Wednesday, September 30, 2009

House to Home

Please excuse the long absence once again.. We have been in the process of house-hunting, finding "The One", losing it, and then miraculously stumbling across an even better "ONE"! Yay, finally!!!!!

We found a lovely, large home to rent for the next year. (The thing is - I'm already loving this place big time and looking for a much longer, if not permanent stay!) It has a big fenced yard that is perfect for the dogs and the gardening. We had a great surprise this morning when we were informed by the farm foreman (our house is a lot on a 90 acre farm) that we actually have access to the 10 acres surrounding the house - it's included with our rent!!!!!!! I was so excited. He said we could do whatever we'd like - run cattle, bring our horses, FARM it! He will even bring over his big tractor and disc it up if we need him to.. I was excited about the house and the big yard - what a bonus!!!! (Sorry about all of the exclamations - did I mention I'm excited?)

We've been packing boxes and moving them to the new house. Then, it is unpacking things so I have empty boxes to do it all over again the next day! This has been ongoing since the 11th! I'm sure "normal" people don't have this much stuff (as in crap) to move from one place to another. (Thank goodness we're only about 5 miles from our old place.) It makes it harder that we're packing and moving Mom's house in at the same time as ours, plus two very large storage rooms/barns. We are going to have the yard sale of the century folks!

Mom's health hasn't been improving as we'd hoped. The doctor has decided to move her to a more aggressive treatment/clinical trial that she is very optimistic about. Mom and I are reading everything we can on this protocol and it seems to be a good option for her situation. She has beat this monster twice and we're working on the third win for her.

In the meantime, we are turning this new house into HOME for all of us. We have all the critters except for Mom's dogs settled. Her dogs Muttley and Xena will be home here with us in the next few days. Michael is building a temporary dividing fence so that those two and our two beasties can get used to each other before sharing both the front and back yards. We don't want any of them to get hurt while they become acquainted!

The Mooncat kitties are loving the new house. It has a lovely, long hallway that is perfect for 2am hockey games using whatever trinket makes LOTS of thundering noise. Poor Mom had to get used to living with cats again after many years of peace & quiet. Michael & I tend to sleep right through their shenanigans. They make up to Mom during the day though as they spend a lot of time loving on her and following her around the house.

My little herbie babies are suffering a little from the move and the lack of attention they've been getting. I've lost several plants this last week. I'm hoping to get the time this weekend to get them sorted out and actually find some of them a new home - my poor aunt is gonna love that! She will be the receipient of many little plantlings, whether she's ready or not..

I am really bummed about leaving the lovely garden that Michael slaved over this summer, but we'll soon be mapping out an even better, bigger one. (He's already dreaming of a new garden tractor, he's thinking that ACREAGE equals good excuse... I just might have to indulge him on that one..)

So, amidst all of the boxes and chaos, we're all adjusting quite well to our new HOME!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Loooong Weekend

I hope everyone had a fun and safe weekend. Ours was eventful and rather tiring, but good.

I posted last about our plans to go to the team penning in Templeton on Saturday. After getting up about 4, we were hooking up the trailer at the ranch only to find that we had no trailer lights - not a good sign and we should have taken the hint! They had worked fine the last time we pulled it a few weeks ago, but not this morning. As usual in our little podunk town, nothing was open and wouldn't be til probably about 9am. Needless to say, our early departure with plenty of cushion built in was delayed until about 6:30 when it was light enough to try to get down the road to the truck stop so we could find our parts.

No parts at the truck stop, so on we went, full daylight by now. It wasn't quite as nerve-wracking, but I was still driving very cautiously. Besides Dad, Michael, and I, we had Cinderfella and Dad's dog Adolph along for the ride.

About 8:30 Dad receives a return call on the cell from one of his partners. Dad had called her earlier to leave a message that we were going to be cutting it close getting there on time. Well...get ready for this....the team penning was on Sunday - NOT TODAY!!!

I just pulled the rig over and started laughing. I think Dad was afraid I'd lost my mind. Michael was oblivious as he'd been watching a DVD in the back seat with headphones on. Dad finally busted up and started laughing too. Their other partner had given us the wrong date (originally he had told us the date was the previous weekend so we should have double-checked his info to start!).

We turned around (about an hour away from our target) and found an open parts store near home. We fixed the lights and then went to a Black Bear Diner and had a huge breakfast or actually brunch by this time. Adolph always enjoys trips to Black Bear as he gets lots of left-overs from their giant meals.

We did go ahead and try again on Sunday. The trip over was fine with no hang-ups. Dad did very well with his first run and ended up winning the first go-round. The weather was beautiful and we had a great day. Michael got to see his first team penning and is now wanting to give it a try. We'll have to work on that since his horse Whiskey isn't too keen on the big scary cows!

(BTW, Michael got to do part of the driving on the way home. He is getting more experience pulling the horse trailer and did a great job. Since I'm almost ALWAYS the driver, it was a nice break for me. I finally got a chance to read my favorite magazine The Essential Herbal from cover to cover.)

We spent most of Monday recovering from all of the running around over the weekend. The great finish to the holiday was a lovely dinner with my Ant Darla (not a spelling error, I've called her that since I passed her up in height at about age twelve. I'm only 5'6" so she really is a shortie). She was down for a visit from Idaho so I'm thrilled we got to spend some time with her. We have always been very close & we are hoping to get a chance to go up to see her and my Uncle Jim this fall.

We do love our road trips!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Team Penning in Templeton

Bill Dees & Cinderfella "Before the Buzzer"

I'm spending my Saturday with my husband, my Dad, my horse, and a whole bunch of these little boogers!

We're going to a cattle (or team) penning competition. I've been competing in these events since I was about 12 yrs old - when they first started them up here in Central Cali. I haven't gone in AGES, so when Dad asked if Michael & I would like to go with him for the day I jumped at it.

Should be lots of fun, except for the getting up at 4am part - that sorta sucks. And the fact that I will end up being the driver for the entire trip up and back. That's what Dad always tells me "he" had me for - to be his chauffeur.

I learned to drive the truck on the ranch at about 9 yrs old and began pulling the big gooseneck stock/horse trailers at about 12. I'm an old pro, but the hubby is still pretty new to the whole ranch life. Dad and I are in the process of teaching Michael how to pull horse trailers, but I'm a control freak and nervous about letting a "newbie" pull my horses especially since we'll be in hill country with gusty winds. Dad's a little braver than I am on that front, although I DO try not to hurt Michael's manly feelings too often by making him let me drive.

Team penning is a timed event that consists of a team of 3 riders, 30 cattle numbered 0-9, and a pen. Your goal is to put your 3 cattle into a pen at the opposite end of the arena in the fastest time. Sounds easy enough right? You have to take into account that cattle can be wild beasties and create a lot of havoc in a short amount of time. You have to keep all of the "unwanted" or "not your number" cattle at their end of the arena, opposite the end where the pen is. If one of these strays crosses the scoring line, you're disqualified. When you're running full steam around an arena trying to sort out the correct animals while not running into one of your team members, it can get pretty exciting and hairy.

But, it's lots of fun to participate in and also to watch. There is a lot of whooping and hollering as well as laughing. Most of the horses love it, especially ones like ours that are bred to be cow horses. Some, like Michael's horse Whiskey, are afraid of or ambivalent towards the cattle and might run the other direction. It happens, but Michael loves Whiskey & Whiskey loves Michael, so that's all that matters!

These photos are all of Dad and Cinderfella aka Fella or Yella Fella (yes, I have numerous names for the big critters too.) I will post some photos of my & Michael's horses as well as our beautiful Paint stallion - Sunday Sailor at a later date. I've got to get to bed EARLY tonight - it's a long drive in the am!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday Tomes - Mrs. Reppert's Twelve Month Herbal

Hello, my name is Julie and I am an herbal book addict...

I have been meaning to start reviewing & sharing some of my bookcase must-haves for quite some time now. While in the midst of packing up my way too extensive/obsessive library for the impending doom - I mean move, I just decided to do it and sit down with a cup of tea and tell you all about one of my absolute favorites. (forgive the poor photos - it's waaaay early & I don't know where the good camera is)

Mrs. Reppert's Twelve Month Herbal by Bertha Reppert

I lalalala love this book! It is such a refreshing change to the standard "this is an herb, this is what it looks like, and this is what it is good for". Don't get me wrong, those kind of books are necessary and I have several, but this little gem is an absolutely lovely read. You will feel like you are reading letters and notes that have been written directly to you. Mrs. Reppert's style is such that she draws you into her garden and her everyday life. Lovely quotes and words of wisdom are scattered throughout the pages. Good old-fashioned (and much needed today) common sense emanates from the book. Her daughter Marjorie Reppert and Rose Kocher provide charming sketches to illustrate the herbs and ideas that she speaks of.

The format is that of a daily diary. She has provided an essay for each day of the year. Recipes, herbal lore and crafts, and gardening know-how are generously shared with the reader. When I first received my copy, I thought I'd read along day by day. I was too impatient and ended up reading it cover to cover that first weekend. What a treat. Now, I go back and read each day's entry as a part of my daily routine (see today's page below). I have found myself making notes on the pages where I usually hate writing in my books. This book, however, seems to encourage and welcome me to add my own thoughts & observations alongside Bertha's.

September 1st entry

A bit about the author from The Rosemary House site:

Bertha Reppert (1919-1999) was the founder of The Rosemary House . She was a Renaissance woman ahead of her time when she opened a herb and spice shop in a conservative East coast town in 1968. Convinced that once everyone learned about herbs they would love these plants as much as she did, she became an avid educator about the secrets of herbs. Lecturing, writing and always promoting herbs, Bertha Reppert became a mentor to many.

Two of her daughters, Susanna and Nancy, continue in their mother's footsteps and share all that is herbal with the world at both The Rosemary House and at Sweet Remembrances Tea Room.

Click here to purchase your own copy of this fantastic book: Mrs. Reppert's Twelve Month Herbal. I am planning on ordering a couple copies to give as gifts and as part of an herb & tea basket I'm making up for Christmas this year.