Tuesday, November 28, 2017


The farrier came out this afternoon (on Sunday!) to trim the hooves of the wild horses. He is such a great guy. He shows up on time and those hooves are trimmed in a flash! My horses do not even have time to misbehave - if you consider misbehaving as fidgeting - trying to put a hoof down for a second after standing for a long time on only three - trying to scrub your big horse head against any nearby human. Or, the best one: falling asleep leaning on any accommodating human. You can imagine that there are few humans who willingly hold up a dozing horse - virtually none. It was a mild day and those two beasts were calm and accommodating and content.

As I hung up the halters and the lead ropes, I realized how much I love everything about horses - even to the point of dusty halters and curry combs rattling around in the car for days before I take the time to put everything away. If only I could still ride! Those days are gone but I can tend to horses and see them every single day. I am so lucky, so grateful for the horses.

Ginger the Supreme Being, and Walai Lama

I also feed and shelter two dogs - Jakey the Bad Dog and Mattie the Maniac. I was on a waiting list for a German Shepherd puppy from an Oklahoma breeder for almost two years. I was confident that the pup would be smart and beautiful and she is. She is smart as a whip, as that old saying goes. The first six months have been a little bit rocky for both of us. She is expressive and talkative and incredibly high energy. She goes from zero to 180 miles per hour in an instant and oh brother! She is fine when we are here at home alone. Company is so exciting for her that she goes off the charts. I think she will eventually be a very well-behaved dog but it requires a serious and sustained commitment from me. She needs a lot more socialization around other people and other dogs. There have been days that I honestly thought I made a huge mistake investing in such an expensive and crazy dog. We are figuring out how to communicate now and she tries so hard. She is almost seven months old and already taller than Jake. It is imperative that she become a well-behaved dog before she turns into the Hound of Baskerville!

Jake the Bad Dog

Mattie, just before these sweet little girls handed her over for the last time.

One of my favorite memories of Mattie will forever be the first moment I saw her. Three little girls, daughters of the breeder, were holding Mattie wrapped in a pink doll blanket. She weighed just a bit over six pounds and I was very disappointed in her appearance. I was expecting a large, fat puppy that weighed 15 pounds or more. Instead she was just a tiny little thing that did not look like a German Shepherd at all. She calmly and consciously looked directly into my eyes when they handed her to me. She was quiet and calm, and rode on the little bed all the way home from Oklahoma. A day later the REAL Mattie showed up - the hysterical barking and frantic behavior! I tried everything that first weekend - even wrapping her in a towel and trying to carry her close to my body in an effort to reassure her. Once that behavior was behind us, she began jumping on me constantly, scratching my arms and legs. I was bloody every single day and night due to her jumping. I was also afraid she was going to cause me to fall. I was seriously considering either returning her to the breeder or finding a new home for her. My neighbor has far more experience with dogs than I do and she helped by keeping Mattie during the day while I was at work. I was so grateful for her help. Mattie continues to be a challenge, but I am determined that she will become a well behaved and happy dog. I am smitten with her beauty and intelligence but think someone who knows a whole lot more about dogs would have been a better match. However, Ginger was not the calmest, most easy horse to be around when I got her, and now the farrier can trim her hooves in a few minutes. So we will get through this puppy/rookie stage and be alright - eventually.

Sometimes I take my home for granted. Sometimes I fall into the habit of only worrying about all the work I can no longer do myself - trimming back brush and tree limbs from the fences, continually picking up branches of all sizes that fall from the veritable forest around here, landscaping around the house or cleaning the gutters. It begins to feel like a burden to live here. Invariably the Kansas winds come calling, rising and falling like the waves on the shore, striking some certain chords in my spirit that call up something I cannot even name - a longing for something almost remembered, something wonderful and clear. Perhaps it is simply the memories of all those days growing up around my grandparents - all those long golden hours spent outdoors, in the moment of childhood, before the suffering of life began in earnest. The winds conjure something immediate and golden in my spirit and I close my eyes in deepest appreciation for the mighty blessings of living a life on this earth, for the lives of my children, for the people I love, and the life I have managed to build for myself here in the bend of the nameless little prairie creek. I am grateful for the memories that come borne on the wind. I am grateful for the tiny little slice of silence where I found a place to build a home. It is not a burden to live here.

Sunset from the front porch.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Bookends to Almost Every Day in Kansas...

Sunrise from Vera Road

Driving into the sunset on I 70

Sunset from my front door

Cottonwood at dawn - Vera Road

Cannot recall where I was when this was taken.  Looks to be maybe the same morning of the cottonwood sunrise.

Heading in to work.  For some reason, the sun rising into such a vast empty sky across miles of land caused a tremendous melancholy in me.  Where do those strange feelings originate?  It is a mystery.

The End of the Trail Cedar

The shape of this old cedar tree, much the worse for wear, reminds me of the "End of the Trail".  I do not appreciate the original sculpture because Native Americans are still alive - they are still here - and they have not given up!  
The sort of strange trend of Kansas landowners decorating their property with metal silhouette art.  It is only a bare resemblance, now that I can compare them side by side.