An Artistic Eye…….


This  is a phrase that is well known to all -“raising a stink”.  My dad used to use it all the time- but out here, it takes on a new meaning!!

A dear elderly man from the area, who recently passed away, would always say, “Gotta go raise a stink now”. Now, I know what he meant……..

This is the time of the year when our hay fields are fertilized. That fertilizer has a very distinct aroma that assails the nostrils, and is hard to shake from your senses!!

My one dog has taken to sneaking away when my back is turned, to run far afield and search for delicacies left in the fertilizer- and of course, to roll in it!!!

I am talking about chicken manure! I can’t think of a fertilizer more FOUL (pun intended), except maybe fish emulsion!!!

Our neighbor tends our hay fields- cuts and bales the hay during the summer, and spreads manure from his chicken houses in the fall. He may even spread it in the spring, I don’t recall.

I was holding the horses for the farrier a week ago, and heard a tractor in the distance. Clouds of brown “dust” were billowing past the barn door, carrying with them a familiar “fragrance”! It was fertilizing time again! Thank goodness it was not quite warm enough to have the windows open!

Now, along with their usual “snacking” on hoof trimmings and manure, I will have to watch the dogs as they search out clods of chicken poop and bones.

When the horses are wormed, I try to keep the dogs out of the paddock, so they won’t eat horse poop with wormer in it. Now, I have to make sure they don’t swallow chicken bones!! As my daughter says- we now have dogs whose breath is “kickin’ “!

Despite the smell, we are fortunate to have a great neighbor who is willing to work the fields for us and share his manure.  Now, if Mother Nature will cooperate next year, and give us more rain than she allowed us this past season, we should have a bountiful 2011 hay crop of at least 2 (hopefully 3) cuttings!! A farmer’s prayer…..

you can click on the photo for a larger view

The sun is rising, the frost has painted the meadows, a chill is in the air- but all is well, bright and early, at Mountain Meadows this November morning…..

As I sit here nursing two bruised knees, and one largely bruised ego, I thought I would write a post on this largely ignored (of late) blog!

Let’s talk about barriers.

The dictionary defines a barrier as: something that separates, demarcates, or serves as a barricade. For example – a fence, hedge or wall; a bar, encumbrance, handicap, hindrance, hurdle, impediment, obstacle, obstruction, roadblock, stop……………… get the picture!

One might think I am about to address something deep and metaphorical, having to do with life, and those things that keep us from moving forward with our lives. A discussion, perhaps, about an obstacle, be it mental or physical, that keeps us from achieving our goals, and moving on to the next phase in our existence……………….

Well, sorry, it is nothing as intellectual as that.

The barricades in my life are about 3 feet tall, and prevent me from moving freely from one room to another in my house. I am talking about baby gates!!!!

Now, at this stage in my life, I should be waaaay beyond having baby gates in my house!!!!!

But, no…………I live with 4 dogs, who, ideally, should be considered a pack of 4. Since I lack the demeanor and macho confidence of Cesar Millan, this pack of 4, is, in reality,  2 packs of 2. Which brings us to the need for baby gates.

My two dogs, and my daughter’s 2, do NOT get along. It is not for lack of trying. So, thru’ out the day, we play “musical dogs”. There are 2 are upstairs while the other  two are downstairs, and vice versa.  If both pairs have to be downstairs at the same time, the barricades are up.

After two too many hairy encounters (no pun intended), between my daughter’s male and my male, we give up………………….

Now, on a positive note, these barriers have kept me quite limber. I can lift one leg and pirouette on the other foot, while balancing a glass and plate, or an armload of books or laundry, going from one room to another. There is no better exercise to keep my old hips and hamstrings moving and agile!

I walk extra steps each day to get to the stairs, since one very high gate blocks the shortcut to get upstairs. Sedentary, I am not!

On occasion, the one gate is triple barricaded, to prevent one high flying dog from sailing over it, in her attempt to engage my two dogs in unwanted, riotous play or worse.

It was this triple barricade that led to my downfall today!!!!

As I gracefully arched one leg over the triple gates, my heel landed on the outer gate. The foot that followed, caught the top of that same outer gate. As my inner voice was screaming “Stop, go back!”, I chose to ignore it (have I learned nothing from that rarely wrong inner voice of mine? Apparently NOT!). I plowed forward and downward as I got tangled in the gate, my English mug of tea, myself, and my glasses  flying in different directions!

I sat, laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my face- or perhaps I was crying – who knows; with my jeans sopping up the puddle of Pipps tea from my overturned mug! Amazingly, the mug did NOT break, neither did the gate, my glasses, nor my skinned knees!

I could, at this stage of my life, being living a quiet, empty nester type existence, with just my husband and my own two dogs.  But, life is short. My daughter (and her unruly dogs) will be gone again soon enough, to strike out on her own. I love having her here, and will enjoy that time, however fleeting or long it may be.

There are some days when a 2 dog, gate-less household seems like an unattainable heaven on earth.  But, until that time arrives, if the only barriers in my life are a couple of baby gates, I should consider myself very lucky.

Now, I must go and get some ice packs for my knees……………….

The good ol' days - when everyone just got along...................

The good ol' days - when everyone just got along...................


All is well, if not quiet, at Mountain Meadows, this warm Sunday afternoon…..

I am taking a quick break from country girl stuff to step out of my comfort zone and take a stand.

I admit to not being very politically astute, and I don’t really follow sports. But, the fact that the Philly Eagles have signed on Michael Vick does irk me!

He savagely mistreated a breed of dogs that is close to my heart. Wouldn’t matter the breed – just that fact that he did what he did and that cannot not be righted by fines and jail time.

Rehearsed and pre written sound bites do not make me believe he is a changed person. Actions speak louder than words and I see no action behind the script…….

I discovered a great blog that expresses it more eloquently than I can – and there is a link to sign a petition about Vick.

100_4923Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming..

Well, it’s Tuesday morning and I am actually on time for tea!!! I’ve been posting TT on my other blog – so here’s the link:

As I mentioned in that post, I did go out to pick raspberries – but, as I thought, the crop is just about gone. there are maybe 10 berries left to ripen – we’ll see who gets them first, the critters or me!!!

The blackberries promise to be a bumper crop- cannot wait for that!!! Should be ready in another 2 weeks!

I took Princess Allie, one of our 4 pits, on the berry picking walk. She is the only one who will listen off leash – sort of. She will head where I point, and return, if I call. And, being almost 7, and a tad bit portly, does not have the speed necessary to really catch anything (other than a ground hog).

She enjoyed her walk – altho saw a rabbit(?) and chased that into the brush, then saw a deer all the way across the field and took off after it. I called her and she did return – but I am not sure that she came because I asked her to, or that she realized that the deer was pretty far away – and it might be a wasted trip, by the time she reached it!!

She checked out the ground hog holes, and marked her territory -face it- it’s ALL her territory!!! We meandered over to check out my vegetable garden, and Allie got there first and took off! I can only assume that the feral cat was sitting there- but Allie can’t and won’t fit thru the sticker bushes, so the cat was pretty safe!

Allie is having a pretty good couple of days – she played soccer with my son, who is visiting and adores her. She went swimming in the river with him, posed for endless amounts of photos, and last evening went swimming at the fishing hole with him. Needless to say, no fish were caught with Allie splashing around!

Right now, Allie is resting, like the queen she is (or is that princess?), and when the son arises, she will be ready for another day in the water with him!!!

Playing ball in the river

Playing ball in the river


All is well, and still a bit sunny, at Mountain Meadows this morning………



Happy Birthday, Sunman!!! 4 Years old!!!

Happy Birthday, Sunman!!! 4 Years old!!!

All is well, and very, very soggy, at Mountain Meadows this morning……..


Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid……..John 14:27

Well, it wasn’t exactly a tea break, but I took my new mug out to the barn, with the dog and the rakes.

I had just poured a cup of Yogi lemon pepper tea, and figured I would see if I could make it all the way to the barn without spilling it!!

I did, and put it on a fence post in the sun while I did chores.

I trusted my one dog, Sunman, to stay by my side and go to the barn without a leash. I told him we were going to look for mousies – something he loves to do – he hasn’t caught one yet!!! Like his owner, he is easily distracted- if a deer were to burst out of the trees – off Sunman would go in hot pursuit!!! So, he is not off leash too often, unless in a fenced in area, even tho we live in the middle of nowhere!

I did have to hold his collar when I escorted him thru the barn to the paddock – he doesn’t comprehend that chasing horses could cause him major injury!

So, while Sunman chased a ball and rolled in manure, I raked the rocks out of the front of the barn, changed water buckets and pulled drowned mousies out of the buckets – eeewww!!!

I would pause every now and then, to sip my tea, look at the mountains, and listen to the woodpeckers call to each other as their pounding breakfast search echoed off the hills.

It’s warm again today, the flies have defrosted and the gnats are hovering overhead.

The husband has 6 large planters ready to go – with aged chicken and horse manure, to start some of the planting. The planters are big colorful buckets from Lowes that have rope handles – so we can drag them in if a late frost appears. We have to go out today and roll up the plastic over the veggie garden to get it ready for rototilling.

The daughter wants to bathe the horses- altho it is warmer out – the well water is frigid – I am not sure that would be a kind thing to do just yet!!!

Time to go help the husband do some yard work – so I must step away from the computer – break’s over!!!


All is well, with spring just over the horizon at Mountain Meadows this afternoon………………….

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