Friday, September 27, 2013

Ranch Sitting for 7MSN-Day 1

In my last post, I gave the rundown on the where and why I was in New Mexico.
I wasn't able to blog effectively because my iPad doesn't have a USB port for uploading pictures and it really only wanted me to type one page worth of text.
I'm far too long winded for that.
Over the next few days, I'll share a few pictures and a few observations.

 These are obviously not Lucy, Hank or Alan from 7MSN.
They are...........well, goodness I can't tell them apart!  
I do know that the handsome black donkey in the middle is Nigel.

Don and Justina met me at the airport with the intent of taking me to Carson's ranch.  
Don and I stopped by their ranch to pick up some muck boots and wood, should we get stuck on the road into 7MSN.

Bernard or perhaps Gracie?
I was so thrilled to get to meet their herd, as I was certain that I wouldn't get to.
In fact, if it weren't for New Mexico's flooding rains, I wouldn't have met Don and Justina either.

Ellsworth and Bernard?? 
 Don told me the donkeys generally stay away from the puddles in their arena because they are certain that all puddles are at least "donkey deep" if not deeper.  
Wouldn't want to drown right in your own yard!
Goodness, beats me!  Nigel just over the top of someone's back side.
 I discovered that taking a decent picture of a donkey requires two people or a telephoto lens.
They were all so friendly that I rarely had a moment where they weren't like Buck(???) in the photo below.
Up close and personal!  :)
Is this Buck?

Harriot maybe? 
 We left Morning Bray and headed south to Carson's place.
The road in from the highway was terribly, terribly sloppy.  
Carson really does live 7 Miles South of Nowhere--7MSN.
I wasn't sure we were going to make it.  
In several places it was like being on a ride at Disney World.
Bumpy with a lot of twists and turns (and fish tailing), but the driver had it all under control!
In fact, Don had a blast.  
After he made a 90 degree turn in foot deep mud, I quit worrying that we wouldn't get in.

Any landscape pictures I show you from here on out will not do justice to the stark beauty that is New Mexico.
The rains made the landscape come alive.
It really is stunning!

After we got to the ranch, Danni (ranch sitter #2) gave me the quick rundown on how to operate machinery, quirks with this gate or that, important reminders regarding animals, what to do with the electric fence should we get a lightning storm, and what all the important phone numbers were------then they were off.
Don took her back to Albuquerque to catch a plane.

Eugenia and Minnie---got any snacks?
 Some folks have asked me since my return to Austin if I was worried about being out there, all alone, in the middle of nowhere.
Nope, not even once.
I wasn't lonely either.

 I had chores to do, internet and television, a good book, and Smooch to keep me company.

 My only worry all week was whether I'd be able to get out to pick up Carson from the hospital.

 It rained.  
Then it rained some more.
The once sloppy, muddy roads had turned to "water over the road" roads.

 Funny how one story from the bible, that probably isn't one bit true, gives a person hope.
This bit of a rainbow (and it wasn't the last one I'd see) gave me hope that Carson would be on the mend and I'd be going to get her sooner than later.

Before I knew it, it was time to go out and get fly masks off the herd and put the rest of the animals up for the night.
Johnny Cash Cat came into the yard to visit with me as I looked out over the amazing landscape that stretched out in all four directions from the house.
Day one was closing.  Animals were all taken care of.
I scrambled myself some eggs and wandered through the wasteland that is television.
Smooch, ranch security/best-dog-ever, and I finally curled up with a good book before bed.
Lights out.
Wynonna the pot bellied pig would want breakfast before dawn tomorrow. 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Good Morning from 7MSN

"Wait, you're going to someone's house that you met on the internet?"
"She lives where??"
"What do you mean you won't have cell coverage?"
"You're going to her ranch to care for her animals and you don't even know her?
I was asked those questions and many more when I announced I was headed to Carson's ranch at 7MSN.
I would love to have met her under different circumstances and I'm certain she feels the same way.

It's no secret that she lives alone.
It's also no secret that she's currently in the hospital.
She needed help.
Help taking care of the ranch.
Her sister, Kathleen came first.
Next came Danni.
Now me.
Danni will come again and two more friends will follow in the coming weeks.
Carson should be out of the hospital in a day or two, but the sometimes heavy lifting that is required on the ranch is not on her "how to heal" list from the hospital.

      I arrived yesterday with a lot of help from Justina and Don from Morning Bray Farm.
I'd never met them either.
Don drove me out over muddy hill and muddy dale. 
Sloppy, greasy, questionable low places.
It rarely rains here.
Several inches have fallen in the last week.     

 So, the question remains---why am I taking care of a complete stranger's ranch and animals?
I really don't consider Carson or Justina or Don or Danni, strangers.
Just think of them as modern day pen pals.
We've followed one anothers lives for over 5 years.

The world is so full of bad news.
Full of reports of people doing horrible things to one another. 
To people they know and people they don't know.
The kind, thoughtful people rarely make the news.

I want my kids to know that nice things do occur. 
That helping real or imagined strangers is a good thing.  
I didn't give a ride to a hitchhiker, 
I'm helping a friend.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Fluttering on the Edge of My Nest

September baby.
Labor Day baby.
Nurses thought it was ironic,
me, not so much.

Quiet at birth.
Quiet still.
More handsome than he knows.

Testosterone is not my friend,
Nor estrogen, his.
He and I,
oil and water some moments, some days.
Other moments, other days
best of buddies.
I guess that makes him my son,
and me his mother.

his grandparents,
 brother and sister,
 extended family,
fast cars,
our dogs,
the cat (a little),
stylish clothes,
car trips with siblings,
thai food,
spicy food (the hotter the better).

Not necessarily in that order.

mexican food,
mowing the grass,
feeling out of control (don't we all),
aquariums and museums
being bored.

Not necessarily in that order.

There is so much more to him than my words can convey.
My love for him is impossible to quantify.
He is my last child.
My youngest.
My baby.

My baby turned fifteen.
Car keys are just around the corner.
There he sits,
Fluttering on the edge of my nest.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Drink At Dusk

The migration south has begun for the hummingbirds.
A week after I took these pictures, I have so many hummers at my feeders that I am unable to count them.
If they stay true to this event, as in years past, I will have a large number of them at feeders for about a week and then they'll all but disappear.
A quick layover in Central Texas and then onward toward Mexico and Central America.
If you'd like to know more about their migration habits, 
click HERE for some amazing facts and some mythbusting about these tiny, fierce little birds.

Monday, September 2, 2013

A Good Egg

I have heard and used the phrase, "a good egg" all my life.
My Mother-in-Love uses the phrase as well.

We all know what it means, especially those that are keepers of chickens.
The several online dictionaries have this to say: 
"A person of kind, cheerful character." 
 " One who is thoughtful, helpful." 
"Someone who can be counted on."  
"Good natured."

The very definition of my Mother-in-Love.

 Eric and I have been missing mom's birthday since the beginning of our life as a married couple.  Mom's birthday is on the 10th of August.  Eric and I got married on August 6th and went on our honeymoon.  
That was the first time we missed her birthday.

We may have been at a birthday or two after that, but we have missed most all of her birthdays for the last 15+ years.  
Eric's work follows a fiscal calendar.  He begins his work year in August and finishes in July.
What does that mean?  
June and July are push, push, push to get final sales in.  He works for a very large computer company and the bottom line is terribly important, not only for obvious reasons, but it drives how the stock market views the company as well--how the public views the stock.  How they finish their fiscal year also drives the beginning of the next fiscal year (August).

So, what does that really mean? 
 It means he is head down-nose to the grindstone busy for most of the summer.  
Family vacations cannot take place until August.
Unfortunately, school starts in mid-August.
That puts our vacation window squarely in the second week of August---Mom's birthday week.
I kid you not!

Mom, true to the definition of Good Egg, takes it all in stride.
She tries to comfort me when I fuss about how we're missing her birthday again.
I try to make up for it by making a big deal out of her birthday when we are all finally together again.
This year, we had Grilled Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Fresh Green Beans, Fruit Salad and homemade Peach/Blueberry Pie with Ice cream.
A simple meal, made at home, shared by family, with love, love, love for a Good Egg.