A Porch of My Own

A Porch of My Own

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Ghost of Christmas Present

Her leg was broken and dangling, near where it joined her body. She was frightened by our vehicle and trying desperately to jump the fence. It was her left front leg and she kept trying to stand on it to spring over the fence. Each time she would fall and then move further down the fence line looking for a hole to go through. We slowed almost to a stop to keep from stressing her further. She finally found a hole and disappeared.

She looked to be in bad shape and a lot of pain. Living close to nature as we do, you see a lot of suffering. Most of the time you can't help. We can't feed enough to keep the deer alive during a drought. There are too many and not enough money. We provide water and we put out a little corn for the deer year round and milo for the turkeys. We feed the birds. We put food scraps out for the foxes and small animals. 

But when you see a deer suffering like this you can sometimes end it's suffering. Rickie saw it a couple of days later and she looked worse. He made the decision to shoot her the next time he saw her. 

Our friends Scott and Martha came over for dinner the next day and Scott said he had seen what looked like a pool of blood in the road in front of our place. We told him about the deer we had seen and wondered if it was from her.

Sarah and Bixby came over Christmas Eve and spent the night; Justin had to work and couldn't come. Bixby had fun learning to be a ranch hand. He liked the Mule, both helping to drive it and dancing in the bed of it. He also thought the flat bed trailer was good for running. He helped feed the longhorns and the fish and birds. He was a good hand and that's the best compliment you can get on a ranch.

We had a turkey dinner and opened some presents and the kids tried the bunkhouse on for size. They left this morning ahead of the blue norther that is blowing in now. We're gonna have some mighty cold weather the next few nights. 

After they left Rickie saw the injured doe by the feeder. She had lost the broken leg at the shoulder. She was eating some corn and having a little trouble keeping her balance but she looked better than she had. We are thinking she probably got the damaged leg ripped off crossing the fence and the blood in the road was hers. 

We've had a three-legged doe living here in the past. A friend named her Tripod and she lived for many years, raising a baby each year.  Everyone watched out for her and gave her the respect she deserved for her toughness and the daily battle she fought. Scott and Martha had one by them also that they called Stubbette and she too had and raised babies. A couple of years ago a mountain lion got her.

As we watched the newly created three legged doe, Rickie said to me "well, what do you think? Leave her be?" I agreed. With losing the leg she has a much better chance to make it. She may or may not survive but she's not going down without a fight. That's what it takes. 

We decided to call her Trinity.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

I awoke to 18 degrees this morning, a long way from the 80s we had a couple of days ago! Woodrow and Gus were waiting by the fence. They wanted some hay to get their internal furnace fired up. I put long underwear on for the first time this season and ventured out!

(Photo - my friend Belinda made the Santa pillow on the bunkhouse shelf.)

I started the fireplace going yesterday afternoon. In the bunkhouse I took down a Tony Hillerman book with Jim Chee stories to read by the fire, with a cup of coffee with a little Bailey's Caramel added. I had read it, of course, but it has been a long time. Hillerman was the first author to instill in me some knowledge and a love of the Four Corners area. When Sarah was a senior in high school some years ago we went on a vacation there. Sarah called it the Hillerman tour. I kept seeing the places Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn lived and worked. Shiprock, Canyon de Chelly, Turquoise Mountain, Window Rock, Crownpoint. We made the rough drive out to Chaco Canyon and then on to Mesa Verde. It was beautiful. 

I added another log to the fire this morning and got it going again. After it got above freezing I refilled the galvanized washtub we use as a woodbox. I'll keep the fireplace going today and tonight. 
(Photo - my sister Kathy gave me the Christmas longhorn on the mantel above.)

Outside the back porch the little pine siskins were hopping around on the frozen water in the star shaped birdbath I have there. I added some warm water to it for them. My 5 year old great-grandson Anthony made me some pine cone feeders, with help from his Nana Lisa, and I had hung them on the sign above the birdbath. The pine siskins have eaten one already.

Rickie had done some winterizing this weekend so we were ready for the freezing weather. Our main worry is always the water lines. We have them all over the place; to the garden, the water tanks, the bunkhouse, the cabin, and of course, the pumphouse where they all originate. After we had 5 water line breaks one year on the water tank lines, Rickie made some modifications and added some valves so we can drain the lines there. 

My friend Martha and I went on a Christmas homes tour in our county a week ago. We saw some beautiful houses and a little tiny chapel in a community called Ivy. The Library Club, the sponsors of the tour, had the chapel decorated and served refreshments there. It is a beautiful place with a lot of history. It has been a schoolhouse and a chapel and a gathering place since the late 1800s. 

This summer I added a mobile device to make a hotspot at the cabin. You have to be on the porch where there is a clear line back to the tower to get a 4G signal so you can have internet access. With the freezing weather I didn't want to leave the device on the back porch. So I found that it would work in the bathroom window and now it has a new home. 

(Photo - the curtain hides our water heater and supplies. The little ceramic Santa in the window was a gift, made many years ago by my friend Debbie.)

(Photo - I made the sheep pillow; it has a hooked wool top I made years ago. The Santa pillow and the Cabin pillow were gifts from friends.)

The cold weather, the fireplace, the Chrismasy things I love, a pot of beans on the stove and a good book. In this place, at this moment, right here and now, life is good. As Augustus McCrae said, "The only healthy way to live is to learn to like all the little everyday things, like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself."

Thursday, December 6, 2012

When "Aunt" Doesn't Quite Say It All...

My family lost another loved one to that devil Alzheimer's yesterday. Aunt Carolyn was finally released from her suffering and is at peace. 

She was only 11 years older than me and she helped me through lots of hard times and we shared lots of good times.

Family fishing trips, making us all spaghetti; laughing uncontrollably at family fish fries; teaching me how to make pecan pie and cherry pie and how to give a house a good cleaning; being a second mom to my siblings and I; rocking my babies and pouring her love out on them. (Photo - Aunt Carolyn with my oldest son Larry.) She was a fantastic cook and whenever you would visit you knew you were going to get some good Southern home cooking.

She had a way of seeing things the way they were and she didn't mince words. She would not tell you a lie even if it meant saying things to and about people she loved if she thought they needed to be told. She was not afraid to stand up for what was right or to stand against everyone else if she thought they were wrong. I learned from her and the other women in my family to be strong. 

I don't have a lot of photos of her. Most of them are in my mind. But she was a part of everything of importance and most things trivial in my life up until later years when we lived far apart. (Photo - Aunt Carolyn with my brother David.)

When my mom was in her last year and a half of her own Alzheimer battle, Aunt Carolyn called every few days to check on her. Even as her own Alzheimer's was starting to change her life. 

She would have me call her from the nursing home whenever I was there with Mama. She wanted to talk to Mama and did up until it was clear Mama could not talk on the phone. Then she just talked to me and my siblings so she would know how Mama was. During this time Aunt Carolyn moved into an apartment, then assisted living. We weren't sure how to tell her about Mama passing away but she must have known in her heart because she called me that day to see how Mama was. She and Mama were like sisters, even though they were sisters-in-law, and I guess she felt the loss.

Aunt Carolyn had a heart of gold and she would do anything for those she loved. Her family was the most important thing in her life. Her sense of humor was famous in our family and we smile as soon as her name is mentioned. Even now, through our tears.

She was one of a kind and my family suffers a great loss with her passing. I have only one aunt left in that generation and then we are all truly on our own. If we survive this world it will be only because of what they taught us and showed us by example.