Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Morning After...

The aftermath of last night's events.

Ah...Life on the mountain, ever eventful even if the only event is watching Taco watching Peep Kitty while she whines and cries from agony of being in heat. Lately however, my attention has been turned a bit from the annoying household critters to a much larger critter. We have a 3 yard dumpster that sits toward the front part of the ranch. It's right in front of the renter's house. For about a week now every morning when the Shelly leaves to chore at Phoenix she has been taking a large empty garbage bag with her. Why? Well it's bear season here. Try as we might we can not keep the bear out of the garbage. We've put electric fence on it, tried locking metal lids with a metal rod, even tried waiting for him to show up so we could "pop a cap in his a$$" but so far nothing has worked. So it's just easier to clean up the mess made and continue on with the day. After all, I am invading the ursa's space by living here. I still get annoyed though. Today Jolene and I had the chore of cleaning up the bear's mess. It really wasn't too bad, all confined to one general area. Lucky for me the trash had come before I got it cleaned up, so with any luck I'll be cleaning up the same stuff tomorrow that I cleaned up today. The best day to engage in litter pick up is on Sunday morning. Usually Sunday's spread contains about 25 bags of dog poo from Phoenix that the beast had to tear through to get household trash! YUM, hot, sticky, smelly, bag after bag of dog poo! I'll make breakfast if anyone would like to come help on Sunday morning!

A Big O Pile of Poo!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Nice Relaxing Sunday.....AHHHHH

I live for Sundays, the day of rest. I put off all kinds of "inside stuff" for Sundays like soap making, baking, artsy stuff. I like to sleep sort of late, as long as the dogs will allow. I like to make a semi-large breakfast and pick at it for awhile and then feed bits of it to the kids. Bertha in particular loves pancakes with syrup soaked in. After breakfast I hang out on the couch with several critters beaming around the TV. Around noon I finally head out to check on the animals. Checking the ranch is usually followed by a nap and more channel surfing until it's time to milk. Today didn't really go according to plan.

To start the morning off I got a cold, wet, Dane nose pushing me at 4am-ish. Hamlet had a tummy problem and HAD to go out. The dogs don't attempt to wake up Shelly anymore, she just groans and rolls over. After letting Ham out and back in, Taco wouldn't shut up, STOOPID CHIHUAHUA! Taco ended up on the bed burrowing under the covers. I finally got back to sleep around 7. At 7:02am the phone rang. I can't even remember what the phone call was about. Jeez! Shelly decided that the phone ringing meant it was time to get up. As she was exiting the now cat infested bed, the pager went off and so did her brain. The pager tends to shut off some of Shel's pathways and tweak some others. She frantically started throwing clothes on, as I was tuning to a food channel on TV. Shelly jetted out the house and I was left with spazzy dogs and a couple of bickering cats. I decided that I should just give up and get out of bed. I dug Shadow Cat out of his hiding place and sat on the porch and had a cup of tea. It was muggy and sticky, so unlike our normal dry weather. After the tea, I thought everything was gonna be okay, I was so wrong.

I had just removed myself from a nice, long, hot shower and Shelly came busting in the cabin yelling, looking for me. Apparently the Boss Lady was down at the barn and we needed to hurry up and get down there so we could utilize a dog to separate mama sheep from baby lambs as it is that time again. Time to wean! UGH! Upon arrival at the barn, I found my handsome, stinky, buck, Prince Charming sticking his stinky beard through the fence at the girls. Between grunts he would flip his head down and stick his sprinkler headed penis out of it's pocket and pee on his face! He would then bare his teeth and smile big at the girls again. Prince Charming weighs about 40lbs or so and his back comes just below my kneecap. I had put a collar on him yesterday as somehow he had escaped then too. Since he was preoccupied with the harem on the other side of the fence, I was able to stoop over and grab his collar without giving chase. Charming didn't think that was cool. He attempted to free himself by having a little twitchfest on the end of my arm. Lucky for me my shoulder doesn't stay in the socket very often and my arm just twisted around like a Stretch Armstrong's.
Stretch Armstrong--better smelling than Prince Charming.

Since I didn't have time to drag the speckled caprine back to his pen, I was forced to pick him up! I had to pick up all of him, to include his peed on face and beard with his sprinkler head penis sticking out. STINKY and GROSS, that's all I have to say about that.

After I had the buck taken care of, I head back into the barn to check on the goat kids that were separated from their mamas yesterday. I turn around and guess who is standing behind me? The damn stinky buck. He had slipped out under the gate was headed back to the harem of Nigerians. I had to pick him up again, put him back, and find a post to plug the space at the bottom of the gate. As I'm squishing his musky gut back in the gate, Jersey Cow thinks it's time for her to come out. Keep in mind, eighteen inch goat and bigger than eighteen inch cow! After I squished Charming in, I stood up and bumped my head on Jersey's bell. Rung my bell, FO SHO. At this point Shelly and Boss Lady were working their way to the arena with the flock of Dorpers. They seemed to get he flock in without any problems at all. That was about the only thing that went according to plan today.

While pushing sheep through gates and trying to make little ones go one way and big ones go another way, I smashed my finger in a gate and now I have a purple nail. I vowed not to have purple body parts ever again when I graduated from high school. After finally getting the lambs separated, Shelly got thumped in the chin a couple times by a ram lamb as we were trying to catch him to put a pretty green rubber band around his testicles. (Incidentally, green castrator bands pass right through the digestive system of Dachshund/Jack Russel dogs that run around the ranch and eat tails and shriveled up testicles of Dorper Lambs.) After putting the mama ewes back out to pasture and saving the Border Collie Bear, from the grumpy Donkey Ellie, Shelly and I went back to the house to get lunch. We left the lambs in the shady part of the catch pens with water and hay. For some reason we thought that putting the lams in a covered area, with food and water would be the appropriate thing to do. Since the catch pens are in direct site of the pasture where we put the ewes, it proved to be an appropriate but LOUD place. The babies spent the next hour screaming at the mamas and the mamas screamed right back.
After lunch we headed back down to bring the lambs to a pen at the barn. Since the lambs are not bucket broke, when you open a gate and shake the orange bucket, they cock their heads to the side and look at you. After several attempts of pushing, pulling, shaking, and shooshing the wooly things were finally tucked away. Still screaming but out of site of the ewes. A couple of the bottle fed babies somehow escaped and where now eyeballing the milk goats. As I put Sofia Goat on the milking stand, the two lambs latched on to her teats. Oh well, no milk to strain this evening in the end it was a blessing of a few minutes I really needed. After we finished barn chores, I let the harem of Nigerians loose and led them back to their condo behind the cabin. They had been at the barn for a bit, weed eating and tree trimming. Now the grass in their yard needed mowing so back they went. While I was hanging out with them, getting kisses and listening to BB whisper in my ear I suddenly got a big ole whiff of a skunk.

I've been missing eggs and chickens lately. We thought maybe it was fox or a coyote. So the chickens have been confined to their coop yard on most days. Yesterday I went out to find a fairly large hole dug under the coop fence and a mess of feathers leading back to the old bunkhouse. UGH! Now they aren't even safe in the coop. I had filled the hole yesterday. Since we were smelling the skunky odor and I know skunks like eggs we decided to see what was up at the chicken house. Armed with the .22, Shelly and I found two more holes, a couple of piles of feathers and NO EGGS! No skunk either. As we are snooping around the old barn and the bunkhouses Shelly notices Mookey and Clover skipping along the road by the pond. Mookey and Clover are our two mini donkeys. They have been across the road at the In Law's house keeping Buster the old donkey company. Apparently the accommodations at the In Law's were not five star in mini donkey world so they decided to come home.

Of course eating as much as they could along the way. The two of them are FAT! Their fat rolls have fat rolls. Shelly took off her belt and handed it to me with instructions to put it around Clover's neck and lead her back across the street. She assured me that Mookey would follow. Boy, was she ever wrong. I got the belt around her flabby neck and started to turn her back and she took off. Shelly reminded me to hang on, which I of course assumed was the whole idea behind putting on the belt anyway. I tried to hang on, I really did. At some point I know that fat donkey was running so fast that my feet were in the air behind me and I looked like a bad Macy's Thanksgiving Day balloon. I could feel my good shoulder getting Stretch Armstrong-ish like the other had earlier and decided to cut my losses and I let go. Shelly hit her knees and groaned, complaining that I had lost her belt. In fact I did not lose her belt, it was on the fat neck of the fat donkey that she told me to lead back to whence she came. As I looked up from my face planted position on the ground I saw both donkeys making dust heading to the cabin. Shelly kept questioning me about what we were going to do with them. These are two itty bitty donkeys! Shelly kind of freaks out for a minute and I convince her she had better do something with them or they will just run all the way through the ranch to the county road. That of course will never happen because there is so much food along the way that they will have to stop and sample most of it. Shel takes off toward the house and I tell her that I have to fill holes in the coop again but I will be up soon. I spend a few moments sitting atop the gravel pile trying to figure out just where my Sunday went wrong. I fill the holes, and walk SLOWLY, ever so slowly back to the cabin. As I trudge up the drive, Shelly in her panic voice explains that Clover almost killed Jemma (goat). Huh? Evidently there was some chasing and some braying and some other behaviors. It seemed that Jemma was tucked away safely with the others and the two donkeys were now in the little dogs pen. I thought the donkeys would be making their way back to the In Law's house soon but there was glitch somewhere. I didn't care anymore. I just wanted to find a soft spot for a good curl into the fetal position. Although I probably wouldn't enjoy it much as the ewes were still screaming for the lambs.

I went inside instead to make some pasta, it is after all Sunday. What good is Sunday without pasta? While I'm cooking up some Rotini for some pasta salad with some artichoke hearts, Shelly calls me downstairs and asks if I could help her with the ducks. She needs someone to hold on to them while she cleans out their pen. Sure, I could do that, how hard are ducklings? Ducklings are hard. We have two right now about three weeks apart. So that makes one sort of small and the other small. Speedy the larger of the two, squirms and squacks and by doing so alerts every cat in the house. The smaller one which is so far unnamed starts squirming too. I look down to find a sea of felines with that wish of dropped duck stamped on their furry foreheads. I decided to take them into the bathroom to escape the chop licking cats. On the way both of them must have gotten freaked out and I ended up with two hands filled with duckling poo. In case one would wonder, duckling poo is much better than the musky scent of a buck in lust. I put the critters in the tub, give them a skim of water and take some pictures.

I thought for a minute that I could just curl up on the rug in that fetal position I was thinking about earlier. Alas, Pepsi Cat decides to interrupt my thoughts and scratches at the door. Shelly tells me she's done cleaning and I return the ducklings. I did come upstairs to find that Barack Obama had left a message on my answering machine. Imagine that? The president took time out of his Sunday to leave me a message and I accidentally erased it without hearing the whole thing. What kind of an American am I?

Between bowls of pasta, Taco decided that he needed to properly introduce himself to Pepsi Cat. Pepsi Cat thought that he would make a lasting impression and slapped Taco a couple of dozen times in just under a second. Pepsi left a pretty nail in the Chihuahua's head, right between his ears. Pepsi Cat is the best cat ever!

What a relaxing Sunday, I can hardly wait for Monday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dogs, Cats, Ferrets, Bunnies, Family!

So....I ran into a friend at the grocery the other day. She told me that she had been keeping up with my doings on the blog. I thought, "Great!" I love to write and I love feedback even more. I love feedback about my writing, not the general populations opinion about my large furry family. This particular person gave me feedback about the latter. She started nagging (that's the polite word for it) about the fact that Shelly and I adopted a new dog. She continued on saying that there is a new TV show on animal hoarding and that I should check it out. I might mention that I have on more than one occasion welcomed her furry critters in my home while she went on vacation. She had no problem bringing them over then. I have a fairly long list of friends. I like friends. I like friends because they don't live with me. They don't tell me when to vacuum, what animals I can allow on the couch, and they don't decorate my house. I don't decorate my house either but that's not the point. At any rate this person asked, "How many animals do you have anyway?" So since she reads my blog, (she might not after the reading this one) I thought I'd introduce everyone that stumbles by to my family. They are family. We do have one of the not so furry variety. I didn't think it appropriate to take her to the pound when during the process of potty training she didn't get the job done in the appropriate place or when she bit the neighbor kid. Why would I take my dog? Besides sometimes I'd like to bite the neighbor kid.

So let's start with the oldest. Pepsi Cat! The best cat ever. I don't love him more than the others but I love him best. Don't tell the others. Pepsi cat is about 12 years old. He was brought into my life by my sister friend Jan. He's black and beautiful. Black Cats rule. He stuck by me even when I was nuts. He's car broken. He used to take up the passenger seat in my little truck, until his human sister came along. He loves tomatoes and cantaloupe, spaghetti and the fresh catnip that my friend Evrim brings him from her garden. He knows when I'm having a bad ENDO day and comes and just sits with me, oozing with good energy. He slaps Taco, which is SO AWESOME! He's a bit obsessive about cleaning his feet and now they have a few bald patches. Shelly refers to him as Pissy, which I think is very inappropriate but Pepsi finds it endearing. Pepsi knows he's Jolene's older brother. He's the only pet I've ever had that would get souvenir Tshirts from Mexico from my father. These days Pepsi's daily priority is finding a nice soft place to nap in the sunbeams. He's just beautiful.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Taco and Hamlet

It seems that Hamlet has an admirer. Taco follows him around, snuggles up to him, and gives kisses whenever possible. Poor Hamlet! I wonder if they know they are different sizes?

Izzy just turns her nose up at Taco. Patch is careful not to step on him, and Virus is sick of babysitting. Bertha and Drago are still adhering to their strict schedule of yard play and then baby duck observation. I don't even know if they realize that Taco lives here now.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Chicken Pluckin' of 2010 is complete for a couple of months.

WHew! So pluckin' is complete for another couple of months. We've got another batch to go and turkeys for the holidays too! I'm too tired for quips about slicing, scalding, plucking and eviscerating. We did about 75 birds in four hours. My neck slicer showed up a bit late as she had to entertain unexpected guests, no worries. All was done in good time. I like friend's visits in many forms. How many people can say that they have removed the innards from chickies on a visit to their buddy's house?

Birds in Cones.

Colyn doing the dirty job.



The Catch...I guess this one should have been at the beginning.

Gerri playing with birds

Showing some SKILLS!

Obligatory gut bucket shot!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Big Dog, Little Dog

Since Hound Dog decided to go the way of the Rainbow Bridge, Shelly and I decided to bless ourselves with Taco. Shelly decided more than me. Taco, as some of you know is the rotten little bit that we adopted from the Pikes Peak Region Humane Society. Technically he's a Chihuahua. In reality he's all the "I'll get back at you for that" Karma that I have hanging in the universe. Since Patch Dog is still on the top of Shelly's list as far as dogs go, Taco must stay home each morning when they go to Phoenix Ranch to feed the other dogs. Since I avoid kennel chores as much as possible, Taco has to hang with me. I'm beginning to wonder what is worse. I may suddenly have the urge to scoop poo at 9000 ft. where the O2 particles are moving slow and the smell of melted canine feces hover around 5ft 2in or right under my nose. We brought the little bugger home on July 1st and I've yet to get a decent picture of him. He's either looking for some baseboard to pee on, having a sneezing fit, or he's licking the lens of my camera. The peeing thing is...UGH! I'm old, I've not the patience for potty training something like him. He's knows he's wrong. I don't raise my voice. I stoop over to scoop him up so that I can take him and his fire hose outside. Instead, he darts around, jumps around, yips and neglects to shut off the nozzle. I try to catch him, but like I said I'm old. He's too zippy, too darty. The sneezing thing...well, have you heard me sneeze? It's not one or two sneezes. It's a consecutive series of at least 12. I get annoyed when people try to bless me once for every sneeze. I don't bless Taco, I figured he should feel blessed enough living here in our zoo. It's annoying though. I know it will pass, he ended up with a bit of the flu from the pound. He was quarantined for a bit from the rest of the kiddos and he's been on antibiotics as well. The sneezing continues. The last sneeze in the series is usually followed by a big sniff that draws the dangling booger back up into his nose. AND...the licking of the lens thing, to be blunt, it just pisses me off. I have to stop and clean up the slobber and by the time I'm done, he's either gone or right back to licking. Some of the cats are so annoyed with him they don't even bother to hiss at him.
I just don't click with the "Paris Hilton Purse" type of dogs. Virus is smaller than the others but I guess I've just adjusted to him or he's adjusted to me. I have lost Virus. I jetted out the door to swim practice once and somehow folded him up in the footrest of the recliner. He must have been snoozing because he usually yelps when you give him a dirty look. No matter about Virus. Taco is completely different. I think Peep Kitty outweighs him. Taco is needy and follows me everywhere. I constantly hear his nails tick-tick-tickity on the floors. When I turn to look for him, he turns too and I find myself spinning in circles. He tries to sit on my head when I'm in the chair with the laptop. Shelly allows him in the coop with the layer chickens, he chases Homer the Roo and the girls commence to flapping about. I hate flapping chickens. Flapping chickens make me flap about and scream and loose any sense. The dog makes me act a fool.
Today, I exited the sliding doors downstairs with intent to water the dogs, the normal sized dogs. Taco of course followed. He buzzed around my feet, kind of growled at the ducks, and got stepped on by Hamlet. I finished with my chore, checked on my raggedy tomato plants and went back inside. I must have suppressed the tick-tick-tickity noise or at least thought I had. I went about my "to do list" for the day and didn't give the darn fuzz ball another thought. That was until I was packing up the Tahoe to go to town. I realized that I needed to tuck him in his kennel. I couldn't find the rat. He wasn't sleeping in the recliner. Wasn't peeing on the baseboard. He wasn't eating or harassing the blind chicken or the rabbits. I didn't accidentally lock him in the bathroom. He wasn't in the house. I then realized that I hadn't been annoyed since I was outside. I had no hope that he's been seized by a bear. It was only about 1030 in the morning and the Smokeys don't usually come out that early. I went in search of him, calling and rounding the house. No Taco. No Taco in the shed, in Bertha and Drago's yard, the duck pen, or Izzy and Hamlet's yard. He wasn't at the chicken coop or down at the barn. My throat was beginning to become irritated from calling. The ranch is 90 acres, to a normal sized dog it would be just right. To a Taco dog, it was like the vast expanse of the Serengeti Plain. I was starting to think of stories to tell Shelly. We have had a fox or something stealing chickens. I also thought of the little white dog in the movie "The Proposal" getting swooped up by an eagle. Maybe Taco was just too tempting for a hawk. After checking out every place I thought he'd be, I gave up and decided that I needed to get going to town. I headed back to the house to find him laying on the front door mat. I scolded him sternly for worrying me. He didn't flinch. I stepped over him and went back to packing my tote. After several minutes I glanced over at him and he was still there, in the same position. I thought now would be the time to get Carmen (the camera) and see if I could get him in an album. I got the lens cap off and was able to snap ONE shot before he was up and lunging at the lens. UGH! I tried to get Hamlet to explain the proper behavior expected when Carmen is out, but to no avail. Taco refuses.

I just don't understand small dogs.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This year has been a bit hard on my family. I've lost a cousin and two uncles on my father's side and now an aunt on my mother's side. At the last memorial service I attended for my Uncle Dennis, I made it a point to say something about other members of my family, memories and such. I am unable to be in Utah today, to say goodbye to Aunt Abbe. So, I'm going to dedicate my little corner to my Uncle Mike. I'm going to share a few memories with anyone that stops by.
Uncle Mike...what a soul. I remember the old brick house in Saguache. The one with the toy box that was full of metal trucks and the spider web in the corner. The old brick house had a playhouse that my mother and Uncle Dirk built (with the help of Grandpa) that would later show up in my backyard. Uncle Mike used the playhouse as his "bike shop." I don't remember his room at that house. I must not have been as nosy when the family lived there. I do remember his dog, Peggy a lively Boston Terrier. Peggy would race out to meet us when we arrived from the LONG drive over from Salida. She would lick, lick, lick and Uncle Mike would scold her from doing so. I remember Mike trying to juggle oranges in the kitchen at the old brick house and dropping them on the floor. I remember him helping me hide Grandma's brush one Saturday morning. I was a tomboy with long hair, who had a Grandmother who was a hair brushing Nazi. I don't remember much more about the old brick house.
I had more memories of the big house. Not jail, but the house that was just an alley walk away from the theater and main street. The big house had a big yard and a big garage. I remember Mike's room in the big house, with the corner window next to the lilac bush. It was this room that held icons like wing tip boots, pink shirts and Juice Newton records. Standing in the door of his closet one evening, Mike showed me a pair of Nike sneakers and tried to convince me that someone misspelled his name. Uncle Mike use to play dress up with me at the big house. He never wore dresses but would turn a denim jacket and Grandma's lipstick into a number of characters. He was very talented. He would climb trees with me and help me find treasures in the ditch out front. He allowed me into his sanctuary above the garage and shared MAD Magazines with me. It was in the big house that he was caught on camera playing with my fancy Holly Hobbie paper dolls. We made plain paper into TAXI signs to put on Grandma's big yellow car. I remember Pop teasing Uncle Mike each time we sat down to dinner at the big house saying, "Come sit down Mikey, your momma will cut your meat for you."

When I was very young, about four years old, my neighbor Aaron Davis had a flashy new bike. The bike was painted with several different colors and had streamers hanging from the handlebars. I was in awe of the bike. I showed Mike the bike and told him how cool I thought it was. Mike said he could get me a better bike, with brighter colors and better tires. I said I wanted an orange and yellow bike. Several weeks later, I got a flashy bike with streamers from the handlebars. It was painted yellow and orange with solid rubber tires. Mike had taken and old bicycle and fixed it up to my specifications. It was my first bike and still my favorite. I guess it only fitting that Uncle Mike would help me graduate from bicycle to car. When I was fifteenish, Grandma gifted the fabulous baby blue Chevy Corvair to me. I was fretting about the manual transmission one afternoon, so without thinking it through Mike offered to teach the finer points of a "stick shift." For several months a couple of days a week after school and work he would patiently putz around town with me. He even let me drive his Toyota truck a few times. He shielded me from annoyed drivers flipping the bird at me because I couldn't get going from stop signs on uphill slopes. He showed me how to drive, shift and eat an ice cream cone at the same time. This would prove to be a needed skill when my cousin Amanda and I would cruise around town. I remember his cat Elvira and when he worked at Gibson's. I remember when he had hair. We went to the theater in Salida one evening, I was about jr. high age, at the end of the picture Marti Norby and her friend asked me if he was my boyfriend. When I said no, they commented on how cute he was and asked if he went to Salida High. It was interesting.
I've many other memories; high school wrestling, a nickname of Mouse, a short lived accent after working on a harvest crew, eating bowls of cereal together, his upset look when my Skitty Kitty slapped Peggy Dog.
My Uncle Mike, he's an awesome uncle.

Monday, July 12, 2010


My distraction has been immense lately. I'm not sure when it started, but it's been bad. I had been distracted by Hound Dog being sick. After she died I was having dreams of late night howling that would wake me up and prevent me from returning to a peaceful slumber. As the dreams subsided, Taco distracted me by coughing and sputtering, peeing in the house and buzzing around my feet. Then...Jolene left her PSP Player here, on purpose I think to distract me further.
Fly Dog, the Border Collie came to visit which of course distracted me and now this morning I'm distracted by her absence. I was distracted by the badger over at Gaffney's ranch, so much so that I had to stop and take pictures.Then of course I was so distracted by the thunder and lightning that I didn't think to check to make sure that important appliances still had power, like the freezers. So now, I have to pick a steer to butcher because I'm not ready to be distracted by store bought meat.

I've been distracted by memories, the kind that hurt a bit but you're glad that they are still stored in a bank someplace. I was so distracted that I neglected to study for my Firefigher I and Hazmat Operations tests. I was even distracted by the chicken killing thief and trying to remind Shelly to call the farrier. Good thing the farrier called us, as I was distracted by trying to remember and ended up forgetting to remind Shelly. Whew! So many distractions.

Friday morning, Shelly coerced me into helping her chore at Phoenix Ranch. That means I had to feed and water dogs there, complain about the smell of dog poo in the summer sun, and try and avoid bees. I hate chores at Phoenix. I hate Shelly's lack of organization more. A job that should take less than an hour, usually takes at least two and then you have to add in travel time and Shelly's extra piddling, and time for chit chatting at Evergreen Station. By the time we got back to the ranch it was around 1pm. I was starving, hot, cranky, thirsty, and distracted by events of the previous day. As Shelly drove by the cow pasture, I notice Jersey posturing funny. Like she's calving. Jersey couldn't be calving though. When we purchased her in January we got her at a discounted price because she was not bred. The guy that sold her said to me, "That cow will poo gold bricks before she calves." According to the guy she had been a nurse cow for three calves, and wasn't anywhere near a bull. I'd been so distracted that I accounted for Jersey's wide girth as a propensity for obesity. So when I saw her dancing around and acting weird, I did not equate it to a new baby. I should have but I didn't. I was so overcome by hunger I suppose. I commented to Shelly about the bovine's behavior and instructed her to keep on driving, I needed food. Later on in the day, Shelly and I ventured on down to the barn to do afternoon chores. On the way, Shelly throws a minute fit at the corner of the cow pasture, almost throwing me off the ATV. There sat Jersey Cow with an itty bitty "How now brown cow." Wonder what I might be distracted by today.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Amazing Women, Mother, Aunt, Friend.

Abbe Kay McDaniel

April 1, 1966 ~ July 8, 2010

LAYTON - Abbe was born in Albuquerque New Mexico April 1st, 1966 to George and Sally Wynn where she lived until the age of 12, when she moved with her family to Saguache, Colorado.

In rural Saguache Abbe thrived living the country lifestyle and enjoyed horseback riding and raising lambs. She attended Mountain Valley High School where she graduated salutatorian in 1983. It was during her years in High School that she met her future husband Michael McDaniel. After graduation Abbe attended College at Colorado State University in Ft. Collins Colorado where she took a class that would lead to her lifelong passion of floral design.

In 1987 Abbe moved to Salida with her golden retriever Bailey to be with her fiancĂ© and began work in the Salida Flower Shop. The owners, Dick and Janet Murphy took Abbe under their wing and into their hearts. Abbe soon found she had a second family in the Murphy’s who treated her like the daughter they never had.

On December 31st, 1988 Michael and Abbe were married in a log cabin in Salida. With friends and family, they celebrated in country fashion a bond that would last 21 years.

In 1991 the McDaniels began a new adventure as Mike found work in Alaska. Abbe was able to continue her carrier in floral design at the Eagle River Safeway flower shop. In typical fashion Abbe soon had many friends and found great enjoyment there. On July 12, 1993 Abbe and Mike welcomed their beautiful daughter Sally Morgan McDaniel and 4 years later on July 11, 1997 her “best boy”, Jarred Michael McDaniel came into their lives.

Although Abbe and Mike were happy together with their little family and circle of friends in Alaska they decided that it was time to return to the “lower 48”. In the summer of 1998 they made the long move to Layton Utah. Once established in Layton Abbe went to work for the Window Box Flower Shop, and for the next ten years she continued to learn more about the industry and become an accomplished floral designer. Abbe considered everyone at the Window Box an extension of her family.

Abbe and her family found enjoyment in the opportunity to travel and explore the sights and attractions of the country, especially Maui. The beautiful beaches and warm waters helped rejuvenate her soul.

Never one to shy away from a challenge Abbe found many new outlets for her energy, from home remodeling projects with her husband to circuit training with her friends she found many ways to enrich her life. One of the most rewarding challenges of Abbe’s life was raising puppies for the nonprofit organization Guide Dogs for the Blind. She found the task both fun and rewarding as each of her five dogs graduated and became working guide dogs.

In the spring of 2009 Abbe was diagnosed with cancer. It was at this time Abbe began her long and courageous battle with the disease. With the help of her loving sister Sherri and a team of excellent medical professionals Abbe was able to spend the next year and a half with her family. Ultimately she was unable to defeat the disease and on July 8th, 2010 passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side.

Abbe will be remembered by her family and friends as an extraordinary woman, passionate florist and loving wife and mother.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, July 13, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Lindquist’s Layton Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road with interment following.

Friends may visit family from 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. at the mortuary.

Donations can be made in Abbe’s name to: Guide Dogs for the Blind P.O. Box 3950 San Rafael, CA 94912-3950 or or call 800-295-4050.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Gone but a resident still in my memories.

Today my Aunt Abbe passed away. I remember her for many things, many laughs, a few good cries (although she would never admit it.) and a mental image of horse poop smashed into a young boy's face. We will get to the poop.

Abbe was married to my Uncle Mike, my mother's youngest sibling. She and Mike dated in high school, that's when I met her. Soon Abbe and Mike became "Abbe and Mike". She popped corn for Grandma at the theater and attended the important family functions like painting the picket fence over spring break. She fit in splendidly. She accepted being teased by Pop, tickled my brother and I when needed, and explained to me what "Hunting for Swordfish and Tuna" really meant. Shortly after Mike graduated high school he moved to Salida, slept on our couch and helped Pop out at the Salvage Yard. Abbe would visit on weekends and make fun of his bell bottom work pants. She would patiently hang out with me and even take rides on my push pull merry go round while waiting for Mike to walk through the front gate in his not-so fashionable duds. A few years later after she had graduated she and Mike lived down the street from us. My freshman year of high school, Charlie C. and I attended the Homecoming dance together. Abbe reminded me for several days prior to the dance to be sure and bring my date to their house so that she and Mike could meet him. I made Charlie walk the half block to their house. While there, Abbe offered him a wine cooler and complimented him in his stripped pants. It was awkward, but I have always remembered it. Aunt Abbe, as many aunts and uncles did, would ask me about my swimming from time to time. I always gave Abbe a full report as she knew exactly what a I.M. was. I never needed to explain the finer points of my sport to her. She had a Golden Retriever named Bailey that had a black mark on his tongue. It looked like someone had taken a Sharpie marker and put it there. One evening when my younger brother and I were visiting for "Game Night" I noticed the black mark. Abbe convinced me that when Bailey was young her neighbor had a dog that look very much like her dog and that sometimes she mixed them up. In order to fix the mix-up problem she marked Bailey's tongue with a permanent marker. I believed her for a long time. Right up until she overheard me telling the story to someone else. When Abbe and her family moved to Alaska, I remember her worrying about Bailey making the flight safely. She had quite the connection with animals. When I got the news of her passing today, I had a flash of a picture of her and her 4H sheep that Uncle Mike had on his dresser. ( I was a nosy kid.) So these are few things I remember of Abbe. Along with being an incredible mother, aunt and friend I also remember the "Poop face story." I don't remember all the players, have no idea who the unfortunate kid was. I only know he wore glasses. Abbe told me this story once, and I have yet to forget the look on her face as she told it. One afternoon Abbe and her sister were riding horses in town. I can only assume the town was Saguache. She explained that they had been riding near the edge of the street when they encountered an oncoming vehicle so her sister crossed the street to ride on the opposing side until the car passed. For whatever reason, her sister stayed on the opposite side of the street for awhile. As the pair continued riding, two young boys were racing up behind them on bicycles. The boy in lead repeatedly turned to look behind him. Apparently the boy spent too much time looking behind him and did not pay attention to the large equine rump in front and slammed into Abbe's sister's horse. Just in time as the horse had lifted it's tail and was leaving a pile for the city street cleaners. Abbe would explain that the horse didn't seem to flinch. The poor boy had poo in his mouth, up his nose and between his glasses and his eyes. He was sputtering and spitting as one might expect. Abbe cracked up laughing. Abbe could tell stories about poop. She would get the same look when she would retell the story of Jared projectile pooping on Mike and how she never did get the stain out of his shirt.

Just a few memories. RIP Aunt Abbe.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Busy Days and Weeping Nights

It's been a bit of a nightmare here on the homestead. My lovely Bloodhound, Hound Dog passed away on Wednesday morning. She'd been sick for about a week. We'd been treating her for pneumonia and she seemed to be making improvements everyday but early Wednesday morning took a turn. Shelly was incredible. She gave me lots of hugs and understood why I had to leave the ranch when the vet came to put her down. Shelly buried her for me and cleared the house of the obvious reminders. I did okay until breakfast yesterday when I went looking for my slobbery dog to share the crust of my toast with.

We wasted no time in filling the slot on the dog roster though. I am so thankful that I can provide homes for all of my animals and I believe that they have a great quality of life in our family. Shelly has been wanting a "little" dog for a long time now. I honestly don't understand little dogs. I sometimes lose Virus dog and it's because of his size. Anyway, I promised Shelly her pick of a little dog as long as it was a rescue. We headed down to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region after chores yesterday and came home with a little Chihuahua named Taco. So far all is well. Taco has been quarantined for a bit as he has a bit of the flu that was sweeping through the shelter. He's on oral antibiotics and does not take them easily. He's a squirrely guy.

I neglected to get pictures or even provide customers with an update on the chickens. They are doing fine. I've been down to feed and water each day but haven't been able to tell stories or sing (horridly) to them in several days. I don't think it will effect the taste of the meat too much. The layers are still confined to the coop yard as I have not given the fox an eviction notice yet. They are still annoyed with me.

To top everything off, I've had to dry off my Jersey cow open an account on the "Chica Chica Brown Cow" internet dating site in hopes of finding her a beau. I've been lucky enough to find a few prospects. In the meantime I'm looking to lease a Jersey or Brown Swiss in milk in hopes of feeding my addiction to raw milk. I still have my goats but the cream from the cows is oh so sweet.

I'm looking forward to an afternoon nap, even though I probably will never get one. 'At's OK, I have a wonderful life even with all the busyness and the drama.