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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dandylyons is no longer with us.

DandyLyons   March 1st 1991 - July 30th 2015

Dandylyons and Foxsun.
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Me and Dandylyons in 1993.
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William went to feed, saw her down and called us.  It's a call I've been dreading but expecting for a few years now.  She couldn't get up and I suspect she had a stroke.  I'm glad I was able to sit with her during her last hours and keep her company.  My own health took a turn for the worse over the last month or so, I've had to use a wheelchair, but I was able to sit in a lawn chair with a big umbrella shading her face from the sun.  

Echo wasn't sure about the big umbrella but I told him I had some apples and sang a little song to relax him.  Pretty soon his nose was poking under the umbrella.  He ate his apples and did his slurping thing to really enjoy them.  The sight of him with his eyes half closed and his tongue sticking out made me start laughing which I'd like to think Dandylyons enjoyed.

I'm so glad I had that one last walk with her in June.

That afternoon Brad buried dear sweet Dandylyons under the apple tree next to Foxsun.

24 is a long time to have a pet in your life and William was only two years old when she was born, so he's always known her.  She added much to our family and farm story and she will never be forgotten.  

Rest in Peace Dandylyons.  I really loved you.

Friday, July 3, 2015


The weather here has been unnaturally hot and Sunday it reached 110 degrees.

Sunday lunch time we were just finishing our lunch when the power went off.  That meant one thing for me  - no air conditioning and Brad and William were concerned about the irrigation pumps being off.  As we were attempting to report it to the power company, we heard someone honking their car horn coming up our driveway, shouting words I never wanted to hear, "Fire Fire"!  It was our neighbor.

This is what I saw outside.  
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Notice Echo, lower left, checking out the smoke.  That fire was on our pasture across the creek, coming towards us and Echo just stood there!  He could have least whinnied out a warning.

William and Brad went to help with the fire fighting and I stayed home to have a mini breakdown.

I'm naturally someone who gets going when the going gets tough.  I've put out sage brush fire by myself and was even helping with a wildfire two weeks before William was born.  Now, because of my health problems, I cannot lift a finger to help and that is the most stressful thing in the world.

I told the dogs we were going down with the ship.

The picture below William took of our property looking east.  You can see one of the fire trucks to the left.   To the left of our alfalfa field is the long dried up bed of Crab Creek.
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I felt so helpless and when I did venture to peek outside I heard huge explosions.

This picture is looking more to the north east and it includes our neighbors property.  The big plume of smoke is coming from our neighbor's father's farm equipment.  I think it was a backhoe/digger and something else.  The fire caused the fuel tanks to explode.
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Brad was helping our neighbor at his home place move some tractors etc away from the fire.  William was on his quad bike (ATV) with his shovel putting out hot spots.  All the farmers from neighboring farms were helping.
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I took this picture from our house.  You can see our smoking pasture on the horizon.  Right after I took this picture, the hawk that you can see flying about, swooped down on the edge of the wheat.  I think he was after the baby quail.  I suspect he's the same murdering bastard who killed Ducky Boy, so I shouted at him and he fled.
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Sunday night was pretty freakish.  It was midnight and I thought I'd calmed down enough to go to bed and that was when I noticed the indoor/outdoor thermometer said it was 90 degrees outside.  I couldn't believe it was that hot outside.  Just about two weeks ago it was getting down into the 30's at night.

Anyway, I went outside and thought I'd stepped foot onto an alien planet.  I couldn't believe the heat - at midnight!  Then the wind suddenly picked up.  Dust started to blow and it got into my mouth and eyes.  Then the dry lightening started!  The power went out again and all I could think of was 'fire storm'.  There was a big clap of thunder and William showed up (thunder claps always announce his arrival lol) and told me he was going to drive around to look for fires.

I woke Brad up so he could die with his boots on, but he really wanted to sleep with his boots off.  After a bit of shouting he came downstairs and no sooner than he did the rain poured down.  The relief was incredible.  William said the downpour seemed to be a micro-burst right over our farm and he had to drive with his windshield wipers on full speed.

Everyday since Sunday the fire has reignited and the volunteer fire department have had to come out again.  Brad and William have a sprayer which holds about 700 gals and they have been helping.  Fence posts, ancient cow turds and sagebrush roots can smolder for days and when the winds starts up, or changes directions, the fire can take off again.  Everything is so very dry.

Sunday night I heard that the city of Wenatchee had level 3 evacuations.  They ended up losing about 30 houses and some commercial buildings.  The embers from the burning houses blew across town and started other buildings on fire!  I kept thinking, 'It's only June'!!!  My nerves can't take another three months of this.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Just a evening stroll with my cow.

Dandylyons and I are still alive but not kicking so much.

My dear cow turned 24 years old in March 2015.
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I wish I could do more things with her and the horses, but I have a bit of trouble walking just lately.  It was such a nice cool evening I took Dandylyons for a little walk.  When she was a younger cow we would spend hours walking and exploring together.  I wanted to see if she would still follow me like she used to.  She did.

Cows and sheep don't understand you are waiting for them when you stand still.  They think the herd has stopped to eat.  But she would walk slowly to catch up when I got to far ahead.
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William let the dogs out and Biskit was so excited to see a 'cow out'.  She loves chasing cows back in when they escape.  She was very confused when Dandylyons ignored her.  Biskit tried every trick in her herding book to get her going.  Nothing worked.  The funniest thing was when she did drive-by bites.  She'd run very fast passed Dandylyons and as she got next to her she's leap into the air and pretend to bite.  Matilda isn't really interested in cows.
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We didn't walk too far.  Just down the draw a ways, not far from our house.

Soon William joined us and when I got too tired William scooped the heavy just cut hay up out of the windrow and made a seat for me.   I had a nice back rest on the wheel line.
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Brad came and we sat about and enjoyed the sunset.  Dandylyons gums made squeaking sounds as she chewed her food.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Lovely Autumn weather and a brutal murder.

Here's my youngest son, William and baby Matilda.
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We're having some very mild weather in Eastern Washington State.  The last frost was early this spring and so we had a good year for fruit.  We didn't have a frost to kill the tomato plants until October 26th! and I still have tomatoes growing in my little greenhouse.  When I left for England in early September I thought I'd seen the last of my flowers, but here they are still.  These pictures were taken today!

Clematis in the fallen leaves.
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Rose - 'The Fairy'.
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Petunias on the rock wall.  I tried to include the honey bees that were flying about, but they buzzed off.
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California poppy.
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Instead of the leaves freeze drying on the trees like they have some years, they turned pretty colours and slowly fell.
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Very sad news.  Ducky Boy was murdered on Tuesday.  I was standing outside the house with Matilda when I saw a Red-Tail hawk fly up off the ground by the crab apples.  Red Tails don't come close to the house as a general rule.  I knew he was eating one of my pets and I had a feeling who it was - Ducky Boy.  My oldest son, Keegan retired from the air force last week and is home right now, happened along as I was standing horror struck at the thought of Ducky Boy being dead.  He went closer and confirmed my fears.  That bloody hawk kept circling around and screeching.  Then he had the audacity to sit on a pole right above me, look me in the eyes and screech.

Poor little Ducky Boy.  He was such a lovely little guy.  He would follow me around the garden and would have fun playing in the dripping hose puddles by my trees or in his own little pool.  Every evening he'd go in his duck house and wait to be locked in.  He was reliable as clockwork.  Every morning in the winter, I'd fill a rubber bowl with hot water for him to sit in - oh how he enjoyed that.  He never flew very far away.  A few circuits above the house seemed to be enough for him.  Watch out when the Duck Man was coming in for a landing!   Sometimes we had to duck or we would have been ducked in the head.

This spring a wild girl duck landed on the lawn and Ducky Boy was all like - "Hey, how are you doing"?  She tried to lure him off into the wild blue yonder and I thought we were going to lose our little duck, but he just stood on his tip toes and watched her fly off.  He must have really liked us.

Now Chicky Girl sleeps all alone in the duck house.   We got her three friends this past spring.  They were supposed to be pullets, girls, but one grew a big comb and started cock-a-doodling.  One hen was eaten by a pup coyote, leaving just this horrible rooster and a very unfriendly hen.  The rooster couldn't hold a candle to dear Jet Lag and Chicky Girl hates him and hides from him.

I think I have bird drama over-load.
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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Waltzing Matilda

Meet Matilda!
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I have been in England for an extended visit with my family and just got back last week.

Friday I had a doctor's appointment in Spokane and Brad/William had some things to do there as well.  While waiting for them to get done I happened to see some Aussie pups for sale in the classified ads.  'Let's have a quick look at them' I said.  'We don't have to buy one' I said.  'They are probably funny looking pups anyway' I said.  And so we drove to Northern Idaho.

The breeder knew she had a sale soon as she handed a pup over to me.  Done deal!  Bonded!  Just like that.  Wild horses (both of them) couldn't have dragged that pup away from me.

We were totally unprepared to bring a pup home that night.  Biskit was with us for a start.  She was scared to death of the pup and jumped into the back of the rig.  Just her eyeballs and ears peeking over the back seat.  Before we were even back in Washington State the puppy, who hadn't be handled very much and was scared to death, started pooping........and pooping and then pooping some more, all over my lap.  Furthermore she was salivating all over and soaking my clothes - then, to top things off, she vomiting all down my front.

After we stopped at a rest stop on Interstate 90, so I could get sort of cleaned up, we started to think of puppy names.   We ruled out baked goods and boy names.  I wanted something Australian sounding and feminine.

And so we called our new puppy Matilda.  

Matilda was 8 weeks old today and these pictures were taken the morning after her traumatic car journey home.  It was her very first 'walkies' and she followed along like she had done it many times before.  She had so much fun.  Everything was new and wonderful to her.
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Biskit is overjoyed at being a big sister.  At first she had no idea what Matilda was, so she decides the best thing to do was to keep snarling at her.  Matilda would give Biskit's nose quick licks, making Biskit jump back in terror.  Biskit didn't realize Matilda was another dog until I put them outside together and Matilda chased Biskit.  Biskit found out she cannot play too rough with her, and despite being a juvenile delinquent, is trying her hardest to be responsible.