It was, as I have said, a fine autumnal day; the sky was clear and serene, and nature wore that rich and golden livery which we always associate with the idea of abundance. The forests had put on their sober brown and yellow, while some trees of the tenderer kind had been nipped by the frosts into brilliant dyes of orange, purple, and scarlet.... As Ichabod jogged slowly on his way, his eye... ranged with delight over the treasures of jolly autumn. ~Washington Irving, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Storm's a comin', so I'm baking cookies



It rained , off and on, all night. Nothing ominous or foreboding , just a reminder that the seasons change and life keeps going forward. I woke up a couple of times listening to the soft, wonderful sound of the dry earth passionately embracing and accepting the life-giving moisture. There are few sounds so wonderful as rain here in the foothills. Summer is finally over...
In the morning I took the dogs out for their first run of the day. They love to go outside early in the morning and make the rounds of the front yard, smelling everything and leaving their own liquid scent everywhere.
The rain magnifies all the aromas of 3 Dog Farm. It's a combination of trees, bushes, someones wood fire, and the leaves that cover the walkway. It's the familiar and welcome breath of Autumn.
After breakfast I baked Snickerdoodles...
I love to bake these sugary, cinnamony cookies on a cold day. It fills the house with a wonderful aroma and the Prospector loves them. He will say..." Are these for us?" and I will say "Yes, just for us." and there will be , smiles all around and a few of them missing from the plate.
The prospector had been down at his Mother's for a couple of days. It was my turn to hold down the "fort". He came home a few hours ago. His Mom is doing much better. She is getting lots of therapy and hopefully, this will all work toward getting her back home soon. A broken hip at 89 years of age is tough. We are hoping for the best recovery. It will be a hard one, but this is a tough woman and if anyone can recover from this, she can. I have to admire this generation that is slowly leaving us. They make no excuses, they do what they have to do and when life gets difficult they persevere. It's a lesson I pay attention to.
Violetta ( that's my mother-in laws lovely name.)  told me something once.  I was pregnant with my first child and getting close to the delivery. I was not ready to have this baby and I was scared. I said something about my fear to Vi and she said...." You don't have a choice my dear. You just have to get through it. It will be OK. You have your Mom and you have me. We will be there to help you.  The baby will come and there is no other choice."  I think we say there are no other "options." now.  I still did a fair amount of whining about all of this, but I did a lot of growing up that year. I was much better prepared five years later.
Now I have two wonderful sons that rarely complain about anything. When they did, as children, and Grandma Vi was around she would give them the "look" and say... " to the moon". They knew what she meant. They had an understanding with her. There was no other "option" but to behave. Maybe we all learned something from her.
Vi was tough and with some things she was right. Sometimes you just have to put one foot in front of the other and move ahead. Sometimes you have to bite the bullet and there are no "options". If there are other choices then take one, but don't whine about it. Just do it.
I love this woman for this lesson in life and the kindness she has always showed me. Between my wonderful, loving and giving mother and my practical, no-nonsense mother in law... I was covered. I guess you could say I was blessed.
It's like knitting or following a recipe. If you want good results you have to read the directions, follow all the steps to the end and pay attention.
Enough ... There is a storm moving in. Tomorrow will be a wet day. I need to think about dinner and finish the washcloth I'm knitting.... but first I think I'll go have a cookie....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What will you do when a Mountain Lion chases your kitty into the house?

When I was on my vacation in Montana I picked up a newspaper called the Hungry Horse News. It's " the photo newspaper of Glacier National Park and neighboring communities". (click the picture to enlarge)
There was this article on the front page:  I read it to my friend "D" and we laughed at the idea of a young mountain lion chasing a house cat through the front door of someone's house but this would be a pretty serious situation if that lion panicked and decided to attack. The comical part was that the man threw a glass at the lion and the lion ran back outside. Do you know how lucky it was that the lion choose to leave?  The lion left the house,"subsequently", which is a synonym for PROXIMATELY( which means NEXT TO or VERY NEAR ). That lion left the house.... subsequently. The man probably wet himself as the lion turned and ran back outside.
Now, I'm not saying that everyone should have guns. Some folks wouldn't know what to do with a gun if they had one in their hands..... but if you live in Mountain Lion country and you find yourself in a sticky situation with one of these majestic creatures, it's a good idea to have something a bit more substantial than a glass in your hand.
This is just a heads up for all the people who think that no one needs to own guns. Not everyone lives in a "gated community". Depending on where you live, a gun can come in really handy.
 Our neighbor filmed a pair of mountain lions right in his front yard this summer and has 10 to 15 minutes worth of video tape to prove it. We don't see them very often. They are very solitary and shy of humans. But, we know that they are here. Our farm animals are a red-light food for predators. Our Corgis are an hors d'oeuvre for a mountain lion. So we protect all of our animals. With a watchful eye, predator proof enclosures, fences and GUNS.
Here in California we are seeing more and more mountain lions. Even in populated areas.
This article gave me a chill. This is one of the reasons we have guns....

Redding.com | 2010-10-12

A 2½-year old mountain lion that took off with a 75-pound goat Friday was captured and killed by a Department of Fish and Game trapper Saturday morning.

Don't tell Brownie about this.... Please!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brownie and the Eeyore Complex

"Hi Brownie. You look a bit grumpy this morning. Everything all right?"
"It was cold last night and the coyotes were being noisy.
" It's a beautiful time of the year. This is when we start getting cold nights but we still have warm days, some rain... some sun. I love this time of the year."
 "Well Farmlady. To be perfectly honest..."
"You always are, Brownie."
 "Well, anyway, I think I'm getting a cold. That rain the other night was awful and I had to lay against Freckle's to keep warm. When is Fall going to be over with?"
"Over with? It just started. The leaves have just started turning color and then they will fall from the trees. Then Winter will come and if we're lucky we might have some snow this year. Wouldn't that be nice?"
(There was no answer. Brownie was walking slowly toward the water bucket.
He stopped and looked at his shadow....) 
 "When are my horns going to be even? One is lower than the other."
"Well, I'm sorry that you don't like the way your horns are growing but it's better than when the left one was growing into your eye. Remember?"
 "Yes, Farmlady, I remember. I just thought that they would grow better and become huge important horns like the deer I see up on the hill."
"Brownie, you're not a deer... and besides, that deer will be in a great deal of trouble when hunting season comes."
 "What's hunting season?"
"It's when the hunters can kill the large bucks with horns and eat them."
 "What! You mean they kill you if you have horns?"
"Well, no, just deer that are wild."
 "But someone might tell them that I'm a deer."
 "No, Brownie. You don't look like a deer."
 "But they might make a mistake."
"I don't think so, and besides, you are in an enclosed place near our house. It's safe here."
 "Oh no it's not. I hear strange noises all night long. I hear gunshots all the time."
"I should know better than to say something that gets you all riled up. You are not going to get shot here on our farm."
 "But, it could happen."
"No it couldn't, Brownie, it's just not possible."
 "Yes it is."
"Brownie. You need to settle down. No one is going to shoot you with those little cut off horns anyway. You just don't look like a buck."
 "What's a buck?"
"Good grief. A buck is a male deer."
 "Oh. Well, do they shoot Coyotes around here too."
"You know what, Brownie? I don't really want to be having this conversation with you. It's not something you understand and I don't think you need to worry about it."
 "Maybe I could sleep in the garage with the cat. Why does she get to sleep in there.... and the dogs.... they get to sleep in the house with you and the prospector. Why is that? I think that I'm being mistreated. I  have rights. I should be protected against being shot."
"BROWNIE!"
 "What?"
"No one is going to shoot you. You're a goat."
 "What does that mean.... 'your a goat'. That sounded a little sarcastic."
"No, it wasn't. I just mean that people don't shoot goats because..., well... they just don't shoot them."
 "How do you know that?"
" You're not the right kind of goat."
 "The right kind of goat?"
"No, I mean you're .... OK, I need to go feed the chickens."
"Well, just walk away in the middle of a conversation...... Hey, Bart, Farmlady is kind of cranky this morning. Can't imagine why. She gets to sleep inside a big, warm house and eat anytime she wants to. She can come and go when she likes. What has she got to be off her feed about?
Hey Freckles, did you know they shoot deer? Did you ever hear of such a thing. Do you think my horns are too long? I know they aren't the same length.... but do they look like that deer we saw the other night? Do you think that I look like  one of them? What about a Coyote. Do I look like a Coyote? WHAT! What do you mean you don't care? What kind of attitude is that? What's the matter with everyone? I need a nap. No one understands me. Do you think we will get fed tonight? No one cares..... and the leaves keep falling into the water bucket. Bart.... Murph', where are you? Do you know they shoot deer?......."        

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mindfulness at the top of the hill

Mindful

Every day
I see or hear
something
that more or less
kills me
with delight,
that leaves me
like a needle
in the haystack
of light.
It was what I was born for -
to look, to listen,
to lose myself
inside this soft world -
to instruct myself
over and over
in joy,
and acclamation.
Nor am I talking
about the exceptional,
the fearful, the dreadful,
the very extravagant -
but of the ordinary,
the common, the very drab,
the daily presentations.
Oh, good scholar,
I say to myself,
how can you help
but grow wise
with such teachings
as these -
the untrimmable light
of the world,
the ocean's shine,
the prayers that are made
out of grass?  

~ Mary Oliver ~