Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Trails and Paths We Walk...

 


Millie and Me ~ Our everyday hill....






Some days, it seems steeper than on others...




And longer too...



Millie and I, by ourselves, have been gathering up old brick pavers and laying them down where rough old creek rocks formerly served as pavers.  We really had to watch our steps on the rocks when carrying a load of hummingbird feeders this summer.  Who wants another broken wrist?  Everyone who sees these, including a certain old cow puncher, looks at us with new respect.  We love it!  

The curvy path in the corner garden was a bit of a challenge because I didn't want to saw halves and quarter bricks, but after several trials and errors, I was satisfied.  The rock edging is made from the rough old creek rock pavers so you can imagine how difficult it was to walk on them.






We have been noticing so many beautiful webs that some fine ladies have been weaving here on the hill.  Over and under, round and round they go...  We are careful not to disturb them.  We loved the raindrops that collected on this one.  And, we loved the rain too! 



I hope you are having a wonderful October.  It is going way too fast, though, don't you think?  Thank you for stopping by. Take care! 

                                                                                                        Mary


                                                                                                               

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Looking to the Sky...



Here on the hill, we look at the sky a lot, both day and night.  Many of my iPhone pictures are of  spectacular  clouds and amazing sunsets, but never of constellations...until now.  I would never have dreamed of being able to capture such a beautiful picture with just a simple phone camera.  Can you see the constellation, and if you can, are you able to tell what it is?  A clue might be that we are facing northward.   



This picture was taken one evening at our son's poultry farm.  I thought it was quite wonderful too.  We are facing east in this one.


And here, we are facing westward where we enjoy so many beautiful sunsets.  Late evening is a great time of day to be sitting on the porch. (Or out doing chores.)

*****

And now here's an update from the last post.  The mamma cow never changed her mind about the twins.  She wanted only one calf to raise, so we had to take over the job.  It is doing well and loves its bottle.  It is already spoiled and wants to be our pet.  Millie thinks the calf is her charge to look after and watches after it like a good stock dog should, but we are careful not to let her into the pen with it.  Sometimes she seems a bit jealous of it when I am doing the feeding.    




We are looking at jackets over on my sewing blog, Linnie Butts and Company, if you would care to take a look.  Last week we updated the sewing room, so you can find that there too.  

                                                                             Mary



Thursday, September 23, 2021

Yay for Fall and Jacket Weather...

 




I was out the door early, this first morning of fall, but was right back inside the door just as quickly ~to grab a jacket.  Forty-eight degrees was a bit too chilly for these old sun-tanned arms that haven't seen a full sleeve in such a long time.  Yay for fall and jacket weather!  The twins were on my mind, so I grabbed the old gray corduroy and back up the hill Millie and I went.  We have another set of twins in the cattle herd, but  Momma Cow  isn't as fond of one of her babies as she is of the other, and keeps going off and leaving it.  (This is our fourth set of twins this year.  What's going on with that?  A cow usually has only one calf.)  It's the little black one in the picture, the one she is licking clean, that she loves best.  It's not that she hates the little gray one, but she just doesn't love it like she does the other one.

 Both calves had been with their mother the evening before, so I was anxious, this morning, to see if they were still together, and fortunately they were.   It didn't take long to spot the light-colored cow and calf as they were not far from the pond near the trail we walk.  So, our day was off to a good start!    


We had left home without breakfast, so a snack on the trail was good.  There is nothing quite like the sweet  taste of muscadine. That's the taste of fall, I think.   



My spirits were lifted greatly last week when we finally got rain.   When  I heard rain pounding on our roof, a few nights ago, in the wee morning hours, I snuggled in and slept like I hadn't done in a long while.  We were thankful!  Rain is such a blessing.

I spent a lot of time in September cleaning, inside and out.  I put something new (or is it old) by the front door.  Well, it's different to say the least.  The MERCANTILE, which I am calling it, could do with a couple of wee pumpkins on the front porch, don't you think?   When I found this old piece, SALOON was written in stick-on-letters across the front.  It didn't take but a jiffy to pull those off. 




I also cleaned the Shanty and made a few changes on its porch.  There's now a bell for callers to ring, and seating for two when the girls come for tea.




I loved Magpie's Mumblings quote on yesterday's post.  (And how about those adorable little sweaters she is making for her grands?)  

"If I waited until I had all my ducks in a row, I'd never get across the street.  Sometimes you just have to gather up what you've got and make a run for it."

That's me to a tee!  Ha! Ha!  I think I'll get off here and make a run for it while there's still a little time left in this first full day of fall.  Happy Fall to you all!  

                                                                              Mary


Monday, August 30, 2021

Company on the Trail...

 



It's not often that Millie and I see anyone when we are out walking our backwoods trails.  That is, unless it's someone who is flying overhead in an airplane.  We were standing on the banks of the big pond when that very thing happened recently.  I just happened to have the big Canon Rebel in my hands, so I turned it upward hoping to get a good shot of the gorgeous plane in the sky above us.  Undoubtedly the pilot liked that, so he/she maneuvered  the plane around and flew back over us, lower this time.  I got the shot I wanted before giving a big friendly wave.  The plane, thankfully, didn't crash into the pond, straightened out and continued on out of sight.   

Much to Millie's delight, most of our encounters are with  four-legged critters, some of which are  not-too-distant relatives of Mille.  At a distance it is sometimes hard to distinguish between her and her cousins.  A few days ago, she had, what I am calling, a close encounter with one of those cousins.  She had just chased away Coyote Jr. when Momma Coyote came out of the marsh and put the chase on poor Millie.  Thank goodness she is fast, but so is Momma.  Maybe you can figure out who is who in the pictures below.  

I have always had a soft spot, much to the Cow Puncher's chagrin, for these wild critters.  Lately, they have been out in the fields almost every day "trying to make a living" as my dad might have said.  They have been out among the grasses eating army worms and grasshoppers, both of which have been a plague for us this year.  I say, "Let those coyote babies eat."  Dan did ask me if I thought the big She-Coyote could outrun a baby calf.  :~/









A wise old Native American once said that the last surviving critter on the earth would be the coyote.  Given our experiences with them, we would probably agree.  They do, in fact, do what they have to do to make that living I mentioned above.  

We are really needing rain here on the hill.  We have been in a hot and dry pattern for awhile now.   To make matters worse, there isn't even any dew most mornings.  When Millie and I walk those old cattle trails, we are kicking up a cloud of dust behind us, for sure.  I can't believe I ever complained about getting my walking shoes wet.  I think it is time to start doing some rain dancing here on the hill.   How sweet are those rain drops below!

 



Tuesday, August 17, 2021

The Show's Almost Over...






 Here on the hill, we are beginning to get quite ragged, worn, and tired  from a long, hot summer.  When out watering the plants earlier, I kept thinking of  the words from an  old Merle Haggard song  I heard while riding around in the tractor a couple of weeks ago.  "The show's almost over, let me sing one more song..."  






The bees and butterflies were, in fact, putting on quite a show, just as the hummingbirds have been doing for a couple of weeks.  They seem to know, too, that the show's almost over.

The summer tanager that sang his heart out those long summer days,
has ceased singing now, though I still see him occasionally.  He was never shy, nor abashed to come ever so near to sing his sweet summer's song.  I want to say to him, "Come...Sing just one more song."  








Most evenings we have been watching Downton Abbey.  We started with Season One and are now almost halfway through.  You might think a tractor-driving gal and a cow-punching guy, who ordinarily watch cowboys and Indians, wouldn't care for such, but we actually are enjoying it.  I keep my eyes glued to the screen so I don't miss a single costume, but I most enjoy the goings on downstairs.  My favorite characters are Mrs. Patmore and Daisy.  I am quite sure I would never want to have servants, but if I should, I would definitely want one who would cook and clean the kitchen.  I will go now.  I have a pound cake in the oven and a mess all over the kitchen.  "Daisy...."  
  




There's a new post over at Linnie Butts & Company.  Riata has a new school dress that the girls would love to show off.  Just click on the old sewing machine picture above.  




Thursday, August 5, 2021

High Summer ...




High Summer:  defined as the period of six weeks and two days from the sixth Saturday before August; the hottest part of the summer.  

Well, that is confusing enough.  This makes me wonder if high summer is already over.   It was awfully hot last week with temps near 100 degrees each day.  And, this morning's walk over the hill was absolutely delightful.  Why I didn't even work up a sweat and my shoes didn't even get wet.  Now, that's a first in a long, long time.  (But, checking out the ten-day forecast, it seems to me that high summer might not be done with us yet!)

Well, no matter, this is how I have been spending these days of summer.  It's really not such a bad thing driving around in air-conditioned comfort, listening to old Merle Haggard songs.  :~)  



FiddleyBits over on YouTube had an even better idea for overcoming boredom while working in the fields.  This video is definitely one of my favorites.  But, oh my, the vastness of that country ~ And, of the tractor too.  I am afraid a gps guidance system might get confused here in our rolling hills and I would run into something, like a tree or a pond.  For all you quilters out there I think you would enjoy this too by clicking here on  FiddleyBits. (You can skip the ad and get right to the video.)

She says:  Multi-tasking with my 1885 Wilcox and Gibbs hand-crank sewing machine and our John Deere tractor with a gps guidance system.  Probably a historical first!  Started string piecing a quilt pattern by Bonnie K. Hunter called "Talkin' Turkey."  




 






Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Trail I Walk...

 



The trail I walk is really only an old cow trail...sometimes just a dusty path made by cattle, and sometimes it is just muddy ruts cut deep by cattle's sharp hooves.  The trail is even, on occasions in the cold months of the year,  covered with snow or ice.

When I write about cattle trails I am reminded of the trails of the old west such as the Chisholm Trail and the Goodnight-Loving Trail.  Oh my, wouldn't that have been something to have seen?  As Ed Bruce wrote in The Last Cowboy Song, "We'll dream tonight of when fences weren't here."    

But, it is a sure fact that I do, indeed, walk where the cattle walk.  They know the best trails, so I just follow those trails, add a few loop-de-loops and there it is ~ Miss Chip's Trail, which is what I first called it.  And, we will just keep hoping that this simple old trail is never covered in concrete as much of the old Chisholm Trail now is. 

I never know what to expect when I head out each morning.  No two days are the same for life goes on and things change, even while we sleep.  Yes, even the trail!  Why, just this morning, Millie and I had to detour around an old fallen log.  It was a dead pine that lightening had struck a few years back.  I knew it would fall one day, so yesterday was the day.





 Hill Top Cowboy's  first paying job, when he was about nine years old, was riding his mare, Dolly, to look after a neighbor's cattle.  He counted them each day and reported back to the owner if  anything was awry.  He earned a dollar a day for the work, if you call riding a spotted pony "work."  He gave the money he earned to his mother to be used to buy things for the family.  He had lost his dad when he was only four years old, so those times were hard ones for his mother who, by herself, raised a family of four children (three sisters besides the young cow poke.)  He says, looking back, that the neighbor probably paid him the dollar a day just to help out the family.  

His story always reminds me of that of Ralph Moody, which he wrote about in Little Britches and Man of the Family.   When we married,  the young cowboy didn't have much to bring along  ~ just  his clothes and two old books.  It's not a hard guess as to what those books were.  Dan had read those books when he was a boy, probably about the time he was riding old Dolly on the neighbor's ranch.  
 




And, here is the Cow Poke, himself,  now living out his dream, but he has traded in his horse for one of those new-fangled side-by-sides.  It rides a little easier he says, and he's a little closer to the ground.




 "This is the last cowboy song the end of a hundred year waltz
Voices sound sad as they're singing along another piece of America's lost
He'll dream tonight of when fences weren't here

This is the last cowboy song...
Remington showed us how he looked on canvas
And Louie Lamour has told us his tale
And Willie and Waylon and me sing about him
And wish to God we could have ridden his trail

The old Chisholm Trail is covered in concrete now
And they truck 'em to market in fifty foot rigs."

"This is the last cowboy song...
This is the last cowboy song..."

~Ed Bruce









The girls over at Linnie Butts and Company are meeting the Bully Good Skookum dolls for the first time.  Just click on the old sewing machine at the top of the page to join the fun.

Thanks to all for stopping by...
Mary



Sunday, July 11, 2021

The Garden Gone Wild...

 


The Zinnia Garden, also known as the Garden Gone Wild, wasn't exactly my doing this year, as most of you know.  I didn't sow the seeds.  They just happened while I stayed away.  And, stay away I did.  This little garden has a history of having ticks in it (ever since we brought manure in from the horse barn), and I was so afraid of getting one under my cast..  



But, once the cast was off, I was out here almost every day trying to salvage what I might.  About a week ago, I finally chopped and pulled the last of the weeds and grass out, tossing  them, as I did each day, over the back fence.  The cattle seemed to think that I was harvesting hay for them, so they would come every day to eat what was there.. They seemed to like it.

I think Mother Nature did a pretty good job.  I have taken notes not to sow next year's seeds as thickly as I usually do.  I did add a few old accent pieces before we did a little photo shoot.  Mother Nature had nothing to do with those.  I am not sure she likes rust as much as I do.  :~) 

















I am adding one photo I found on my photo card of celebrations on the 4th.  The cattle and I enjoyed the neighbors fireworks while Millie hid out in the garage.