Sunday, September 18, 2016

Trained Beyond Use

I had a hard time figuring out what to entitle this piece. I thought about "Adjust to Fit the Situation" because what I'm feeling right now seems like a horse training philosophy promoted by Tom Dorrance, the famous natural horsemanship trainer.


But "Trained Beyond Use" won out because it, too, is a horsemanship phrase and it feels more apropos. You see Marty and I are studying to become real estate agents. Our state test is scheduled at the end of this month and we are studying with an unrivalled ferocity. We have to make this work. And we will. Living on social security doesn't cut it. So we're adjusting to fit the situation. (Thanks Tom) We'd love to be able to make a living from our homestead but that isn't in the cards. Anyway, not any time soon. Even the redoubtable Corina and Steve of Marblemount Homestead, who I love to follow and learn from, have Steve going off for part of the year working for wages to plant trees for reforestation.
Alas and alack, we're too old for that. So what can we do?

To keep it within budget we signed up for self study through an online class. We passed the first hurdle and received our certificate of completion which entitled us to sign up for the state test. Now we're preparing ourselves with a few hours study every day. We're going through chapters in the last book which is the exam prep book and then we take the quiz at the end of the each chapter.

I saw this house recently. Look at all the amazing architectural details.
The quiz questions are badly worded and the answers sometimes incorrect! The questions are about things that I am 100% positive we will never use as agents. Subject matters such as Legal Descriptions, Methods of Acquiring Title, and Deeds,  or Encumbrances, Liens, and Homesteads sounds benign enough. (Is your head popping just reading that? Mine is!) But then you get to the chapter on Taxation and you start to really wonder. That's when I feel like what John  Lyons said during one horse training seminar. He stood up in the arena in his usual way and asked the crowd if they knew what the term "dressage" meant in French (it was originally a French system for the refined training of horses). A few people volunteered an answer and then he said you're close but it actually means " trained beyond use".
Everyone laughed.
Now I doubt that is the real definition in French. It sounds pretty sassy and John Lyons was a funny guy prone to injecting humor into his seminars. But it fits. I feel trained beyond use.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

It's a Wonderful Life


I was recently reflecting on how much my life has changed since I moved out of the city and into the life in The Big Valley. First the northern part of The Big Valley and now the middle part of The Big Valley. If only it were more like what Barbara Stanwyck's and Linda Evans' life was like on the TV show set. Being a rancher is a very interesting existence. It's nothing like City Life. Maybe even 100% different in every way. Here's a list I have compiled in the 5 years I have been away from City Life that I have to gratefully and sometimes not-so-gratefully contend with.


Thinking I washed all the chicken feathers/horse hair/etc. off and then getting in bed at night and finding more.

Finding alfalfa in the washer and dryer, my bra and hair, shoes and pockets.

Painting my nails not because it's pretty but because I can't seem to get all the dirt out from underneath.

Sweeping the dust off the floor and then having to go back and do it again because it's never ending and then saying heck with it and not sweeping the floor and letting it accumulate until I'm disgusted.

Having a "Farmer Tan" (i. e. electric white forehead, upper arms, legs and torso; George Hamilton color on face and forearms and hands)

Going to the auction to pick up what we bought and calling it a vacation.

Having to stop whatever I'm are doing to chase (horses, chickens, dogs, guineas, etc.) that got out on the road (usually in the dark in the rain). Thanking God I live in the middle of nowhere so there's no traffic and no one gets hit by a car/truck/pick up.

Not knowing what holiday it is because I basically work 24/7 360 days a year.

Buying boots and gloves is a bigger decision than buying a car.

All my clothes have stains on them except a couple nice outfits that are back in the closet that I never wear.

My (horses, cows, chickens, etc) live better than I do. (they're essentially on welfare.)

I really look forward to when it rains because I can stay inside.

A romantic adventure is riding out with Marty to move cows from one pasture to the other.

Shopping for clothes in the men's section of Tractor Supply because they're sturdier and fit better.

Realizing that being a "morning" person looks good on the resume because the work day prevents me from sleeping in. (Always.)

Getting my boot stuck in the mud and my foot pulls out of it and there I am having to figure out how to get the stuck boot out while balancing on one leg. In the middle of cow/horse/pig/etc. shit.

Thinking the smell of horse manure is pretty good! (but not extending that to pig manure or dairy cow pee. That I've just gotten used to.)

Having animal tails smack me in the face while I'm working on them.

My haute couture is dirty jeans, a grungy baseball cap and a snap button cowboy shirt.

Having peanut butter sandwiches for dinner because I'm too tired to fix anything and I forgot to set the crock pot to cooking in the morning.

Thinking the cooing of chickens is better than music.

Having to explain to my city friends what those Burdizzo pinchers are that are on the kitchen counter. And what they are used for.