Monday, October 22, 2012


Monday, October 22 and we have snow. This afternoon it snowed, fell wet and heavy across the landscape, piling a squishy, cozy and beautiful blanket across my world.


It is beautiful.

The weekend was a blur. Friday we herded cows and calves for Val. That was another beautiful day, but on an opposing side of the weather spectrum than today: partly sunny and cool. Ben and I rode horseback while Val and Joe M. rode their Japanese quarter horses (four wheelers) and we got the cows and calves down from the upper pasture to the lower pasture much quicker than any of us thought we would. Val fed us apple pie and coffee, then we were on our way.

From Val’s Ben and I went to a memorial service for our good friend Velma. V was one of those people that made all her friends feel like we were a special part of her life – and I’m still sure we were – but we, along with everyone else, were rather shocked to see how many special friends V actually had. Over three hundred people showed up to the memorial. V was involved in several groups and circles of friends, so most of the people there were actually representing many more than showed up from all across the Western States.

The organizers of the memorial had someone from each of V’s groups speak; so, although it was nice to hear each of them tell a bit about what V meant to them, the service got to be a bit long and tedious. I find it strange that, after a person dies, we humans tend to think,”this is what V would have wanted.” Projecting our own desires on the deceased is some way of keeping them in our hearts, I suppose. But I believe, from the long and tedious service held in V’s memory, that the V Ben and I knew was either very different from the V so many others knew – V, from our perspective, wouldn’t have wanted any service at all, but would have wished that everyone would have gotten together with a few beers and some good food and gotten to know each other in a more personal way – or else she was eulogized and held up to a public standard to suit personal needs.

Much like Jesus. Jesus was all about peace and love and forgiving, but so many leaders over the time since Jesus was crucified have used his image to wage war and intolerance and hatred. In V’s case it isn’t (yet) so dramatic as the case of Jesus, but she was definitely used to let the speakers tell their own story. Don’t get me wrong, though, I appreciate everyone who spoke. It’s just that the service was for those of us left behind, not for Velma.

Anyway, after the service we went over to Sue’s place for a little get-together with Sue and Lori, since Sue’s daughter, Sonja was here last week and was leaving on Saturday. Friday night was the last chance we had to see Sonja and her four month old baby, Ginny. And what a cute baby. No pics, sorry; it hadn’t occurred to me that I would need to take a camera.

Then, on Saturday morning Ben and I got up at five o’clock to get to Val’s ranch by seven so we could help herd the cows and calves from the lower pasture to the corrals next to the ranch house. We separated the cows from the calves, loaded the calves into trailers and hauled them to town to sell them. Val treated us to a late lunch in town, then we went back to the ranch to take back the few culled calves and again medicate two that had had pneumonia, let separated off a several old cows that Val will sell at market to buy some young, bred heifers; then we let the rest of the cows back out to pasture. En and I unsaddled and brushed down the horses while  Val prepared a pot roast; finally, we sat, tired and happy, and drank a couple of glasses of wine while we caught up on each other’s lives and ate dinner. It was a very long day by the time we got home, and we were exhausted, but we’d had a great day and went to sleep that night very happy we had experienced a day of real ranching and had been so much a part of Val’s day.

Sunday we caught up around home: Ben mucked out the garden and greenhouse and I mucked out the house and did laundry. No, I’m not the domestic type, but I think I appreciate a clean house and clean clothes a little bit more than Ben does, so I took those chores on when Ben went outside.

Today we got back into the studio – threw pie plates and mugs – much to our relief, since we’re so far behind on orders and fall inventory. Then it snowed all afternoon. I grinned the whole time we were out doing chores, grateful for such a great week followed up by a beautiful snowfall.

Ben just called me to dinner. He made biscuits and gravy out of the rest of Val’s pot roast and apple salad, so I’m off and running. I hope you enjoy the snow photos half as much as I enjoyed being out taking them.




Ben sweeping off the canasphere.




The Barn Cats, probably enjoying the snow much less than I am.

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