Tag Archives: cattle ranch

Making Hay

This past weekend my husband and I began watching the new Netflix series, The Crown, about Elizabeth II.

He was interested and enjoyed it. After one episode, he mentioned an error. The royal stables were shown and in them there were large hay bales.

He said that first, small bales are usually used for horses, also that in the 1930’s they wouldn’t have used large bales. Why? Because to move a large bale one needs a front-end loader and they weren’t invented yet.

I believe him. His father has had a dairy for many years, and for the past decade or so a cattle ranch. He grows and cuts his own hay and prefers round bales. Whenever we visit I see him go out with the front-end loader with a round bale (when they’re wrapped in white plastic for outdoor storage they’re called marshmallows). That is something I would not have known.

For pointing out the film’s error, I congratulated him on having a good eye. I look at the film and evolving characters and how they dress according to maturity and status. One thing that’s bugging me is that ER wears one, two or three strands of pearls. Why? I only have one strand. Is there a significance to this?

Hay bales are one benefit of being married to a rancher’s son. Oh, he used to ride a cow, as a child, named Free. He has fond memories of that. He doesn’t have fond memories of playing in the hay barn (I love that hay barn) because owls in the rafters, and their owlets, would attack and poop on their heads! Cheers! Dee


Celebration, Sauces and Elevators

Why does this title not make sense? It’s Saturday morning and Zoe the dog and I were out at the crack of dawn and had to ask multiple police to let us cross the street to “make a deposit to the County” and that means her poop in a bag in a wastebasket in a County Park. City Police got the joke.

It is a half-marathon and I spent about 1/2 hour cheering on the runners, with the dog. It was raining and I got soaked so went upstairs, dried her off and changed to a winter coat and helped out the slower athletes. When we lived out west we were five feet from a path that was used for runners, walkers, cyclists and in the winter, XC skiers. I tried that, it was not pretty, especially on ice.

Downloading “We Are The Champions” blasting it and standing out there on our deck waving, cheering and clapping with the dog for the last few thousand feet was inspirational to athletes and to us.

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Sauces. I’ve made three new ones this week, none perfected. One was a rub and glaze for St. Louis Ribs, another for a pork roast marinated in beer and grainy mustard, the last for pork tenderloin marinated in local French-based hard apple cider and herbs. The last was finished with two beautiful peaches, taken off the pit with skin on, 1/4 of a red onion, honey and sriracha. S&P of course.

My husband grew up on a dairy which is now a cattle ranch. He is deathly allergic to anything thats’ habitat is water. I love fish and he can’t even smell it so I don’t cook it at home. He loves beef, so I’m trying to get him to like chicken and pork for variety.

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Elevators. We know everyone on our floor. Interesting that we only really socialize with those on our end, three of seven. When I am in the elevator and hear someone turning a key in their door I automatically keep the door open for them. Sometimes they will enter and other times they’ll say they forgot something. That may not even be with Zoe.

They do not hold the door for me, someone always closes the door on me (I don’t know who it is) and I have to wait, especially if the other elevator is reserved for a moving company.

Where did kindness go? I always hold a door, elevator or otherwise, for everyone. I help elderly people, pregnant women, mothers with kids, even young men who don’t have the manners to respect their elders. Luckily there are a few gents around who know propriety and respect.

What is happening to us? I’ve one great story. My across the “street” neighbor saved my dog’s life. Their grandkids adore our old dog. We hadn’t seen each other for months. We talked in the hall. Zoe, our dog, stayed out there and I had her leash. The elevator door hard-closed and my neighbor was gone and I tried to throw the leash out because she could easily remain in the hallway until I could get back up there.

The leash stretched and stretched for four floors and disappeared. I yelled at our floor. “NO!” An Indian family we love showed up four floors down and saw me sobbing and said they’d take the other elevator and to go up to my dog.

I was expecting to see her dead. Strangled. My neighbor ran out and pulled the leash as hard as she could and was standing there with our dog who was alive and well and didn’t even know anything happened.

What a treat it was to see my neighbors and their grandkids, who love Zoe and actually whisper her name outside our door so she can come out and play. My husband has also made/twisted balloons for all the kids. Zoe came out of a horrible home and then a shelter, only for a week until we found her.

She has made so many friends. People on the street don’t know my name but they know hers. Our thanks go to neighbors who made a difference in our lives.

Thanks to neighbors. Cheers! Dee





There are good and bad things in going retro. Good is a 1957 Necchi Italian sewing machine for my mother-in-law. I plan to drive it to Texas in a few weeks. Italian lines, all metal, bells and whistles no one else had back in the day as in the first zig zag stitch ever.

My husband’s family provides an additional grounding that adds to my upbringing. My father was a “hobby farmer” without hobby livestock. My in-laws bring in dairy and cattle and a place in which I love to cook for days on end with Jim’s mom.

My husband and I have been separated because of work for three months. He’s going back to his bachelor tendencies and I’m becoming more insular and even forgetting what it is like to be married and have conversations and live together.

How was your day, dear? Now he calls me from the car. 20 minutes per day. All I can say is that this is not what I signed up for nearly 12 years ago. The dog provides me routine, two meals, four walks per day and monkey ball every once in a while.

Thanksgiving, we’ll meet again at the annual family gathering. I can’t wait. It’ll take a lot of planning but I think we’re up to it.

Neighbors check in every once in a while. Jim’s family calls. It’s not the same as having my husband at home with us, playing games, watching movies, walking the dog or going out to lunch. I miss him. So I plan to get him his car to take care of the rental expense. I’m having it taken care of now so it’s good for a long time. So are we, we just miss each other. Dee

Baseball and Privacy

I know as a kid I used to play 2 v. 2 in baseball in our yard with ghost players. Other than that I never had a rotisserie league or played except in college. We were all lefties, name of Lefties, Inc. and we won the league because no-one showed up to play us. We were not good on the field.

Today, the people who run the NSA, probably the largest intelligence gathering agency in the world, and their boss, the ever-intimidating James R. Clapper, the boss of all bosses, lets his people take in all the information they can, anywhere, on anyone. Forget about terrorists, they want to know what people on a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere are doing every moment of the day. Probably so they can be glad they’re not bringing the cattle in for a herd check and vaccinations so they can sit behind their grand Washington, D.C. desks and spy on us.

They’re reading this right now so should know the only thing I am concerned about is our privacy. What about the privacy of US citizens just going about their daily lives? Why are you photographing our license plates at every intersection and photographing our movements as we walk our dog or child? Walking to the grocery store. Going to a ball game. Riding a bike on a public trail. Why are we all under surveillance?

I got the idea for this because it’s front page news in the NYTimes but no-one seems to care. They seem to care more about A-Rod and performance-enhancing drugs.

This is our lives, readers. We have to stand up to this useless surveillance, spending billions of our tax dollars to watch someone buy Huggies. Perhaps the privacy advocates have not made it easy for people to fight this, but write in to your local newspaper. Talk to people. Write congress. Thanks, Dee


Milk, and In-Laws

As my dear husband and I ponder our 10th wedding anniversary in a few months (OK, he hasn’t pondered it at all or looked inside his ring where he had me inscribe our wedding date and my birthday so he could remember) I thought of the early days.

After a year of dating, he took me halfway across the country to rural Texas to meet his parents. He’d already met mine, separately as they were divorced. His mother was brilliant. She spent five days talking me out of ever having a life with Jim, that he’s methodical, etc. He thinks in the shower so his younger brother used to cut off the hot water so there would be some left for him! But that mother, a couple of years ago I called her and said her son was driving me nuts spending months compiling a set of antique woodworking tools for our nephew. Her response? “I TOLD you…..”

So, this first weekend spent with his family was a doozy. Over 60 relatives for Thanksgiving and everyone wanted to know about the gal Jimmy brought. I was interviewed by Nanny and most of the older gents. The men never talk to me anymore – women are only there to bring food and do dishes. This is Texas!

The morning after I arrived I started to make breakfast (I do that) for everyone and couldn’t find any milk. The 150 cows had just been milked across the way and there was no milk for the scrambled eggs. Jim’s mother said there was some powdered milk in the pantry.  What??? She calmly explained that she no longer had two growing boys living at home so there’s no need to keep two gallons of milk in the frig at all times.

Wondering about that, I went out with Jim and his father on an errand to deliver some heavy equipment. His dad asked him privately “When are you going to ask her? It’s OK with me.” We eloped two months later.

Jim’s mother is a gifted baker and seamstress and we are sometimes glad we’re not there to eat her potato rolls on a regular basis (adds to the waistline) but we do have her quilts and other items on display at our new home.

Jim’s father loves animal husbandry, particularly bovines, and has a good eye for picking them out and is well-respected in the community. He’s a civil war guru (excuse me, as a northerner I never heard of the War of Northern Aggression) and we argue politics anytime we can. When they got their new tv I told him if he wanted to use TIVO he’d have to give up Fox News. Tehee.

It’s almost time to plan another trip over the river and through the woods for Thanksgiving. Our generation’s kids are growing so fast I can barely recognize them, plus they’re outside playing or running around so they never stop or show ID at the door!

Will we do anything special for our 10th anniversary? I don’t know. But I do love the family I married into. Love to Nanny, too!  Cheers, Dee