Caught in midstride, Lucas and Elsa enjoy the snow we had last week and all the delicious scents it seemed to quadruple.  Please ignore the tons of cockleburs, burdock, houndstongue, and mystery stickers imbedded in little Elsa’s tail.  I’m working on it with the Furminator, a little at a time!  And yes, I also know Elsa is overweight.  So am I.  She either shoves Dally off of her food if I cut her back, or ventures out and catches rabbits or pheasants or mice or voles.  Our exercise routines are still dampened from my illness… walks and bike rides and raking leaves seem too much to handle still.  I do drive out to the mailbox and let them run, so they get some exercise!  And last night, they were up for half of the night howling back at the coyotes before I demanded them to shutup and get inside!  The coyotes seemed to be only a stone’s throw away, probably across the creek, taunting my guardians unceasingly.  I’m SURE I heard the songdogs a few times while trying to sleep. I’m just willing to believe that and ignore the fact that neighbors on both sides have seen mountain lions this past week.  I know they are out there… I just tell myself differently.  But tonight I’m locking the girls in the kennel and the boys inside!  Yes, I agree that’s not fair, but Elsa and Dally will wake me up about 2 am and the boys will comfortably stay inside all night.  And I vote for drifting off to sleep listening to a songdog serenade me while my dogs sleep quietly in kennel and house.

Ah, the Romantic Life…

I’ve heard it many times.  Heck, I used to believe it myself.  How AWESOME your life must be… you live on a *RANCH*!  Well, it is true MOST of the time… It is the small percentage of times when you are doing things like today, that most people wouldn’t enjoy.  This is not Bonanza! (though I have lusted many times over that house the Cartwrights lived in!)  Today we preg tested the cows we lease from our neighbors…along with their small bunch… about 90 head or so.  It was chilly at first, so I slipped my winter hat over my cap.  The rain began.  It quickly changed to snow.  I put my coveralls on.  And my scarf.  And my gloves.  I should have changed into my Muck Boots.  Three hours later I’m tired… with barely any energy output the 6000′ altitude is slowing me and my yucky lungs down.  Snow has caked on my silk scarf and it is beginning to drip down my neck.  My Arctic Carhartt coat keeps me warm, but I swear it weighs 30 pounds and my back and shoulders are tired.  Usually I’d still be in good humor, the work load wasn’t bad, and I enjoy our vet’s banter… but enough was enough this day.  Thank goodness we were about done!  I help put out lunch, our neighbor has taken pity on me and my condition and cooked the whole meal.  I promise I’ll do it all next year!  The best place to eat is a horse trailer.  So there we are, 8 snow encrusted cowboys standing in a horse trailer parked in the lee of an old cabin, eating the best pot roast and vegetables around!  We sip hot chocolate and snag another cookie.  We discuss the world and laugh at ourselves and shake our heads.  A little bit more cowboying and we’re done.  That’s when I finally drug my camera out to take this photo of Vernon.  Gee.  I just don’t remember them showing Little Joe out working in this kind of stuff.  In fact, did Little Joe ever work???  I remember him in the house and barn and in town.  I never saw Little Joe in Carhartts.  I just realized…Bonanza mislead the American public!  My vulnerable mind was shaped by Ben, Adam, Hoss, Joe, and even Candy… but I don’t remember Carhartts on the set.  OK, so it is a minor point that in the 1800’s Carhartts weren’t even invented, but no one told me anything like this happened on ranches.  I figured if you were cold and it was nasty outside… you could stay inside.  Ha.  Dang, was I like TOTALLY stupid??  Yes.  I was.  I’m not now!


Rin Tin Tinnish

I guess it shows my generation (or my long love of dogs) that I know who Rin Tin Tin was.  Although he did many things in the movies… it is always that POSE, you know the one I mean, that brings him to mind.  When my dogs do it, it is easy to classify it.  It isn’t the crocodile pose Lucas does in any water.  It isn’t the Lion King pose Lucas can do effortlessly.  It isn’t that Hunter look that Elsa gets whenever she ambles far enough away from my leg to get a scent… It is this…


Dontchya just love it?  OK, the ears aren’t there.  But there is a presence.  “Here I am…look at me.”  Dally doesn’t project it like Lucas does, but she’s getting there.  “Here I am.  What are you doing?  Where are we going?  Let’s go, let’s do, let’s enjoy!!!”
Or do you like this one better??


The dogs are bummed lately at my inactivity… Lucas longingly watched as Vernon went to saddle up this morning and I didn’t go.  We work cows tomorrow, and I declined activity today, hoping for more energy for tomorrow.  I think I’ll drive the four-wheeler to the mailbox, that’ll give them a 2 mile run.  Perhaps along the way, one of them will strike a Rin Tin Tin pose.  At least the English Shepherd version of it… I love it when they do that…so I’ll leave you with one last pose.


She’s getting it… isn’t she????



My new bike meets an early winter storm… This last week has been difficult in many ways.  I watched this storm blow in from the “comfort” of my hospital bed.  Being sick is no different for anyone I suppose, we reject the imposition.  We have things to do! for heaven’s sake.  But that time has passed… the snow storm has blown over and fall has returned with milder weather and falling leaves.  My storm has passed as well, though I still am watching the aftereffects.  I can breathe easier, literally and figuratively.  I have an appetite again, though eating less was probably good for me!  My blood is thinner… thanks to drugs.  Ever given yourself a shot in the belly twice a day?  I didn’t enjoy it.  The first time was the hardest, the others I just positioned the needle and then looked away.  I have rather impressive bruises around my belly button because after all the stuff thins your blood, so of course you bruise at the injection site.  After giving thousands of shots over the years to cattle, it still makes you think twice when it is your fat little belly you are poking with that needle!!  Coumadin, aka rat poison, is now my only drug… 4 pills at 5 pm.  Remember that… remember that.  My brain seems to focus again.  I even got creative with my jack-o-lantern Friday.  Before that I was hard pressed to finish a magazine article or sudoku (thanks, Mary Jo and Kirk, I’ll probably never finish that book full of Sudoku though!)  I’m not as paranoid as I was with every little ache or pain, but I’m also moving more, so I don’t get sore.  The Ten Sleep ambulance crew was great, bringing Vernon and I supper enough for 6 people… I received 5 gorgeous bouquets… and my Mom sent me a card that made me cry. I had a couple of good friends that let me cry on their shoulders, just cause I needed to.  Emails and phone calls made me thankful for caring friends.
So, the storm is gone.  It left behind frozen leaves and broken branches and a good inch of moisture that is always welcome in Wyoming.  My storm has left, leaving me more alert to signs of blood clots.  Leaving me very grateful that I was spared from death for whatever reason.  Leaving me satisfied with my position in life, that though my choice would not be to go now, at least I believe my family would handle it.  Leaving me happy to complain about politics and finances and other less annoying details of everyday life.  I am making progress and thank everyone who helped me in whatever way.  To steal a good friend’s motto AGAIN… LIFE IS GREAT!


An addendum

OK, remember my pityparty???  No cake, no balloons…???  Well, I’ll tell you this much.  Saturday I went on a bad ambulance call. I’m not really used to those, and I’ll leave it at that.  Sunday I had chest pain.  Monday I had light headedness (no, not because I am blonde).  Tuesday I could NOT breathe.  Wednesday I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with multiple PEs.  That’s Pulmonary Embolisms… lots of ’em.  Blood clots, folks.  I was feeling crappy because I was doing crappy… And here I am on Friday, thankful to be here… Two days of tests and shots and pills and hospital sleep cycles *meaning little sleep* and I am doing so much better than that family on Saturday or another family early this morning… and to steal one of my best friends’ mantras **** LIFE IS GREAT!****