The Guardian and Trainie

The Guardian and Trainie
Nick and Babe

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Rainey, Rainey Day

Gee people I had no idea.  Sorry for the big space in writing.  There have been so many new things happening around the ranch.  My favorite puppy was just sold off!!  Boo Hoo,  big crocodile tears.  It was one of the worst days of my life.  I made friends with Babe and she loved me.  I could whistle for her and she would come running from really far away.  I could see her across the field and whistle.  She would look up and come a running.  I loved her.   She would prance up to me and flop her big body down on the ground welcoming my scratches and looking through her fur for stickers or ticks.  She loved the attention.  As I made friends with her she allowed me to put a collar on her and my goal was to get her to trust me enough to put her in the car without any problems.  The owner of these ranch dogs treats them like cattle.  You can't hardly touch them.  They do not trust you.  This makes for a really bad situation.  What if they need veterinary care?  They do need rabies shots and the basic puppy shots.  I took it upon myself to socialize the puppies who are now 16 months old.  Babe who is gone now was coming along.  The day she was to leave the owner asked me to help him catch her so he could take her to her new home I knew I could hold her but I had no idea how things would work out.  I got a hold of Babe's collar and it was suggested that I put a leash around her neck instead of clipping it on to her collar.  First big mistake!  She flipped out, hopping all over the place and the leash just got tighter and tighter around her neck which set her off and I felt terrible.  I let go of the leash and Al started barking at me about why I let her go and now I wouldn't be able to catch her.  Well at this point I really didn't give a holy shit about catching her.  All I could think was how I was totally screwing up the trust I had built up.  Well what did it matter now they were sending her away and I would never see her again anyway.  I caught her again and watched as they loaded her into a cattle cage like a piece of meat.  It killed me.  I was so sorry!  There was nothing I could do to change the situation.  She is gone now and I miss her.  She was such a good dog.  I will never understand the narrow minded mentality of the old school farmer/ranchers.  A dog must be cared for in a humane way.  The only way to attend to an intelligent animal is to socialize them.  When raising a working dog who has been bred to be a working dog they will do their job even if they are social with humans.  This particular rancher thinks that if his dogs are friendly with me or anyone for that matter that they won't do their job or they will allow themselves to be stolen.  This is a bunch of bunk but I haven't yet been able to convince him otherwise.  He does not want me to associate with his dogs.  I live on the ranch he does not.  I see these dogs everyday.  They come up to me and want attention.  I give it to them willingly.  I do not interfere with their job.  They go about their business every night.  The only way I could stop them would be to have them in the house at night.  I would not do that.  What I have observed is that during the day they do not work anyway they are guard dogs not herding dogs.  In the day time it is resting time.  Naturally they come and visit.  What I have observed also is that the only reason they might not visit is because someone has beaten them and they shy away thinking that they might be beaten by me.  The rancher thinks that this is a genetic trait.  How ignorant can a person be.  Pretty ignorant I would say.  It pisses me off just a little bit but hey these are not my dogs and I do not have a say in how they are raised.  However I do live on the ranch and I do see these dogs everyday.  Since Babe is gone Madrigal the other female pup is more friendly than when her sister was here.  Babe used to keep Madrigal apart from me.  Babe liked all of the attention.  Maddy has always been a bit more reserved when it came to people.  Her mom was beaten in the past by a previous owner and quite possibly by this owner.  I have never seen him do this but there have been signs.  Since the mother, Nina, is insecure about trusting people Maddy is also not sure or trusting.  I have always talked to the dogs and never expected them to come to me.  I just wanted them to know that I was no one they needed to be afraid of.  Hence they have come to me for attention.  Nina is not always comfortable enough to approach but she does sometimes.  I am here when she wants.  The big male dog, Nick has some how managed to make it through the abuse he has received over the years and still seeks out human companionship.  He is by far my favorite male and the only male on the property I might add.  He was Babe's companion.  She was his student.  Nick showed Babe that humans can be a great asset.  Humans give affection and they might give you some food now and then.  Maddy was taking notes from her mom and she just doesn't trust too much.  I continue to take baby steps with her.  She used to only bump me from behind and let me touch her without looking.  She got to a point where she would let me touch her face while looking at her but I couldn't touch her with both hands.  I got to the point where I would kneel down so I wouldn't be quite so threatening.  This worked a little and Maddy decided to play with me like she did with her sister.  She would paw me and kind of jump on me and I let her even though she is at least 100lbs.  I wanted her to know that I was not a threat.  After I got her to trust me more I had to stop her from jumping on me because she started to jump on me when I would go for a walk and sometimes I was not aware when she was approaching.  This was a bit hazardous.  I did not want to be knocked down.  She listens to me and she realizes that I still am okay.  She is still skitish enough that I am careful about how I reprimand her.  So she still will paw at me from time to time and I have to watch my back because she just might jump up on me.  She wouldn't mean to hurt me but she is a really big dog.  I created the behavior trying to get her to trust me and she is moving in that direction. 
The fleas and ticks are so bad here and the dogs recently got a bad case of ear mites that I took the matter into my own hands and bought a medicine to put on the dogs to take care of all of the issues.  The owner wasn't doing anything about addressing the issue so I did.  When the medicine came in I told him and he paid me back but I am the one who applies the medication.  As I told you earlier if you do not socialize your dog how are you going to treat them when they need something.  Well I could put medication on Nick and Nina but Maddy was going to be another issue.  She is so leary of any object coming at her.  It was really a challenge to get the medicine in her.  I did but it wasn't easy and it is a challenge each month to do it again.  I hope that things will change in the near future.  I tried to brush her the other day and I got in a couple of strokes but she just isn't ready yet.  Some day I hope.  I actually hope that she will plop herself down on the ground like her sister did. One can always hope right?  I work with the dogs whenever I can.  I am an animal person and nothing will ever change that. 
Speaking of animals we have so many different creatures on the ranch.  The ground squirrles are starting to come out and our bird population is so much more diverse this year.  Right now we have a Canadian Goose sitting on her nest and we hope to have goslings in a couple of weeks.  This goose is the same one that nested here last year and she can back again and is using the same nest.  I think that is so cool.  We watch her every chance we get.  Her mate is so good at keeping everything focused on him.  He stays at the other end of the pond attracting us towards him and away from her.  We also have a pair each of Hooded Mergansers, Common Mergansers, Mallards, Buffel Heads and Wood Ducks.  We hope all of them are nesting here but who knows.  In the nesting box outside my office window we have a starling couple nested up and looking forward to their babies.  I hope to make a few more nesting boxes for our Bluebird population and anyone else who will nest up here. 
The lizards started to come out with the warm weather last week and I am sure we will be seeing more of them.  I was sad the other day because when I was weed whacking out at the front entrance to the property I accidently injured a rather large lizard.  He looked to be reasonably okay and scurried off so I hope he/she healed up and will be fine.  I hate to hurt anything but accidents do happen.  Yesterday I had the pleasure of watching an American Kestrel pair above the lower pond.  They hung out for quite a while.  At least long enough for me to see them clearly and identify them accurately.  They are really cool looking.  The ones I was observing had what looked like eyes on the back of their head so you couldn't really tell from which direction they were looking.  I am sure this must have something to do with faking their prey out. 
We recently have had a visit by a Cormorant.  We thought this was a bit unusual but when I looked it up in our bird book I found out that where we are located is such a place that they would visit but not necessarily nest.  I believe that it is a Double-Crested Cormorant.  Our Quails just returned.  They have been gone all winter.  I do not as of yet know where they go.  I will be researching that soon.  I think I have mentioned before that we have Robins, Finches, Oak Titmouses that we call helmet heads because they have a little tuft of feathers on the top of their head, Humming birds and so many others that we do not yet know the names of.  Many of the little birds hand outside our kitchen and under the veranda at the back of the house.  We have a single bird feeder outside the kitchen and a variety of birds eat there.  Our wood pile is at the back of the house under the veranda and the birds love to hang out there.  Well folks I will do my best to write each and everyday.  Thanks for checking back with me.  See you tomorrow.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Raining It's Pouring

The date on this photo is so wrong!
This was our last 2010 rain.
I wake up this morning to the sound of rain.  It is now noon and it is still coming down hard.  Like we needed more rain.  I just got part of the wet grass mowed and was going to finish it off but not now.  I see some of the birds but where do they all go in the rain.  I guess they are hiding out in the trees.  That's where I would be if I was a bird.  It is a little cool in the house today.  I have been trying to stoke up the fire but it just doesn't want to go.  I guess I need smaller pieces of wood.  That means I will have to go outside.  I really do not want to go outside.  I have been sitting here for about an hour looking at photos of my nieces and nephews.  I love facebook because I can keep up with what everybody is doing and I didn't have to drive anywhere.  I am looking forward to having everyone here for another family gathering.  I will try to have it when it is a little bit cooler.  I will also work on painting the extra bathroom before everyone comes.  It looks awful.  I intended on getting it painted when I moved in but never got around to it.  I will this year.  There have been so many other things to get done.  The bathroom just was not the priority.  Me and Al want to put a pool in this year so we have a place to cool off.  Then we can gather no matter how hot it is.  We are trying to get to the point where we can get under the house to clean it out.  Then we will level the house and fix the skirting.  So much to do and so little time.  The rain isn't helping either.  We want to landscape the yard and put in an outdoor shower and tub, with hot and cold water.  Woo, hoo that's what I am talking about.  We also have to get our garden going.  Plus we still haven't finished putting up the roof that was blown off the veranda.  Wow, I getting tired just writing about all the things that need to get done.  Never a dull moment.  Well we do what we can when we can and don't sweat about it.  Well folks I will be back gotta go.  We will talk later.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Looking northwest from the vineyard.  You can't see my house but I am behind the white house on the left of the photo behind the trees
What a good morning it is too.  I just completed my first class.  Emailed in my paper and I am done.  We had to write a three page paper and I was stressing a little bit about it.  I write here but I just write the stuff that fills my head.  My paper had to be a bit more organized.  For the life of me I just couldn't figure out what I was going to write about.  Then late last night it came to me and hit me like a ton of bricks.  I got to writing and I just couldn't stop.  My paper was only supposed to be three pages and I was writing a book.  I had to trim it back a bit, which I did.  I registered for another class this summer.  I ended up dropping all but one of my classes this semester.  I was in way over my head and drowning quickly.  That is no way to learn.  One class at a time.  All of the classes I was taking required me to memorize.  One can only memorize so much at one time and four classes of memorizing medical terms and law was just too much.  This summer should be a lot less stressful.  Besides me and Al want to go backpacking.  I am looking forward to that.  I haven't been backpacking since me, my mom and my sister went many years ago.  Me and Al are going to Granite Lake I believe.  We went there when we were in high school.  I told Al that I wasn't going to carry anything over twenty pounds and I am going to try to stick to that.  I was carrying my day pack the other day and I think it was about that heavy.  I might have to renege on the weight.
Today I was looking out the kitchen window and I noticed a goose I have not seen before.  I called Al told him what it looked like and he said it was probably a snow goose.  I looked it up in our bird book and sure enough it is a snow goose but it is a juvenile goose.  Juvenile snow geese are white with a dark gray beak and gray feathers across the top of their head going down their neck and back.  Eventually they turn all white.  How cool is that.  We have a snow goose on the property.  We haven't seen one of those here before.  He is alone though.  I hope he or she mates up and they nest here.  That would be so cool.  Right now we have our Canadian geese that nested here last year back and we built nesting boxes for our Mallards, Mergansers and Wood Ducks.  I just hope they will all nest here.  I am going to build more boxes for our little birds.  I want to encourage as many birds as possible.  I love watching them.  I also have an ulterior motive.  I want eggs.  I don't care if they are broken eggs I just love seeing the different colors and sizes.  I wish I could find some Humming Bird egg shells that would be really cool.  Al brought me a nest from a Humming bird last year.  Now I just need some eggs.  Last year we had Quail coveys but they have all gone.  Where do they go in the winter?  I hope they come back! 
I was driving into our driveway yesterday and there was a Hawk on the gate.  It flew off but landed in a tree at my eye level.  I got a really good look at it.  They are so beautiful.  We have a couple of different types of Hawks on the ranch.  We have a Pigeon Hawk or Merlin, a Red Tailed Hawk and I think there is another type but I need a better look in order to identify it. 
I will take pictures for you all to see but right now I am without a camera.  We broke it trying to put it up against the spotting scope.  The lens was jammed and we were trying to fix it and just made it worse.  The camera was a gift from my daughters Heidi and Dana.  It served me well for many years.  I am looking around for another one.  Boy have cameras changed.  I think I would like to get something I can change the lenses on.  We'll see.  Well folks I have some quilting to do talk to you all later.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Dali Lama

Wow!! What a spectacular human being.  I suppose that if we all spent our lives in spiritual training we might be like him as well.  We can aspire to be kind, loving and peaceful beings.  I know in my heart that killing with kindness is a valid way of doing things but I also know that the reality is sometimes you have to be knocked into awareness.  It is inevitable.  In my experience most of us learn from the school of hard knocks and that includes school.  School is not easy everyone works at it albeit in different ways but we all have to work, to get ahead, to learn, to grow.  Often when we choose to sit back and let things happen as they will nothing gets done.
I was in a situation recently where I was being told by my manager that I needed to remove some carts from the building.  I was clocked out and on my way home.  I told him that it was not my responsibility, I was clocked out and headed home.  He proceeded to tell me that he had told me earlier in the week that it was my job to remove the carts during my shift.  He never told me this I would have remembered.  I would not blatantly dismiss something I was told to do.  We argued and I left in a huff.  Now I knew that I was right but during our arguing he threatened me with the possibility of loosing my job.  That worried me some and made me angrier.  To make a long story short.  I had to stand up to him and his threats, push back hard so to speak and not let myself be bowled over by fear and insecurities.  I had to try to cause change.  If I had just ignored the situation and done what he told me to do he would keep being a bossy jerk.  We, humans are equal,  no one is better than anyone else.  Yes we all make different choices which take us down different paths but remove the layers of crap and we are all the same heading in the same direction.  We all want to be happy!  I believe that we all want to ultimately get along.  I want to go to my job, do my work and go home a peaceful and content being.  However I will not tolerate being taken advantage of, nor abused.  I will stand up for my rights and I have always made sure I know what my rights are!  I will stand and be heard!! I am woman hear me roar!!  Ha, Ha, Ha.  (Helen Reddy)  Yeh!  Together we can all be strong.  We can all win.  We can all be successful.  We live on this globe together.  Our basic human rights should be met.  Food, clothing, shelter and health should be provided to all living beings on the planet.  All for one and one for all.  So I guess on some level I at least for now will not come close to filling the Dali Llamas shoes but heh I can aspire.  Love to you all.  See you later.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Birds of a Feather Flock together

One of Our Great Blue Herons
Boy am I glad they do too.  I am sitting at my desk and looking out the window at the bird box we put up on our old father oak tree.  We put the box up for our Northern Flickers but how were they to know.  The box has been taken over by a Robin couple.  I am sooo excited!  I get to watch them all the time now.  The box is so big that they could share but obviously they won't.  I will just have to make some more nesting boxes.  What a pity more birds.  We currently have a what seems to be a pair of Great Herons on the property and at least one Egret.  A couple of weeks ago we were fortunate enough to observe a pair of Hooded Mergansers courting.  This is really something to see for their hoods are always up during their courtship.  We have seen them many times before but not with their hoods up.  They are sooo beautiful.  The male has a black hood and the female has a golden brown hood.  I think we were very fortunate to see the courtship of these birds.
We also have a pair of Mallards and a pair of Wood ducks.  We are hoping that all of our nesting boxes will be occupied this year.  I am looking forward to cleaning them out at the end of the season.  I am hoping for a few broken eggs.  Maybe even a whole egg that didn't hatch.  I will be sure to take lots of pictures and share them with you all. 
Last year we were fortunate enough to have a pair of Canadian Geese nest on the ranch.  They hatched 5 goslings but none made it to adulthood.  How sad.  Tis is the way of life.  With so many predators in the air they were just not meant to be.  Although it is possible that the dogs got the babies but I doubt it.  We are hopeful for a better survival rate this year.  All one can do is hope.  Well we could put up some fencing around the upper pond and hope that the geese are protected that was but fencing is expensive so I doubt that will happen.  Oh well. 
Installation of Duck Nesting Box
It is such a beautiful day here today.  The sun is shining, the sky is mostly blue there are a few clouds out and the sheep are everywhere.  It seems that all they ever do is eat, poop and baa.  They are the noisiest creatures.  I swear they are rarely quiet!  It can be rather annoying.  I wish we could run miniature horses here instead of sheep.  The smells and sounds would be so much more pleasant and none of us eat lamb anyway. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

I am back

Bird Box Day on the Upper Pond
Sorry folks I have been out of touch with a lot of things lately.  I am not sure how I am going to approach this particular blog.  I guess some semblance of honesty would be good, however too much and I might send you running the other way.  As some of you know I started school full time.  I was so excited.  I can't tell you how long I have been trying to get my degree.  I have taken classes now and then my whole life.  Well not exactly my whole life.  I started taking classes after I had my first daughter.  I wanted to prove to myself that I was smart, that I could learn.  I dropped out of high school and that is never looked upon as a good thing.  I am not proud of that myself.  I wish I would have stayed in school.  I love learning.  Anyway I signed up for some classes and I had a hard time sticking with it.  I moved on and didn't take classes again for another couple of years.  I tried going back to school again after my second daughter was born.  This time I completed a few classes.  I took some kind of career class hoping to find out just what field I would be best suited for.  I always wanted to be a nurse and after taking the career class things pointed me in that direction.  I didn't take anymore classes until  my girls were a few years older.   We were living in Visalia, California.  I decided to try and take a full load of classes.  I can't remember how many classes.  I just remember that I was always telling myself that I need to get my degree.  Somehow I knew that I would need to be educated to get a job that would allow me to support myself and my children above the poverty level.
I am hearing impaired.  Not many people know what it means to be hearing impaired.  I didn't even know what it meant or quite how it effected my life for many years.  But it is who I am, it is what has made me who I am today.  It has colored my entire life.  I am so different from many people because of the impairment.  Now I am sure that there are many similarities if we were to sit down and compare.  However it would not change the fact that not hearing effects the type of job I can do.  Hence one of my desires to get educated.
I seem to have a limited corridor of the kinds of jobs I can do because of my hearing.  I do not know if this is self inflicted or if it is really due to the fact that I can't hear. That is not entirely true.  I cannot answer phones.  That is a given.   I have a really hard time being in situations where I have to deal with the public unless I can set up how it is I am going to communicate.  It is hard for me to be in situations with people coming at me, like being a cashier,  it is too much too fast for me to interpret.  That is what I do with the type of hearing loss I have I am interpreting all of the time.  It is exhausting to be constantly interpreting.  I can't physically and mentally keep it up for very long. I am very good at interpreting English, but then English is my only language and I have found it near impossible to learn any other language.  I hear vowels, I am deaf when it comes to hearing consonants.  I was raised with English speaking people, live in a country with English speaking people and attended school in this country.  English is my language.  I can interpret it extremely well.  But it some how effects the way I can work or rather the type of situations I can work in.  Right now I am working at Home Depot.  I work at night, I do not have to deal with the public.  I work independently so I do not have to deal with talking with people very much.  The pay is decent but it is part time.  The company works on the concept that we are just one big happy family!  Woo, woo!  So many of the jobs I have had are great for me with my hearing loss but they do not pay enough for me to do anything but exist.  Now I realize that in today's market most of us are doing just that, existing.  I have been doing this all of my life and I am tired!  Hence why I started back to school I thought that it is never too late.  I thought that I could take a full load of classes and be done in one year and onward and upward.  Not!!!  I found myself drowning.  I was taking all classes that I had to memorize and that is one of the greatest difficulties I have found with my hearing impairment.  I just can't seem to get information into my head easily or quickly and the classes I was taking you go one week get a load of information and then test get more information the next week test and it just goes on and on until  the end of the semester.  I couldn't do it.  I can't do it.  It was just too much too fast.  I am now wondering if I am trying to get into the wrong field.  Why am I not taking something that works for me but what?   It seems that the things that I have a passion for don't pay anything.  Maybe I haven't tried hard enough.  Well I know that isn't true.  I didn't get to be 55 years old not trying hard enough.  I am a hard worker!  I get a lot of things done and I do them well.  Trying hard enough is not the problem!
I have one more week of my Microsoft Word class and I will be glad when it is over.  I do not know which class I will take next.  What ever it is it will be the only class I will take.  One class at a time.  I think that will be enough for my brain to handle.  Any class I take will be a semester of memorization.  One thing I have going for me is that I already made most of the flash cards for three different classes.  That in it self is an accomplishment.  I can tell you seriously that I was studying my every waking moment and still not learning anything.  That is just not right.  So as I said it will be one class at a time.  Enough of this banter I have a house that has been seriously neglected.  Cat hair and dust everywhere!  Anybody want a twenty year old cat?  I am tired!