Friday, January 23, 2015

The Valley is Asleep

January 16, 2015

Sleeping Valley
     As we walked along this late afternoon in the middle of January, Elizabeth and I tried to make sure that the dogs stayed close by.  Not that we had to work very hard at it, but every now and then, Elizabeth would call out their names to make sure that they wouldn’t stray too far away.  

     (Ms.) Belle and (Mr.) Poseidon are Great Pyrenees dogs (and more here) and they are about 7 or 8 months old.  We bought them from our friends, Cody and Dawnell, at the Rockin H Ranch, in Missouri.  The dogs main job in life is for them to protect our livestock.  At this point, they mainly protect our family, and slowly, they are understanding that they are to protect our livestock as well.

     In the evenings, they sleep on our porch, and every now and then in the dark of the night, they start barking to let the "intruder" know not to mess with us here.  Sometimes they just stand on the porch and bark, and other times we can hear them off in the distance barking away.  So really, already they are doing their jobs. 

     Whenever someone leaves the house either to go to the barn or take a walk, whether it’s our family or a guest who happens to be staying with us, Belle and Poseidon go and tag along with them.  They are a great comfort and companion to us.  

     Misty, who is about 7 or 8 months old also, came to us from our friends, The Rancher and his wife.  Misty's mom is part chihuahua (and here) and part short hair dachshund.  And really, it's not just about Belle and Poseidon, it's the three of them that work, play, and live together.  

     It's funny how the three of them have their own personalities and Misty seems the most confident and the leader of the other two.   
     One evening, about 3 weeks after Misty was born, we went to visit our friends.  And while we were standing around visiting, Ember went over to the puppies nest and brought back a puppy for all of us to see.  

     Ember, who was 7 at the time, was small enough to get into where Rosy and her puppies were living.  If it wasn't for her, it would have been a long time before anyone would have seen them because no one else would have even bothered to look.  

     "Oh, it's so cute and so big!," we all said when she brought the puppy to us.  So we took the puppy from her and passed her around and went on with our conversation.  A few minutes later she came back with another one.  And we took that one from her and continued on.  She left again and came back with another one!

     After the third puppy that came to us, our friends told us that that was probably all there were and so we just continued on talking again.  Well, when Ember came back a few minutes later with another one, we couldn't believe it!  Four puppies!

     Oh, if you could have seen the look on our friend's faces; it was priceless!!   We all just stood there and laughed and laughed and continued on at the same time forgetting about Ember.  And then, all of a sudden, here she was again with another one!!!   Five puppies; all girls!!  How in the world did this little tiny dog have such huge puppies:  one puppy was about half her size?! 

     At this point now, we were all very curious to know if there were anymore, so this time, we sent Ember back to check and make sure.  And sure enough, the nest was empty.  

     Our friends told us that we could have one, or all of the puppies if we wanted, and after I got over the shock of taking home five of them, I agreed to let the girls choose only one.  And little did I know what was about to happen with that comment that I just made.
     Oh, what a fun time we had that evening!!

     Well, unfortunately for the girls, they had to wait for the puppies to be weaned and it seemed like that took forever.  In the meantime, we had plenty of time for family discussion as to whether one of these little “mutts” were going to become a part of the Peterson Family or not.  

     Some of the boys thought that we didn't need to have a "useless thing" on the ranch, especially one that was going to cost money to feed.   And so began the long discussion as we waited for the puppies to be weaned.  

    It's kind of funny now, looking back at what we actually went through for the girls to keep one of these puppies.  It was ridiculous.  

     When Emma finally brought a puppy home, it stayed the night, and the family conversations got a little out of hand, not because the puppy did anything wrong, but because of the kind of dog this was going to be; an ugly, useless, little mutt! 

     So with all the drama, I had Emma take the puppy back the next day.  Then after she took it back, the girls, including myself were very upset, so we all sat down and had a very serious discussion about this puppy. 

     We finally came to the conclusion, or should I say that I had a lot of influence in the final decision, in favor of us keeping the dog.  Some of the boys weren't to happy, but that was ok.  So off Emma went, back to get the puppy.  She brought her back home and that was it.  Settled.  

     Emma named her “Misty.” 

Misty and Chickens

     Misty, even though she is a little thing, is also a protector.  And she is learning to herd chickens along with Belle as Poseidon just lounges around and watches and keeps guard.  It’s actually quiet funny to watch the three of them.  Sure, the dogs have a lot to learn about protecting livestock and herding animals, but they’re off to a great start.

     And now, if you ask any of the guy about Misty and as to whether or not we should have kept her, I know they would all agree that they are happy that she came to be a part of our family. 


Thawing Pond

     Two days ago we had 2 inches of snow and today the temperature was up to about 60 degrees.  The wind was calm, the sky was crystal clear, the snow and the ponds were starting to melt, and the sun was shining so bright that for a little while I forgot that we were still in the middle of winter.  Just a few days ago, the girls were ice skating on the pond and a few of us were out walking around and playing on the frozen ponds.

Ember Ice Skating on our Pond

     When I was very young, I used to walk to the end of our street and then on to a trail that led me to the swamp behind our neighborhood.  It was usually during the spring thaw that I would find myself there because that’s when I had the most fun.  

     With my boots on, I would “skate” across the ice until it broke, and then my boots would fall into the muddy water.  As I continued to walk on the ice, the ice would crack under my feet.  I loved the sound of the cracking ice and the splashing of the water.  I loved the swamp.  I can only remember going a couple of times, because someone decided to put up a housing development where the swamp was and then it was gone.  As a little girl, I couldn’t understand why they had to do that. 

     Today, here on the farm, we experienced almost the same thing.  And all these years later, I loved it just the same.  

     I've always cherished my childhood memories and have stored them away in my heart.  And when those memories are brought back because of something that I'm doing or "just because", it gives me a warm feeling inside.  

     Today, I’m with my daughter who is storing memories away in her heart for a lifetime.  And when the time is right, she will be able to relive those memories also and I hope that it brings the same feelings to her as I have with mine.   

     I’m so thankful for the memories that I have from the past and the memories that are still waiting to be cherished.  

     As we walked along the road, through the creek, over a gate, through a field, past a pond, we came upon the horses and there we stopped.  As we stood in the field, just taking in the sights and sounds, we watched the dogs play.  

     Life at this moment came to a stand still and all the stress of everyday life just ended - at least for a moment.  I still don’t think that any of this “life on a farm,” has really registered with me as of yet.  This is a childhood dream of mine that has finally come true and it still doesn’t seam real.  

Two Bits and Dixie Grazing

Belle and Poseidon enjoying the beautiful spring day!!

     It’s been almost a year since we came to live here on this ranch and we’ve been through soooo much!  We’ve learned so much and have made many mistakes.  We’ve been both encouraged and discouraged; sometimes both at the same time.  It’s amazing how emotions can take a turn so quickly.  But we are survivors and we just keep forging along.  No one ever promised that life was going to be easy.  And I guess if it was, life wouldn’t be so interesting. (smile)

     Not long after my last post back in August, Tanner went ahead and installed the new update on my iPhone.  Once it was complete, we found out that all of my pictures that I had been collecting were gone and that hit me pretty hard.  And I found out later that other people had the same thing happen to them, and I felt bad for them too.   

     And then, our lives became incredibly busy; more traveling, visitors, holidays, the flu, helping plan a wedding from 400 miles away, and so on (all good things, of course).  But, with being sooooo busy, I completely forgot about what was lost.

     When I started this blog I was very enthusiastic and excited to tell our story, but then I was hit with such a huge loss. I know, I know, it was only pictures, and I shouldn’t have let it get me down so much.  But I had so many pictures and stories to tell, and just that fast, everything was gone.  I was completely discouraged.  

     But this is a new year and I’m finally ready to move on and continue our story.

     So while the valley is still sleeping, I, or I should say we, look forward to spring and the new life that it brings.  From the natural world around us, to the part of the animal kingdom that we have become the stewards of.

     My heartfelt prayer is that we will take this tiny part of our world and at least, preserve what is already here or make those improvements that will be of benefit to those who will steward the land after us. 


     I dream...........and I dream..........and I dream.  

     I dream of where this is going to take our family.  By trial and error things will start to happen around here.  I don't think that anyone can succeed if they don't have failures in life to learn from.

     I hope I can write so that whoever is reading this, will feel a part of what we are doing here.  I'm not a writer, but I'll do my best to keep things as real as possible.