November dawned still as stone today. The forecast says snow and single digits by Tuesday. The canals are quiet again and the long mornings mean an extra cup of coffee and some quiet conversation for me and Mark.
We’re still finishing up fall chores. I cleaned the various ranch outbuildings – the warming room in the barn, the scale house and the pump house. The mouse droppings have been vacuumed and the windows washed.
Mark is draining water troughs. He draws the water out with an irrigation siphon tube and/or garden hose. Some years he’s been caught off-guard and has to chop the whole thing out because it freezes solid. A “make work” task for sure.
He helped me dig the red spuds, and to further fill the larder, I picked up the meat we had processed at the local butcher shop. The Mickelson family was hard at work packaging ground beef when I arrived. How thankful we are that this family business is close by. While I was there a Hispanic mother and son picked up a cow’s head in a plastic bag. I don’t know how they prepare that, but am glad to know their culture helps us use the whole carcass. The value of diversity!
After 16 years in our home I finally got a circle drive! What was once a weedy eyesore that attracted ranch paraphernalia like a magnet, is now a graceful, graveled loop. Men with large tractors don’t realize how easy it is to make a wife happy.
We moved the cattle down to the first stair-step towards home. It was a clear, warm day, and with the calves off, the "drys" were quiet and agreeable and moved off the dogs in a fluid motion. We dumped the herd in the Brush Creek field and took them to water before coaxing them up the mountain to where Mark had delivered salt and lick tub treats. This supplement will help them process dry mature grasses, plus reward them for making the climb. They’re lazy and would prefer staying down on the creek.
2016 has been a tumultuous year across our planet, and with all the strife, I’m feeling very grateful for our bulging freezer, a generous wood pile, and the fact that we go to bed each night without fear of our own countrymen.
Mark handed me a poem this morning by Bernard J. Patrick, A Thanksgiving Soliloquy, and suggested that with all I could write about, perhaps I could end with this: . . . for every pennyweight of bad, I have found a ton of good. . . good in Nature, in People, in the World. And I’m thankful I belong.
|the way home|
|the monochromatic beauty of quakies in November|
|someone's long ago great idea|
|Kate and me on top of the world|