Saturday, May 24, 2014


We’re in the zone between spring and summer. We’ve had really hot days in the 90’s but most days are in the mid to low-80’s. It’s perfectly delightful. This is the season of firsts. The first sunflower blooms. The first thunderstorm hits. These are among my favorite experiences of the ranch. We made our first visit to the reservoir and I wore my cargo shorts for the first time the other day. We also had our first evening horseback ride because now there’s daylight enough after an early dinner.

Of course, this season means more work and work earlier in the day, shading up and then working in the evening. Luckily our big group of visitors came now and not later in the season. We had to get the place spic and span and the beautiful weather made it a pleasure. The horses had to be ridden so they remembered their jobs. The fence had to be replaced so guests leaning against it wouldn’t collapse into an unpleasant experience of being impaled by the agave. Gates were painted. Weeds were wacked. Mulch was spread. Engines repaired and made to work again.

Now we can rest on our laurels a bit. I love that phrase. I can only imagine the Romans relaxing on big mounds of laurel leaves. You know, resting. If we’re talking about bay laurel leaves it had to be fragrant but not as soft as resting on eiderdown. Anyway, you rest on what you have.
For the remaining days of clement weather we have we’ll be gardening and riding and just puttering where we need to or want to. Then the hot days will set in and it’s just going to Whiskeytown Lake or Black Butte or where ever we can find to stay cool. It’s summer at the ranch.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Demolition Derby!

Here’s a pastime for you. This is tailor-made for all of you who ever wanted to legitimately mow down a sob that cut you off on the freeway or rode your arse too close for comfort at 80 mph in bumper to bumper traffic. It’s Demolition Derby and it’s an event that’s popular at County Fairs all over the nation. We connected up with this one at the Glenn County Fair a few days ago. Marty said that looks like fun so I said I’ll buy you a car when I win the lottery. I say that a lot these days. When I win the lottery. Seems like the most likely thing that will help us get all our hairball bucket list items.

Let's follow #68b

Lookin' Good Like a Demo Derby Car Should
Still Clean - Mostly

Startin' To Look a Little Worse for Wear

Don't Try This With Your Japanese Fuel-Efficient Compact
Didn't I See This On the Freeway the Other Day?
I Think It's Time To Call It a Day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Cafe Marty

My Significant Other has strange eating habits. Let’s call him Fang. Wait. I think someone else already used that name so I'll call him Marty. Anyway, I’m not sure how he’s lived so long. The way he eats defies conventional medical wisdom and if he ever went to a doctor I’m sure he’d be read the Riot Act. For your edification here it is. The real Riot Act of Great Britain of 1714.

If say persons to the number of 12 or more unlawfully, riotously, and tumultuously assemble together to the disturbance of the public peace and being required by any Justice by proclamation in the King’s name in the exact form of the Riot Act, I, George I, to disperse themselves and peaceably depart, shall to the number of 12 or more unlawfully, riotously and tumultuously remain or continue together for an hour after such proclamation shall be guilty of a felony.

(The following must be said out loud)
Our Sovereign Lord the King chargeth and commandeth all persons, being assembled, immediately to disperse themselves, and peaceably to depart to their habitations, or to their lawful business, upon the pains contained in the act made in the first year of King George, for preventing tumults and riotous assemblies. God Save the King!

So you can see that we've taken some license in the way we now use the phrase. We've stretched it out to go a lot farther but that's OK. That's how language is. It's very flexible and that's the way it should be. However, I find that it's sometimes hard to keep up but then that's me. 

Let's get back to the subject. In Marty’s case the doctor’d be telling him to quit what he’s doing, go home immediately and start being a good boy. But he won’t go to the doctor and even if read the Act he’d still say “I eat what I like.” Kind of defiant but we're not in 18th century England so he feels safe.

At lunch today we discussed what he would serve if he had a café:

Café Marty Menu

Iceberg Lettuce Salad - a lot of thousand Island Dressing, a lot of Baco Bits, a lot of Cheese & Garlic Croutons, a few tomatoes, a few raisins.
Main Course
Cheeseburger - plain, dry, nothing on it. Just Cheddar cheese.
Twice Baked Pepperoni Pizza – bake it once and then bake it again until it’s slightly burned
Market Steak (any steak except filet) - very well done (meat should be crispy)
Bacon, burned (see above)
Chicken Fried Steak (again, see above)
White French Bread (bread should be soft) with butter or margarine
Mashed Potatoes
French Fries
Cinnamon rolls

This café will be very popular with children at and above the age where they can sit up by themselves. Children through puberty and maybe a bit beyond. I have this on good faith because we once went to a restaurant and when he ordered the burger the waitress shrieked “Are you my son?” Well, she didn’t shriek but she almost did.
Unfortunately his café probably won’t do very well and not because the menu is so odd. It won’t do well because children of this age usually don’t have money. It’s a sad fact. And they won’t be able to coerce their parents to go. I can think of one way it might work but it’s a stretch. It would rely on parents who don’t feel the need to supervise their children. One half of the café would cater to the children and the other half to the parents. There would be Marty’s menu and a parent’s menu. There would be an eye level barrier between the two halves so both groups of patrons won’t be grossed out by what the other group is consuming. This way everybody can be happy. We'll have Marty keep an eye on the children’s side. We wouldn’t want to subject him to disgusting things like spinach salad and other types of poisonous vegetables. He’ll be in hog heaven and if he’s happy I’m happy.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Work That is Real

To Be of Use

By Marge Piercy

The people I love the best
jump into work head first
without dallying in the shallows
and swim off with sure strokes almost out of sight.
They seem to become natives of that element,
the black sleek heads of seals
bouncing like half submerged balls.

I love people who harness themselves, an ox to a heavy cart,
who pull like water buffalo, with massive patience,
who strain in the mud and the muck to move things forward,
who do what has to be done, again and again.

I want to be with people who submerge
in the task, who go into the fields to harvest
and work in a row and pass the bags along,
who stand in the line and haul in their places,
who are not parlor generals and field deserters
but move in a common rhythm
when the food must come in or the fire be put out.

The work of the world is common as mud.
Botched, it smears the hands, crumbles to dust.
But the thing worth doing well done
has a shape that satisfies, clean and evident.
Greek amphoras for wine or oil,
Hopi vases that held corn, are put in museums
but you know they were made to be used.
The pitcher cries for water to carry
and a person for work that is real.

From Circles on the Water (1982), by Alfred A. Knopf