newly swept stall into something resembling a bomb site on a daily basis. During my literary absence, we have gone through the whole gambit of weather conditions and survived with nothing more than a dent to my farm fashion ego ( if I had one !). Snow rain wind and ice make for an arduous day down at the barn without the required number of Winter layers..... trust me....I had those layers, LOTS of layers, I very closely resembled a Telly Tubby or Michelin man...but worse, much much worse ! A decision to get to the bathroom had to be made ten minutes prior to it becoming an urgent issue. Clothes were chosen that didn't have zips or buttons, jeans from my "fat" wardrobe allowed four layers between them and skin and another four layers on top. My recent Goodwill bargains were gleefully pulled out of the closet.....and sweater after sweater ensured that this happy rancher wasn't going to freeze.
I'm sorry, the cuckoo clock has been ticking away and it is time for me to post this entry before we head out into yet another storm system. I will try hard not to spoil morning coffee or give loved ones concerns for our health. I will Endeavour to combine my artistic talent ( ?) with my literary obligations.
Take care, keep safe, M
Wanted to let all our loyal readers know, we are alive and busy. Sorry for the lack of posting. If you know Maureen, she is like a dog at a bone. Once she gets going on something there is no stopping. About a week ago, Maureen got a bug to start the kitchen remodel. Well... Since then, all else has come to a second (or put off) slot. I love it! Maureen has taken on the challenge to learn how to paint, WITHOUT getting as much paint on herself, brush and all else as on the surface to be painted. I must say, I am a good teacher and Maureen a good study. And not even having to use the tape on the edges!!.
Also just a few pics of the winter wonderland that hit us a few days ago. It was beautiful. Others fretted, but our commute was all downhill and 4-wheel drive sure is a must to get back to the house. It was all gone in a couple days when the rain came back. Then it was back to the ark!
Hopefully Maureen will be back tomorrow on the keyboard. She obviously has a better flair than I do. Take care and stay safe. G
One cup of sugar....oh...make it two, cup of Karo syrup, the honey looks a little past it's best, I can clear that out of the pantry...carrot, grate some apple, throw in a little flour oats and some barn yard grain roll into sweet sticky balls and into the oven ! On the home front, I am becoming quite the Cookie Guru but nothing I have created for the cookie tin is as appreciated quite so much as Misty Moo appreciates my "oat thingys" down in the cow barn. Misty Moo the adorable Jersey "heifer in waiting" is addicted. One rustle of a zip lock bag and I have got her undivided attention, one sticky cookie and she closely resembles my reaction when I'm given a chocolate and hazelnut Fero Rocher. Misty is currently under training. Clearly her udder was ticklish or just plain out of bounds and, with a mini Misty due in March and the milky bar already distending, it was time to desensitize her bits in readiness for her graduation from heifer to blossoming family milk cow. An extra item has been added to our agenda, Misty teat tweaking. With her head buried in a grain bucket and me at her head, armed with a sticky cow cookie as a secondary diversion, Greg has the dodgy kicking end, Misty Moo has been an angel, Greg pulls and strokes and rubs the swelling udder....Misty is blissfully pre occupied. Food and cookies...I guess it's an age old tactic for child therapy and currently, I'm a supporter ( as least for our four legged friends with the ability to send us into orbit with one crafty and well aimed kick). Daisy Mae passed another uneventful Thursday....the valley didn't echo with her frantic and endless wanton calls. Her benign mood and blessed silence are good signs that Pixie Forest Mulder's visit to the farm was a productive one. If all goes well in the cow barn, a mini me Daisy Mae will be born on ( or around) September 4th. Misty Moo's calf is due on the 24th of March...doubtlessly we will keep you informed !
It was a BAD day for Bran the Border Collie! The farm truck has a very distinct odor. It isn't horse, sheep cow chicken or turkey .....although, I guess in truth it was possibly all five. I can, without hesitation prove that the air freshener that can turn a rancid room into a Spring garden and a trash bag filled taxi into a perfumed boudoir doesn't work in our truck !!! Bran STANK ! The dog is a farm dog and I acknowledge that the farm is not the place for a clean dog ....BUT !! Bran will roll in the manure pile and lie in the black smelly pooh/pee soup . The fecal mess congealed in his tail, glued to his legs and collected in the hair on his tummy and he was just getting worse by the day. On Tuesday a very reluctant Bran was bathed, in the sink with warm water and soap. The snags and pooh balls were hacked out of his tangled coat and Bran the Border Collie was NOT Impressed. Just to add insult to injury, he got a blow dry. The resultant sparkly clean, scalped canine now smells of.....just dog ! Poor Bran.
Well, the cuckoo clock is ticking down and it's about time to post this entry. Take care, keep safe M