Friday, June 22, 2018

Glad Tidings

I've seen more doctors in the past two years than I had in the previous twenty.  GP, surgeon, radiologist, oncologist, and an army of technicians for the multitude of tests, tests, and more tests.  It seemed every time I turned around, there was another appointment with one doctor or two.  Over time, the frequency of visits began to slow down; every three months became every six months (yay!).  Yesterday I met with my surgeon, got a clean bill of health with no sign of cancer, and will only need to see him now on a yearly basis.  Color me happy!!

I had cut the time to get to town a bit short and yesterday it was me speeding through the hills (I didn't pass anybody).  I was forgiven for being six minutes late.  After receiving good news and no need to race home, the drive back was much more enjoyable.

Beau stopped by in the afternoon and brought along one of the nephews who now live with him.  Jeremy has done some work for Camille, liked getting paid, and was looking for another customer.  Cam had given him an A-Plus report.  It seems weed-whacking is his specialty and it's not like I couldn't use some help (make that HELP) here.  We agreed on a wage and a trial run, but I postponed a date until next week.  It's predicted to go triple digit this weekend and I don't want The Kid to fall over in a froth from heat prostration.  While not exactly cool, it's supposed to be better next week.  The weeds aren't going anywhere.

All in all, I'd say it was a better-than-good day.

Thursday, June 21, 2018


One of the first things a first-time guest will say is, "How quiet it is here."  In comparison to life in the city, it is just that, but it really isn't quiet at all.  There are those rare occasions when it is absolutely silent, usually right around sundown, and then the quiet is noticeable.  Most of the time some bird or other is calling, yelling, screeching, cawing, chirping, and every rooster in the neighborhood is proclaiming his domain.  Yesterday a bluejay down in the barn made me jump when he told me loudly(!) to step away from the bucket so he could get his breakfast.  Even in the dark, owls whoo-whoo as they do flybys at night.

There are other sounds, as well.  Chainsaws and weed-whackers, tractors either mowing or spreading weed or mold killer in the vineyards, once in awhile a car passing by or a motorcycle revving up, or a semi-truck hitting the Jake brake going downhill clear over on E-16.  The kids up the road come blasting by on their dirt bikes, usually around 8 p.m. in the summer.  At least their parents know where they are.  Thankfully, police and/or ambulance sirens are rare.  A helicopter flying overhead is cause to look up. 

Dogs, big and small, sound off all over the hills at all times of the day or night.  Coyotes yip and yodel (haven't heard them so much lately).  Mares on the adjoining property announce their availability, and the stud answers.  Now and then, when the wind is right, I'll hear cattle on a far-away ranch mooing.  And, of course, Shaddup stands on daily lookout with his incessant yipping.  Shaddup!!

It's the time of year when the wineries bring in live bands for entertainment and we all get the benefit of music and singing.

All things are relative, but, no, it is not quiet here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Loathe as I am to go into town, I have to admit I (mostly) love the drive.  It is a constantly changing scene.  If I had a daily commute, I might not notice the differences, but since I try hard not to go more often than every two weeks they just jump out at me.  On my last trip, the brilliant yellow Scotch broom bushes were in flower.  Yesterday they had been replaced by patches of some wildflower that looks like bright magenta phlox (according to Google, it could be Dame's rocket).  Sheep along the way are getting their summer haircuts.  Cattle are dropping calves here, there, and everywhere.  Mares on the horse farms are getting the big belly and are about ready to foal.  A number of ranches have added alpacas to their herds; they seem to be the current livestock fad.  Remember when emus were the up and coming thing?  More and more deer are foraging closer to the road.  I saw three yesterday.

The rule about not passing over a double-yellow line seems to be a thing of the past, as almost every time I leave the house, some idiot whips around me (and I'm usually going 45-50 on our curvy, narrow roads), seemingly intent on self-destruction.  The prevalent thought up here is, "Well, that's an accident waiting to happen," and unfortunately, it does.  Either the speeder will hit a deer or lose it on a curve and end up down in a gully.  If there are even one or two cars behind me that seem anxious to speed, I will pull over as often as necessary in one of the few places available.  The pull-outs are even less cared for than the pot-holed roads and it sometimes feels like you could break an axle trying to do the courteous thing.

Regardless of how pretty the drive is, I feel like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz, "There's no place like home; there's no place like home."

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Struggle Is Real

I had one heck of a time getting feed down to the girls yesterday.  I use a hand truck for transport, but first the 75-pound bag has to be dragged out of the truck, not always easy.  Then comes the trundle over uneven, sloping ground booby-trapped with squirrel holes.  Yesterday it was a struggle to get the truck through the gate into the pen because overgrown weeds on the inside were blocking the way.  It took some finagling, but ta da.  Down in the barn at last, there was one more hurdle.  There is no way I can deadlift that heavy bag, so it has to be moved as close as possible to the barrel and then about a third of the grain is transferred scoop by scoop until I can hoist the rest and dump it in.  They say where there's a will, there's a way, but some days are harder than others.  The girls didn't care as long as they got their breakfast.

Missy needs to step up her game.  I think the danged freeloading squirrels are coming in to share her kibble, something no self-respecting cat should allow.  We're going to have a talk about this.

I had planned to either go into town or mow, but aching muscles cancelled both plans.  It was a sit-down kind of day.

Monday, June 18, 2018

When The Wind Blows

The deltas that had come in the day before hung around overnight and were going strong yesterday morning and it was cool enough to need a jacket again.  After breakfast and being let out of the barn, the girls were feeling frisky with the change in weather.  The last things to do before going back to the house are to open the gate between the pens to give the girls access to more shade and, at this time of year, more weeds, and also to put clips on the latches to the barn gate and door.  While doing the latter, there was suddenly the sound of running hooves coming at me and I looked up to see all three goats come charging!  Whoa, this wouldn't do.  I yelled and raised my arms and they slid to a stop, wheeled and raced off the other way.  I remembered back when I had horses as a kid and a windy day would make them misbehave, too.  Finished locking up, I headed up to the gate and I'll be darned if the girls didn't charge again.  Sheila and Inga turned and raced and bucked across the pen, but Tessie really liked this new game and continued to challenge me until she also went running up to start some head-butting with the others.

This nutty behavior wasn't limited to the outdoor animals.  Back in the house, Ralph and Celeste were also affected.  Ralph running around isn't anything new, but yesterday the two of them were a blur as they went full throttle up and down the hall, jumping on and off the bed at one end of their track and the loveseat in the round room at the other.

Bess and I were just as happy with the cool day as the others, but neither of us was inclined to run anywhere, so we took the truck and went down to Mt. Aukum for goat chow, birdseed...and two cookies.

It was a good day.

Sunday, June 17, 2018


I've said it before...if we agree on a time for a visit, you can come late (within reason), but if you come early I promise this charter member of Procrastinators United won't be ready.  Okay, Candy, the itinerant hairdresser, was coming between 3:30 and 4:00 yesterday to give me a haircut.  No sweat, plenty of time.  Saturday is the day for all the TV cooking shows, a definite must.  Check the clock and calculate how long a quick sweep through the living room and kitchen will take and how long I could put off action.  Heck, I could even sneak in a nap.  Yeah, well, I got busted big time.  The telephone woke me and it was a woman saying she could be here in a few minutes.  ???  It was Candy and it was 1:00!!  Nooo!  Her prior appointment had finished early and, rather than go all the way home and drive back out here, she would like to come now.  It would have been churlish to say no, so, "Of course."  Procrastinators must be punished.  Moving at the speed of light is not my style, but I managed to get the house at least semi-presentable before Bess announced a car in the driveway.

Candy is just as sweet as her name, and we have become friends over the years.  When she had her shop, she would schedule my appointments as the last of the day so we could have a good visit together.  Coming here is no different.  We chatted longer than it took to trim my hair.

Ready or not, it was a good day.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

It Happens

I have been sitting in front of the computer, staring at a blank "page" for half an hour and trying to come up with something, anything, that might be of interest without success.  Yesterday was one of those all-around blah days.  The house pets spent nearly all their time sleeping.  I took a nap.  Even the turkeys out in the yard were hunkered down asleep.  Well, yippee skippy, that's certainly worth putting on the page.  It wasn't because we were suffering from the heat.  A strong, cooling delta breeze blew in in the afternoon and kept the temperature comfortable, so I can't even complain loudly about the weather.  (I'm good at that.)

I guess I'll take Thumper's mama's advice.  "If you can't say something nice (i.e., interesting), don't say nothing at all."