Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Big One

Every so often a big quake hits and people are devastated and killed by the disaster. All of my life I have been told about the big one expected in Oregon and Washington-- actually overdue now as it's been 311 years since the last megaquake off our coast and they come about every 244 years.

I've been in a couple of small quakes, nothing of that magnitude, but enough to know when the ground starts to sway, you get down on your hands and knees. When that happens and you are in a city, there are a few other things to know. This article also describes what one might expect if they live or are along the Coast regarding the resultant tsunami.

Some would rather not think about such things. My opinion is know what to do, release the fear, and then be ready to put your plan into action if the worse happens-- someday it could.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happy Endings

You know life doesn't give us a lot of happy endings. In fact in life, I am not exactly sure what a happy ending would constitute. Basically life gives us moments that are happy and sometimes whole strings of them, but the endings are not only not guaranteed, but they will end with death sometime-- whether that's a gentle death or a cruel one, premature or as desired.

Turn on the news to stay up on the day's events, and it's a string of bad happenings. I don't blame news for this. They are not there to report the good stuff but that for which we need to be aware and watch. They want-- need to keep us coming back for our fixes. I believe in spending time making myself aware of what is going on only when I can do something about it which means voting, working for various causes, staying informed about the world, donating when possible. To just hear bad stuff and feel helpless to deal with it is detrimental. Media flourishes on it though.

A farm or ranch is a string of not happy endings. It goes with the territory and even when things work out as well as possible, it's tough (even counting in the happy moments within). We raise these animals to be eaten which means sold at some point, or we would go bankrupt doing it. It's not a hobby, but it's also not a happy ending when we get a nice check; but when a lot of lambs, who had no idea how life was going to be, are shipped off in a big truck as happened last week.

Which is why I like movies and books with happy endings. Frankly culturally it used to almost be guaranteed that any movie had to have one. If the book they were based on did not, then they would manipulate it in the film to all work out-- or look like it might. Then we went through a phase where it was only art if it was a tragedy. Sorry, but I simply am not interested in putting my entertainment time (and books and movies are entertainment or should be) into something that makes me feel worse when it's finished than I did when I started.

Here comes a confession. One that will horrify purists in reading. I read endings first. I rarely even bother with a book that doesn't make me feel better at the end than at the beginning. If the end is good, I'll go back and read the whole thing. Otherwise, forget it. Oh once in awhile I'll give myself a literary moment and follow the rules by reading the book from start to finish; but generally I simply want books and movies that make me feel better and I do what I can to guarantee that will happen. Which is why I don't read mysteries as they are all about not knowing all the way through what is going to happen. To heck with that. If I want that, I can turn on the news.

Last week we had rented a Netflix film. I will not mention the title but a few minutes into the film I felt compelled to go to my computer (which handily is now in a corner of the living room) to check out a synopsis for this film (should have done this before I rented it). Not a happy ending. In fact a whole string of unhappy events, one right after another-- in other words two hours of them.

I told Farm Boss, not the ending, but that it was not going to end well. He said what I also felt-- turn it off. We watched Rio Grande for the umpteenth time instead.

Call me shallow for all of this. I can live with that; but I do not want unhappy endings to movies or even worse for books when I have put more hours into reading them. I feel, for my own life, it's all about building positive energy wherever possible and how I can gather that to myself. Tell me I miss a lot by not reading tragedies, by not wallowing in angst with no redeeming end to the suffering, fine; but I'll keep right on missing it.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aging: genetics, environment and dollars

One thing about life that is definite and for sure. It's all about aging. From the geological to the biological everything is aging or weathering from the impact of the environment and time. We often push such thoughts aside. Even with a rose bush, we cut off the aging blossoms, wanting mostly the buds. Sometimes we do things to try and hold onto the bud of our own lives. We fool ourselves about it until something happens to remind us-- like a reunion which brings together those who have not seen each other for maybe as much as fifty years.

Before we attended Farm Boss's 50th high school reunion, he got to talking to someone who had been to his 40th earlier this summer. He (still very fit looking ) warned Farm Boss to expect to feel shocked by all those already in wheelchairs. Like us, he had never attended one and hence everybody was still eighteen in his mind. He wasn't ready to think about the different rates at which we age and how we will face old age.

At Farm Boss's, there were no wheelchairs but was one walker which I think was from a recent hip replacement and hence doesn't count. There were some canes. Based on looks, if I had not known better by their name badges and photos, I'd have thought the people ranged in age from their 50s to their 80s. It was hard to believe they all graduated from high school in June 1961.

I thought it was pretty cool that the organizers had made name badges with the photos of the students as seniors. It was especially good for someone like me, who had known none of these people, to be able to see them now and a photo at 18. Sometimes I could still see the teen-ager, sometimes not.

So I thought about it afterward-- what makes some look older than they are or for that matter others younger? I came up with three things but there are probably more-- genetics, environment and dollars. I include in environment things like food supply, exercise, sun exposure, habits that might prove negative for a longer life span. I also recognize that looking old doesn't mean one will die any sooner than someone who appears younger facially and body-wise.  We all know of the skinny, regular jogger, who drops dead at 55; so looks aren't a criteria for longevity. They relate mostly to looks.

I can't evaluate the genetics of the people at this reunion as I don't know their parents or family medical history. I also don't have a way to know about their financial situation. Some came from a long way off as in Southeast Asia and Switzerland being the farthest but they were spread all across the United States. Probably though the oldest appearing hadn't gone far from their high school (just guessing), but I also talked to quite a few who hadn't gone far and looked quite youthful; so region wasn't a factor in it.

Where it came to dollars, these alumni had all begun their adult life in a middle class, rural/suburban community with very little poverty at least of the monetary sort and also very little (if any) extreme wealth.

The ones I talked to ran a gamut for what they did or had done from truck drivers to doctors and everything in between. Some were retired. Some still worked at physically demanding jobs. That didn't appear to indicate who looked older either. I actually didn't talk to any of the oldest appearing as they were sitting in lawn chairs, and I was standing or walking around except when we ate. We had brought lawn chairs at an email's suggestion but didn't get them out of the vehicle because it would have limited mingling.

So I don't know if being physically active there related to being physically active other places. Had those who seemed older been hit by some serious illness earlier which limited their  mobility? I don't know that either. I do know people who walk with small steps and move slowly appear older than those who can stride and walk more quickly. A stroke, hip or knee replacement can change that all very fast.

The reunion described earlier to Farm Boss probably had more people without much money (based on from where they came) than this one.  That could explain the wheelchairs there as if you can't afford to see a doctor in your 40s, don't get the proper medications for things like high blood pressure, your chances of a stroke are probably greater in your 50s. Even diabetes might be influenced by diet as well as genetics. By now everybody at this reunion had Medicare, but it doesn't cover all health problems as some cannot afford the Medicare supplement and run into a catastrophic problem where 10% is a lot of money.

Weight wasn't all of it either as there were skinny or fat people who looked older or younger. Some women, about half, dyed their hair but that doesn't make someone look younger. It just makes them look like they dye their hair. I didn't really see anyone I'd say had had a face lift or was using Botox although who knows for sure on that unless you have known the person a while. Makeup can make a difference for women as too harsh of makeup on an old face is not flattering. Think an aging Joan Crawford.

I don't think looking old before someone else totally relates to smoking or alcohol use as the ones that looked the oldest would surprise me if I found out they smoked or drank much. Actually the oldest looking ones looked like what I thought grandmas and grandpas were supposed to look like and did when I was growing up.

Of course, whether we look older or younger isn't really a big deal in terms of longevity. But being able to stay physically active might be. I don't know but the only thing concrete I got from this is that a number doesn't tell much about how old someone appears to be. I've thought this before though sometimes when I am being slowed in a grocery store by someone appearing much older ahead of me, and I realize they might actually be younger. Is that mostly complements of my ancestors?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

High school reunions

There were three things for which I was not looking forward this summer-- two high school reunions and one jury duty. One I had a choice about, two I did not. I got the jury duty over in July with one pretty nearly day-long trial. The first of the high school reunions happened last week-end with Farm Boss's 50th. This was the first one he and I have either attended and unless something unexpected comes along, September will see my last one.

There were reasons I had never gone to one. Mostly because I thought they would be shallow gatherings all oriented around something that ended __  number of years ago. I figured mostly they'd be for those who felt their high school years were their best and wanted to relive them however shallowly they could do it. I did understand they also are a time to reconnect with friends lost along the way. Maybe for some they also serve to assess-- did I do better than my classmates or worse? Sort of like yearly Christmas letters only enhanced.

His 50th has my praise for the organizers setting it in a lovely, wooded location on one of the farms of an alumni. It was also pretty inexpensive at $20 a person which might have included the gifts (more on that later) name tags, rental tables, and definitely included the meal which had been catered and frankly was blah to bad (the restaurant should not have wanted their name attached to it as I don't imagine many who ate it would want to eat there afterward-- something for restaurant caterers to consider).

The setting outdoors more or less made up for the food. I also liked how the organizers said because of donations, from other alumni, anybody who could not afford the $20 would be covered privately. The attendees who I met were very nice, polite, some funny, interesting in the different ways they have spent these 50 years. The men Farm Boss had known as friends back then probably would still be friends if he lived nearer to them today.

Now understand that for me, as an appendage there with no shared history with these alumni, I was there more as an observer. Up until the planned events, I stuck to asking people a few questions about themselves, giving Farm Boss the freedom to mingle but really I was kind of just 'there' for wont of a better word.

Then came the planned 'entertainment'. First came a little test that they had all supposedly filled out the answers to these questions which were minutia that only someone obsessed with high school would possibly remember. Farm Boss said he knew only one of the answers (name of the hangout next to their high school) and didn't bother filling it out.  There was a prize for the person getting the most answers right but that didn't end up being many of them.

Then came a set of questions for prizes that were oriented toward who these people were today. As each one would come up, I'd think, nah, the organizers wouldn't really ask that and then they would. It did tweak my sense of humor-- to be able to laugh inside while maintaining a public decorum that was appropriate and didn't ridicule what other people needed to feel good about themselves where it hurts no one else.

Here's an example: Who still looks the most like they did in high school? Now is that a slam or a compliment? The question about who had most grandchildren seems innocuous unless you think how some cannot have children. Still by this age, they are probably used to those questions and let that roll off their backs. The answer was by the way 22. Seriously-- who has 22 grandchildren these days and how did they manage it? In addition that person already had two greats...

No surprise probably then that there was a question about who looked youngest. When five names had been called out (don't ask me how they were selected as it wasn't really looking youngest so far as I could tell-- but might be how cheerleaders used to be selected), as they stood there rather than stooping to an even lower level by voting for the very youngest, they let all five have a prize. (Yes, I think everybody does wonder at such an event about aging and how it shows up, but to bring it into the spotlight that just seemed wrong to me.)

Answering who still had the most hair probably only related to the men and it might have been won by the man who also had the youngest child (another question and bet nobody expected the answer to be nine years old-- not hard to see how that one happened).

And yeah, I gotta say, those questions were the total expectation I had had for people who wanted to travel back in time to the values they had had in high school.  At least they didn't ask who looked oldest. Saner minds might have prevailed.

It's easy to make fun of that kind of planned entertainment except the persons organizing something like this cannot find it easy, and they probably were trying to make it fun for everybody. Putting it together does deserve praise as if it depended on someone like me (who could plan a big event and has but would not choose to for a high school reunion) nothing would happen. 

Some to whom I chatted, when I asked, told me they had been to every reunion ever offered and by some I mean there were a sprinkling of partners like me who had come to offer support or maybe defend their ground, whoever knows why anybody comes to something like that. A fair number of graduates had come alone but that might relate more to the distance from which they had traveled like Switzerland and the cost of airfare.

I felt I would like three things about doing it and each was fulfilled. One-- sometimes you just need to go outside your comfort zone and a big gathering of people, who are coming together based on who they were as youths, has to be one of those for me. Two-- I felt that I would enjoy photographing it. Three-- I was interested in what a large gathering (over 70 returning alumni) of people mostly the age of 68 would look. Now that's the part that is most interesting to me on several levels, and after I got started thinking about it, I decided it deserved its own blog.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Education in the United States

When I first began hearing right wing bloggers talking about ending public education, I wondered what that was all about. All of them benefited from such education and I might add cheaper tuition for higher ed than we have today. So why might they think this way? Oh I knew about the desire for vouchers where they'd take the tax money I pay on property and give it to somebody who only wanted their child educated in a right wing religious school. That's been around a long while. But really seeing an end to public education, who would want that? Now I not only have a clue but also the who and why of it.

I said I'd keep politics out of this blog, and I have but this is cultural. Our nation, as a democracy is based on the people being educated well enough to understand history, logic, and even reading. Without that, how does it work? I suggest the desire from people like the Kochs is that only a few will vote and they are doing their best to insure that happens!

For anybody who does value public education, the one they got, the one they hope future generations will get, pay attention to what is happening. Ending a vital educational system for the majority of Americans is the desire of some. Sure I know there are good private schools, which are not religious, but the average citizen cannot afford the cost. If people, who can, end up only caring about their private school, thinking-- great, my kid is taken care of-- the end result will be a very uneducated populace for their child to grow up having to work and live near because nobody can stay in a ritzy community or behind a gate forever.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The question driven life

My writing here has been thin, very thin because my mind isn't working this way, but my reading is all over the map. I particularly liked this article by Richard Brooks in the New York Times on a man and the family that grew him. Genetics or environment to create this kind of person?

It's how I like the idea of living and do to the very best of my ability. I do not have all the answers and am not driven to prove I do.  The ones I have today might turn out to not be ones for tomorrow. I like that idea which probably says something about the woman that I am.

At this point in my life, I live fully, sometimes joyfully and sometimes sorrowfully, with those answers I do have. To wait for the forever answer would for me mean not fully living.

All my life I have loved questions, both asking and being asked them, and hope my own life never runs out of them. It is not that I don't want the definitive answer to say life; but it's that I have seen in my almost 68 years, that what it seemed to be this year may not be what it seems to be next year. Viva Life!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Open doors

What I love about summer is open doors and windows.  When my grandchildren were here last week, one of them said that our living room is almost all windows and pretty much that is what it is although we gave ourselves back one wall when we replaced one big window with a smaller one and a partial wall. We did that to have some room to put up paintings.

There is nothing I appreciate more about summer than having all my doors and windows open all day and night long. The season doesn't last forever but I make the most of it while it does.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It is hard to write anything right now because a lot of what is on my mind is political or about the books or grandchildren or I don't know what. Maybe a blank space between entries. Summer is kind of winding down, even though it is early August, and maybe that's part of it.

We had two of our granchildren staying at the farm this week with two others visiting often for cousin time which I really love to have happen. One of the things we did was to take two of them up to Portland to experience a big city as they hadn't spent time in one. I'd like to take them back for an over nighter but this wasn't the week with time for that. So we did part of what we had hoped to do with more saved for their future trips.

One thing that is on my mind was what I was thinking while looking through the young adult books. The majority of titles seem oriented toward a fantasy world of mysticism and sometimes animal hero/heroine like say warrior cats. There is nothing wrong with that and after Twilight, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Watership Down and maybe even Winnie the Pooh, it makes sense. It's not like fairy tales were realistic, but in terms of books themselves, I could not help but think how different the stories were from the main ones I remember from when I was growing up.

At Powells Bookstore (a wonderful whole block and three story bookstore full of used and new books) my grandkids found books they each liked which were part of series they had already been reading. I didn't spend time looking at their choices, as they had been pre-approved by their mother (necessary especially in the young adult section where my granddaughter found most of her books); but I did buy two of my own from the children's classic section which were books I had loved by Gene Stratton Porter who was one of those authors who wrote about the importance of nature to our lives. Those books aren't in the primary section that young people want today, and I wonder what difference that will make for the future. I know what a difference these kind of stories made in my life.

Stratton Porter, an Indiana naturalist, photographer, and author, wrote about characters who found depths to their souls through their experiences in nature. Her characters or at least the heroes/heroines, were noble in their thinking, idealistic. She wrote about the relationship between man and his environment and described nature in a way that inspired many people to see it with more depth in their own lives. A lot of books back then taught that kind of thing.

I don't worry about my grandchildren where it comes to this as they are being raised by parents who do revere nature and are taking them camping, canoeing, hiking, and bicycling in wilderness areas, but I wonder how it will impact those who do not for themselves have access to the beauty of nature and how it impacts souls. I am not sure and it is a concern for me for our culture.

In our American psyche used to be a respect and value of the wilderness as a necessary part of life; and it was depicted by writers like John Muir, by nature photographers like Ansel Adams, and in children's books by authors like Stratton Porter. This way of thinking influenced those like Teddy Roosevelt who was instrumental in large tracts of land being set aside for national parks and future generations. I see little of this concern in many Americans who have decided that's not needed and the dollar is what is to be revered or their concept of a god being that doesn't care if forests exist as he can recreate them in the wink of an eye if he so desired.

If young people are growing up with less of this respect for the natural world, where will this leave humans in the future? I don't have an answer and don't right now know for sure that the books out there aren't also teaching this reverence for the natural world. I do intend to do some looking into exactly what they are teaching because I think children's books that teach about nature, about working for what one wants, of fighting for a noble cause, I think those are going to be increasingly important in a world that appears to be becoming more and more challenging to find a good life.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011


When I ordered Rango from Netflix, I had little confidence that I'd like it. It seemed kind of odd, a chameleon as a western hero??? But it had two things that drew me to it. One was two of my grandkids had said they really liked it. The other that it had the voice of Johnny Depp for Rango.

What I didn't know is how much fun it would be as it served on one level as a children's movie (although likely not real young ones as it does have some scary stuff) but on the other level as a spoof on westerns-- in fact on any genre films or books.

After we were a bit into it, given how much writing and analyzing of manuscripts I have been doing, I started laughing as it was lampooning all the things I love as well as the things I am writing. Westerns do have those elements that must be in them. The tops though was the Spirit of the West (based on something that was not Western at all), and the surprise as who voiced it.

For anybody who wants a break from depressing stuff and who has been a fan of western movies (we had just watched Tall T with Randolph Scott as our previous Netflix), this movie is a lot of fun. I plan to buy it eventually as part of our collection of kid flicks. For any fan of westerns, there is a lot of humor in it, some great character voices who pretty well cover what a Western must have to be true to its genre.

Saturday, August 06, 2011


As I've been mentioning, it's hard to write here with a lot going on that I don't write about and with my time at the keyboard concentrating on fixing the things that were wrong with my earlier manuscript wantabes, which sometimes is very little and sometimes requires major revisions. I feel divided in a lot of directions and it won't get easier fast given a busy week ahead.

I did find the dress that will work for my 50th high school reunion as well as something that I think will work for me to wear to Farm Boss'.  I learned something about my taste in clothing which I hadn't thought about before. I like to have me wear my clothes, not my clothes wear me. I don't like showy dresses or tops or anything that makes the dress show up first. I like understated clothes but want them to fit well. Since I have a more than ample chest size, if I don't pick tops and dresses that come in, I look like I am filling out the whole thing. So drape or fit is the ticket. I also hope not to go shopping again for another six months. Oh wait, I will be going next week with my granddaughter as we take her on a shopping binge when she is here for her coming birthday presents.

Nothing more has been going wrong with the farm. The irrigation is in full swing and that's good exercise which will be made easier next week with the two older grandkids here. They like doing it-- for now.

Our August has been quite nice for weather. Warm, gray, almost beach mornings with sunny afternoons, not too hot. We are lucky for the weather. Soon we will be selling lambs and shipping out some cattle but for the next week it will all be grandkid time again.

Oh and politics. I swear I get more frustrated by the day with that but I will save those rants for Rainy Day Things!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Collecting bones

With politics as they are right now, it seems a good time to find distractions. It's not as though most of us can do anything but rant about what is happening-- whichever side we happen to believe is right. It seems to me that nobody is winning although there might be secret winners with goals that escape my understanding. One of my distractions is the beauty of nature.

When we took our grandsons back along the creek to wade and look for crawdads, we found the skull of a young beaver upon which a coyote had dined. The oldest of the two asked for the bones which he'll get when it's been cleaned up by nature. (no photos until then as right now-- grody!) The coyote skull from the one Farm Boss shot will go to our veterinarian son-in-law after it also has been cleaned by natural forces.  We are a family who much values bones especially those found out in the wilds somewhere. The creek kind of qualifies as the wilds these days.

I absolutely love bones and have had four skulls (cattle and mountain sheep) on my walls, most outside. The mountain sheep below was found in Eastern Oregon by my parents many years ago. [Correction: Farm Boss said that they actually found it in Arizona on one of their winters in the area between Yuma and Quartzite]. The cow skulls were up the valley from our home here-- likewise had them a long while.

When we walked back to the creek, we saw the skull of the ram that died last year. Farm Boss had buried the carcass, but it was dug up and this lovely skull left in perfect condition. I didn't really feel I would have taken it otherwise given I felt I knew its owner but then here it was handed to me and I don't ignore a gift of nature.

Otherwise summer is going too rapidly and we've been busy with getting hay in, sheep sheared, time with grandchildren, Farm Boss's outside work, my manuscript editing, and I even got the jury duty over by being on one that took most of a day, but ended my obligation for two years-- unless a different court calls me in :( When I turn 70, it would be sufficient to say I don't want to serve again which I really don't. I am not a person who likes to take responsibility for other people's lives. Oh I speak my mind, say what I think, but don't want to make that final decision. In a jury, you have no choice about that. I understand it's an important thing for our legal system though.

The next month will be busy with more grandchildren time and a 50th high school reunion for Farm Boss. Boy time flies. Really, it was 50 years ago??? Mine will be in September, and I am starting to think about a dress for it. It doesn't have to be fancy, but I don't have a lot of need for dresses, hence do not have anything that would work. I am thinking-- sundress but not sure what will be in the stores that won't be so short I can't visualize wearing it anywhere but around the house!  I looked online and it seemed that every dress I saw (that wasn't over $200) was meant for a twenty something. What's that all about?!

This last skull is not one we found unless you count buying one in Nogales, Sonora as found. I have it in the solarium.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Animal husbandry-- the down side

The end of my week turned exceedingly busy, lasting through the week-end, which means I didn't really have much time to sit down and write this blog. Since I had committed to it, I felt I should try to get it down anyway; but it'll be rapidly written and maybe not make as much sense as I usually hope.

It is also the one that if you are tenderhearted toward animals, I suggest you skip and come back another day. There will be a photo at the end that you will not want to see.

The last month has been one of life and death on the farm which is always tough, but this time in a lot of ways that came so close together that it's hard to ignore the emotional impact nor the fact that it's all connected-- life and death.

Given this whole spring, I can't say it began with losing the ewe to the probability of a toxin she had consumed. I came out and saw that a black ewe was down in the alley leading to their shelter. It was warm enough that I knew it could not be by choice. She had her legs straight out, and when I tried to get her up, I could not get her to stay up. I was able to drag and get her to move with great difficulty but got her out of the direct sun putting her in a small pen.

A few hours later a lamb wanted in with her. That was the toughest part of this whole thing as I let the lamb in and watched as it tried to nuzzle her mother's face, then to nurse. Farm Boss did all he could to save the ewe, tried all his tricks when he came home from work after my phone call. He sheared her to see if that would help which her lamb then went to and nuzzled. That always confuses sheep when it's their mother who suddenly is shorn. Now this lamb can make it without its mother's milk by its age but I cannot tell you how upsetting it is that she had to-- and she did as within the day, the ewe died. For anybody who thinks animals don't love each other, they are wrong.

So we went along with the usual, and then came the next very upsetting animal event. I woke up one morning to go out onto the deck when I let the cats out only to see a small cat seeming relaxed and lying in my flower bed. She meowed and came to me when I called to her. Black, manx and went into the house right away, ate, found a chair to sleep in, got along with our two males.

I will tell you that I have wanted my Persia back as a reincarnated cat, which I don't even know can happen; but twice over the years we have lived here, I have had a cat just show up and act as though she belonged. Both I had until they died of old age. So you can see what I had hoped here...

Except almost immediately we realized this cat had something wrong with her, (no details on what) and we knew we might not be able to save her life. We had been planning to go down to visit our daughter's family for the week-end; and we pushed the timing up to that morning to rush down and have our son-in-law who is a veterinarian help us decide if she could be saved.

I wanted her. I felt maybe she was my cat returned to me. It was not to be and the determination was that we could not save her even if we had been willing (and I was) to put a lot of money into her treatment. What was wrong was too severe, had been ignored by someone too long. She had been mistreated by someone, no medical care, skin and bones, by the time she came to me, there was nothing we could do except agree to have her put to sleep, bring her back here and bury her when our week-end was over.

I have no logical explanation for how this cat came to be in my garden, but the loss of her broke my heart because it wasn't just losing a cat I hadn't had long. It was feeling I had back my little buddy only to lose her immediately. Given her age, the timing was right for her to have been born not long after I had lost Persia... But it was not meant to be and I cried a lot of tears over it.

Do animals reincarnate? Given how some are treated by their owners, having a pet we have loved and knowing we might not get them back and someone else might do that to them, well it could make a person hope they do not.

Final incident was coming home from our recent John Day vacation. I had felt we needed to come straight home because of the sheep and cattle. At the house, I stepped out of the pick-up to get the mail while Farm Boss drove it on down the driveway. As soon as he got to the house, he saw in the field a coyote trying to get into the sheep. He ran in, got his rifle and by that time we saw there were two of them. This is really unusual. He got off a shot but missed and they split for the back getting away.

We hoped we had avoided a loss but found a dead lamb down by the creek where that coyote had gotten into the sheep pasture where they are supposed to be safe but were not.

We knew it wasn't going to be the end of the predations; and when he came home early from work Wednesday, about noon or thereabouts, there was another dead lamb out in another field that was supposed to be safe. This one had barely been wounded, all marks that killed it were by the neck. I give coyotes credit for being quick and merciful hunters.

Farm Boss dragged it where it could be seen from the house. We had the guns loaded and ready to go, then came the moment when I had seen the vultures desert the carcass, and told him an eagle was now on it. When he came in to watch that, he saw a coyote coming from the back, leap the fence, and head toward its kill. He aimed his 30-06 and ended its life within a moment. It died pointed toward its kill and only a few feet between their bodies.

There is no joy in this story. Coyotes are only doing what they must; but there is a need to do it when they start killing lambs as there is no stopping them once that begins. Coyotes are beautiful creatures, serve a necessary ecological function for the land; but if you cannot harden yourself to killing them, it's the end of sheep on your place.

The eagle that came to feast on this disaster is the one in the top photo as it soared overhead. Nothing about this is fun to write or remember but it's part of this life and I felt that the emotional ups and downs were important to now and then write down.

There are times I wonder if I can keep doing this as it is so much about life and death and I get that experience a lot more frequently than someone living in town might expect. It's like an emotional torrent at times and then it'll go months with nothing going wrong. This summer wasn't one of those times.