Our most recent ranch project is to remove the barbed wire from the boundary fence in one of our pastures. It would appear that this fencing has been in existence for the past forty years and yesterday, Greg's birthday we headed off into the pasture equipped with all the appropriate fencing supplies, Bran the Border Collie, little Luke and a bottle of Greg's homemade red wine. As a watery Winter sun shone over the frozen earth, we sat on the tailgate of the big grey Chevy farm truck, swinging our legs and toasting our life from plastic cups. The good news is, much of the lethal barbed wire has been disposed of and we had a wonderful fun afternoon together....the bad news is, the barbed wire was possibly the only element holding the whole crumbling fence together and the ageing cedar posts are now only a token fence just waiting for a strong wind to blow them over. Guess what our next mission will be ?
When the Arctic winds blow and the frigid temperatures settle over the valley, every day functions are constantly challenged. Water, a basic bodily requirement for both man and beast under normal weather conditions a simple chore becomes overnight a problem throughout the barnyard...from chickens to cows horses and sheep. Even little Luke our "wanna be" farm dog has a problem with ice.....with his rustic water bowl frozen into an ice cube Luke apparently can't resist trying to lap it up....one of these days we are going to be removing a little welded Luke tongue from a frozen plastic dog bowl. Daisy the black Dexter momma has mastered the art of breaking the ice from her water trough but the chickens, so easily confused by the simplest issues hover expectantly around the frozen water fountain in the chicken yard, ignoring the portable water dispenser conveniently relocated in the henhouse. Tiger and Shy the resident barn cats have also found ways of adapting to and coping with the plummeting temperatures. When the winds howl, the rain falls or the freezing air enfolds the barn and the surrounding valley the two cats find a hollow in the hay stack, a warm spot on the steaming muck pile or, should we neglect to close the barn kitchen door fast enough two feline bodies slink through, undetected to spend a cozy night snuggled in the insulation of the barn loft.
It has, over the past few months become apparent to us that Bran the Border Collie has designated himself as Luke's unofficial supervisor and official despot. Previously quiet and unassuming, Bran has taken it upon himself to very vocally chastise and educate his younger and smaller canine companion. When little Luke hesitates to scramble into the big Chevy farm truck fast enough Bran invariably barks and growls threateningly." Get your butt into this truck...NOW ! ". When paws have been wiped and both dogs are expectantly awaiting the command to come into the house and receive the inevitable biscuit reward. I habitually ask them both to sit. Invariably Bran sits like a bullet....Luke gazes vacantly into space...until he catches the scathing look directed at him from the already sitting and increasingly impatient Bran. One look from Bran and little Luke's butt hits the ground instantaneously.
It has been a tough week down on the ranch...it isn't yet Winter and the temperatures have been well below freezing but every day brings new challenges and new rewards. Our life is blend of trials tribulations, laughter and joy....and we wouldn't change it for the world.
Finally and very importantly.....Please pray for someone very special to me that the news that she is about to receive will be favorable and that her life can return to normal.
Take care, keep safe and warm. M