Greener Pastures

After a long, snowy, cold winter the grass is slowly coming back to life and greening up.  The bovines are definitely enjoying the fresh, green grass.

They are not the only ones.

This pair of Canada Geese have been hanging out in the pasture too.  And they are becoming bolder about being near the cattle.

When the cattle venture  too close the geese fly off to the other end of the field, usually honking all the way.

Nick the Bull reminds me of Pig Pen; it seems he is always a mess.

Oh dear, I believe that is another cultural reference the younger generation will not understand.  Let me explain.  Pigpen is a character in the old Peanuts comic strip.

Remember Charlie Brown, Linus and Lucy?  Pigpen was the guy who was so dirty he had a dust cloud around him even in a snow storm.

 

Nick the Bull reminds me of him.

He’s a mess and I don’t think he cares.

Shoes

You can tell a lot about a person by what kind of shoes they wear.  Really.  Look at these shoes and you know that this person cares a lot more about fashion than comfort; and is willing to break her neck to prove it. I picture a teen or 20 something young lady, tottering around stylishly.  When she was a little girl she loved playing dress-up in her mother’s heels.

These boots tell me the wearers have put in a lot of long, hard days. Can’t you just see a gruff old cowboy with a bushy mustache?  He has had the same horse for years and his faithful canine companion is named something original like “dog.”

The owner of these ballerina slippers has obviously worked hard for many years to be able to stand on her toes. Strong, lithe and graceful, she dances to the music sometimes only she hears.

Flip flops (Remember when they used to be called thongs?  Hasn’t the meaning of that word changed!) are the uniform of every college student I know – maybe because I only know college students who go to school in Southern states.  When my son Alex was in college in southern California, he wore flip flops year round with his shorts.  When the weather got really cold in January (the temperatures dipped down into the 60’s) he wore jeans with his flip flops.

These shoes say I’m a person who wants to make people laugh and I don’t mind looking silly to do it.

What do these shoes say about the owner?  They are mine so I hope they are saying something nice.  Maybe a hard-working person who lives in a rainy place; who wants even her rainboots to look nice.

What I say about these shoes, boots actually, is they are the most comfortable pair of boots ever, and the cute design adds a bit of style.   Very, very comfy, and they keep my feet warm and dry.  I love my BOGS, they are by far the best pair of boots I have ever worn.  Really.  If you live in a place where you need rainboots and you don’t have a pair of BOGS, you should.  Rick has a pair too, though his are boring black.  No the BOGS people didn’t pay me to say how wonderful their boots are, I’m pretty sure they don’t know I exist.  But if you are a BOGS executive and you are reading this, I’d be happy to try out a new pair for you and offer my opinion and I wear a size 7.

The person who owns these boots obviously has to deal with a lot of mud and muck; hence the muck boots.  They must live on a ranch in a rainy place and work really, really hard.

Well, at least the rainy place with the ranch part is true.  These are mine too, my muck boots.  Not nearly as comfortable as my BOGS but not too bad.  I guess what my boots really say about me is I don’t have a very glamorous life.  Somehow muck boots just don’t scream chic style.  And you know what, I’m OK with that, really.  Soon the rains will stop for the season and things will dry out and I will go to my summer fashion footwear.

Hmmm, I’m pretty sure Megan, our family fashion maven, won’t be too impressed with my ratty, paint-splattered tennis shoes either.  Please don’t tell her there is a big hole in one – they are really comfortable.

A Trip to the Island

A few days ago we went on a USDA sponsored farm tour which was held on Lopez Island.

 One of the things I like best about living here is the beautiful scenery all around us, and this area is certainly no exception.  Lopez Island is in the San Juan Islands just off the mainland of Washington.

We took the ferry from Anacortes, which has got to be one of the coolest ways to travel ever invented, and there a stunning view wherever you look.

Some of the islands in the San Juans are more “touristy” but Lopez is mainly agriculture.  Lovely, quaint farms, dairies, gardens and ranches, dominate the island though there are a couple of Bed & Breakfasts’s including this one which I think is simply gorgeous.  I love old buildings, or even new buildings that are built to look old.

As you can see by the blooming daffodils, they are a few weeks ahead of us as far as spring weather.  There is even a house near one of the farms we visited with daffodils on the roof.

I believe that is the first time I’ve ever seen daffodils blooming on the roof, or perhaps more correctly in the roof.

Another farm we toured raises sheep and they were peacefully grazing near the pond.

In the next field spring lambs were frolicking in the warm sunshine under the watchful gaze of their mamas. The lambs seem to have springs on their feet the way they bounce around so effortlessly.

These two lambs were playing King – or maybe Queen – of the Hill.

Look closely and you can see that the “hill” is mom.  What a patient and tolerant ewe she must be – and only one of those lambs is hers.

I went exploring and found an old shed . . .

. . . and an old barn (did I mention I like old buildings?)

And inside the barn I found this little critter.

Is there anything cuter than a newborn lamb?  Of course, it will eventually grow up to become a stupid sheep, but it is adorable now.  And yes, I am sorry to say sheep are not bright animals.  I raised them for six years as my 4-H project and trust me on this folks, when the Bible compares we humans to sheep it isn’t a compliment.  This little one couldn’t wait to get back to lunch.  I love the way their little tails twirl as they nurse.

As we traveled from farm to farm we wore these lovely plastic booties over our shoes so we didn’t transfer any diseases.  Aren’t they quite the fashion statement?

All too soon it was time to board the ferry for the return trip to the mainland and head home.  We met some wonderful people, learned a lot and saw beautiful scenery – a very good day.

Roots

This hemlock tree stands in our pasture.  It is growing on a cedar “nursing” stump.  As you can see, the cows have nibbled and rubbed and trampled on the bottom section of the tree and only the top is green.

Over time and abuse the roots have become more and more exposed.  I think it is interesting that the beautiful tree – at least until the cattle got to it – we see above the ground is so totally dependent on the root system that anchors and nourishes it.  Even with the cattle using it as a rubbing post, the top is still green and vibrant.  Storms with wind and rain and hail and snow have blown through, and the tree still stands.  Without strong roots for stability and support and nutrition, the tree is in trouble.  

Kind of like people I think.

Soul Mate

As I’m sure you know, it’s not often you find someone with whom you really identify; share your innermost thoughts and dreams.  Someone who shares your sense of humor and understands the subtle nuances of your personality.  I’ve found my someone.  Her name is Maxine – and the older I get the more I identify with her.

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day here are a couple of gems from my friend.

Silly I know, but I decided it was time for a good laugh.

Perspective

Not long ago Rick and I took a drive part of the way up the mountain that overlooks our ranch – and our town.

Things like our valley look a lot different from up there.  Closer to home, our ranch looks a lot different from up there too.  See the small opening in the middle of the trees in the center of the photo?

This opening here.  Doesn’t it look small?  It is actually our back pasture; which looks pretty big to me when we are standing there.

Here is a closer look at our place from up on the mountain.

Here is our little valley.  I must admit, winter is not the most photogenic time.  We will have to remember to go back up there in the summer.  If you look really close you can just see the bridge over the Skagit River; which is at the edge of the other opening in the trees.  That is the pasture of our neighbor Marjorie and where Nick the bull, Ox the yearling bull and Dusty the heifer have spent the winter.

With all the natural disasters occurring lately, I have been thinking a lot about how small and insignificant we humans really are.  And how quickly our lives can be changed forever.

It gives things a whole different perspective to look at us from this view doesn’t it?

Fashion Statement

A couple of days ago it was cold day with a snow/rain slush falling.  In spite of the inclement weather, our son Alex and nephew Nick graciously volunteered to go out and do the evening feeding.  This left Rick and I free to stay in our nice warm, cozy house by the fire.  Aren’t they nice boys?  And yes, I do realize that neither of them are boys, but as I have explained to them, when I am 90 and you are 65 I’ll still call you boys and by then you will appreciate it.  Anyway, back to the boys feeding all the critters for us in the cold, wet weather.  Since it was so nice of them, I took their picture on the way out – not too far out you understand, just on the porch.  It was cold out there.

Don’t they look silly in those hats?  I would say they both have atrocious taste in buying hats, except they didn’t buy either of those hats.  They belong to us.   The “Elmer Fudd” model Nick has on is Rick’s.

A few weeks ago when it was 7 degrees out and the wind blowing about 40 miles an hour the ties under his chin were the only thing keeping that hat on his head and his ears from freezing.   The hat Alex has on , sort of an Indiana Jones model, is mine-by-default now.

I bought it for Rick when he said he needed a warm hat for winter.  Remember your mother telling you to keep your head covered to stay warm?  It’s very true.  And around here, it also keeps the rain / snow off your head which helps keep you warm too.  I am all for staying warm.  So, I bought Rick the hat and he wore it fishing and got dead fish guts and salmon eggs smears all over it, neither of which we could get off.  He then announced the hat was really too small for his head anyway and he needed a new bigger hat, and he would graciously give it to me – dead fish guts stains and all.  What a guy.  I found another hat that fit my head and smelled better, so the dead-fish-guts hat is our extra one for visitors.  The moral of this story is that if you visit us not only do we really hope you will do the feeding for us (especially if it is wet or cold outside), we will loan you our silliest and smelliest hats, then take your picture and publish it on the blog.  I don’t think this is going to do anything to hurt our chances for getting more guests do you?  We really don’t want to miss out on potential help.