Printing Documents from your Horse

You may have wondered if I had moved myself to greener pastures up in the sky or something, not having written for so long, but it’s been hectic. Isn’t there a saying, something along the lines of “the faster I go, the behinder I get”? That’s me…. this month.

The first thing I will share with you is that I don’t like the modern age one bit. So why, all of a sudden? Well, it so happened that my old printer, the one which had come over with me from my Grapevine days, had finally decided to give up the ghost, and a new printer was on the horizon.

Luckily I have my godson, John, from the Czech Republic staying with me for four months in order to perfect his English, and, as he is 19 years old, he is expert in all things technical, so I didn’t feel too daunted by the situation, and happily went off to buy a new printer. Confidently he and I waltzed into Best Buy and came away with an HP printer – the same brand I’d had before – I feeling certain, that, as I was familiar with HP printers, it would be a matter of hooking it up, and presto! I would be in business. I should have known that nothing in the new world is simple, especially if it incudes even one little bit of technology.

We brought the damn thing home and looked at it. It is impressive. Not only does it print, it also scans, copies, prints photographs, sends messages and, for all I know, cooks dinner and does the floors. So – John hooked it up, and went away to help Danny with some fencing, and I stayed home doing the books, having some Cobre Loma checks to print. It was at this point that the meeting of the minds between the HP and me began to dissolve, and a healthy dislike of the thing began building in me.

First of all, it is not only a printer and all the other stuff, it is also wireless, so that you can print on it remotely from any device in your house, and you all know that if you are worth your salt today, that means at least two computers, an I-Pod or two, and a couple cell phones. Not only can you print on it from any device in your house, but you can also print on it from the house next door, from the barn, from on top of your horse, from in your car, from the Polaris, on top of the haystack, and other desirable places. The only place from which you can not print on it is from your desk top computer, which is parked right next to it on your desk.

Quill and Ledger

Sometimes the old way of doing things is the best way.

Should this computer brazenly request a print job, the printer huffs and puffs, spits out malevolent little messages, makes noises, whines and whirrs, and then, suddenly, when you least expect it, disgorges a sheaf of notes which you had no idea were even in its memory, right on all the bank checks you had stashed in there trying to pay the bills. As your blood pressure rises and your nails visibly shorten as you chew on them, the printer merrily ruins 7 pages of expensive check forms, and then, evidently satisfied with its progress, shuts itself off, firmly refuses further communiqués, and takes a nap.

My accounting program is Quick Books, which adds another layer of confusion to the situation. Now the checks which had been allocated numbers had to be re-numbered, but the accounting program doesn’t like that – it insists on keeping the old numbers ….. ah well, why go on. I am beginning to have nostalgic memories of the old fashioned ledgers, where you entered your figures with a pen, nicely on both sides of a page, and then one day took your adding machine (no, not the abacus), added them up, and presto! If you were lucky, they balanced and you went off to bed, tired but happy. Aaaaargh!!!

And, as the rainy season is almost on us, the grass is beginning to look a bit dry around the edges, and the cattle are looking for the proverbial greener pastures. To this end they have taken to cruising the east fence, finding little holes in it through which they escape to the vast world beyond. Some of you may remember the cows that had discovered the golf course in the village, some years back? They had the sense to know that what they were doing was illegal, so during the day they hid out behind a little hill near one of the greens, and then, at night, when all was still, they peeked out and ventured forth to dine, leaving behind large blobby tokens of their gratitude. Perhaps they figured that fertilizer was good payment? I had to agree – I couldn’t see, myself, why the golfers were getting so upset over it. But they were, and we had an almost daily job of rounding up. Finally the worst offenders were sold, the County also installed a much wider, more businesslike cattle guard, and the golf outings stopped.

This year the cows discovered a neighbor’s place – a really good looking piece of property, with a couple of corrals, some horse runs…. and…. a hay barn! And not only hay, but alfalfa hay! Whoopee! So began the great cow chase of 2012.

The owner is away somewhere in New England for the summer, so his neighbor is keeping an eye on the place. He called me. I promised to act. I think all I need to tell you is that I now have the neighbor’s number on speed dial, and we have almost daily communiqués. Naturally, it was also the time when Bonnie and Danny were away for a few days, so John, Kate and I moved cows, cursed cows, and sweated in these humid, hot summer days.

The finale came one morning when we chivvied them away from his property along Pearce Road, toward the cattle guard and its gate. Slowly the two biddies with their calves wended their way along a fence that lines Pearce Road, me keeping abreast of them on the road, when I suddenly saw that the fence, right next to a gate, turned into a non-fence, in that only the top and the bottom wires remain. Of course, inevitably the cows gently turned left and disappeared into the brush on the other side. Oh well, I thought, at least there is a gate. Ah, but – the gate was locked! Cursing the idiot who bothered to keep a locked gate adjacent to a two wire fence, I rode up further, where the same fence had been in a sorry state for some time. Luckily Kate had a pair of wire cutters in her saddle bag. We cut the wires, crossed over and gathered up the cows and brought them back to the road.

I rode ahead and invitingly opened the gate by the cattle guard. The cows came on, meandering musingly, slowly, the way cows can, so that you wonder what they are plotting behind that calm, bovine countenance. They cast a thoughtful look at the opened gate, gave me the sort of pitying look one reserves for the village idiot, carefully looked over the cattle guard with a measuring glance, and, slick as you please, hopped over it…..and gone. My blood pressure rose. We rode home and returned with fence fixing items, fixed the fence and hoped for better things in the morning.

Naturally, Dan was on the phone first thing. Not only were they back, they had brought reinforcements – now there were 4 pairs out there, dining on the alfalfa. Danny was back, so I begged off and the three of them went out and brought the rebels in – but this time, all the way in, into the heifers’ pasture at Grapevine, where they were greeted by the heifers and bull Tommy, who probably eyes them as possible fresh conquests. But I give you one guess where they are going after the round up!

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14 Responses to Printing Documents from your Horse

  1. Jenny Childs says:

    Oh dear Eve. I guess you are coming to the point where you are wondering why you keep those naughty old cows! They seem to be a lot more intelligent than given credit to.
    And as for the printer, well I am with you there. Technology defeats me every time! I have to wait for a visit from one of my adult children to sort me out.
    We are still waiting for summer here in the UK, all we get is rain, rain and more rain.
    Very best wishes to you all.
    Jenny

  2. mike franke says:

    help, need a ranch like gc was in your neck of the woods,mike and jackie

  3. Marilyn says:

    Well Eve looks as if you are going to have to widen those cattle grids so they cant jump them. BUT, perhaps that should be when you get rid of this educated bovine group otherwise you might have a broken leg or two and I remember you saying a live cow is worth a lot more than a dead one.

    As you know I am not a fan of new technology although Dai insists on buying the latest gismo and arrives at my place with “Ive bought you a new —-” did I realy need it? I have only just learnt how to use the last one and at my age getting to grips with even more is no fun. When the college where I lectured decided to change the windows programme I had used for years and fully understood I spent a whole semester trying to find files and how to carry out simple tasks, so I fully understand your frustration with a new all singing and dancing printer. Dai has been talking for some time about getting me a wireless printer, I will show him your blog and on pain of death or at least seriour injury to him threaten him not to buy one.

    Yes we still have the rain and the floods Oh for some Arizona sunshire, but not as hot as you tell me its been.

    Lots of love, best wishes for the round up, sorry we cant be there this time. I’m off to visit my family in Turkey for a week in Sptember.
    Marilyn & Dai.

  4. Elaine Fenton says:

    Eve,

    Sounds like you are as exuberant as ever! Hope you will write another book–about these experiences you are now living – thanks for sharing with all of us : – )

  5. Michael & Liz Martin says:

    Hi Eve, Please E-mail us so we can catch up,Mike

  6. Eve says:

    Hi all – so good to hear from you! You may be happy to know that there is a truce of sorts between me and the printer – we tiptoe around each other, and it prints!! It still likes to make some rude comments but overall , there is an uneasy truce between us.

    Michael and Liz – please e-mail me you address!! And this goes for everyone – I think you know I bought a Mac computer which I love, but in the process I lost my e-mail list. So – please e-mail me and then I will have you in the system.

    In the meantime, no rain here, while it appears to be raining everywhere else – but our turn will come, as Danny keeps reminding me – will let you know when it does come!

    And Elaine, how nice to hear from you!! It’s been a long time.

    Marilyn, I sent you an e-mail a while back, hope you got it. My hummingbirds have now learnt to come and tell me when the feeder is empty, by flying almost into my face as I’m watering the flowers – nothing like having rude boarders!!

    More later…..

  7. Eve says:

    And Mike and Jackie – sorry to have closed on you – but let me know which parts of the country you’re considering and I’ll check around for you!!

  8. Lyn Wallace says:

    Ben could you please add me to the blog list I still love to hear how every thing is going with Eve and her 4 legged family.
    Thankyou
    Lyn
    New Zealand

  9. Dilys Hunt says:

    Hi Eve – love reading your blog but miss the thought of not looking forward to coming to Grapevine again, but hope all works out well for you. I have found a great place to ride and would like to pass it on to any UK ex-grapeviners and especially Dai. Meldon Farm is a cattle farm on Dartmoor that have started riding holidays, you ride with western saddless and help the family out with some cattle work. I’ve been once already and had a great time despite appalling weather (no shortage of rain on dartmoor) The web site is http://www.dartmoorridingholidays.co.uk – it’s worth checking out. Please pass my regards to Bonnie and Danny…….happy trails Dilys

  10. Marilyn says:

    Hi Eve, Yes got the e-mails and glad to hear that you are looking after those humming birds, I know they like the feeder but I am sure they enjoy your plants much more.
    How is the Arizonian bird dog? Still finding tasty morsels around the place and inflicting the effects on you in the evening. I have more birds in the garden this year than ever before, we decided to carry on feeding during what is supposed to be the summer as it has been so bad for them, unfortunately no rare species to report.
    Dilys I have forwarded the information on to Dai as I know he does not get to read the blog very often. Hope you are well and enjoying life.
    Best wishes to everyone.
    By the way Eve is there a speed limit around the yard, I have some natty pics of you racing round on your new transport.
    Marilyn

  11. stephanie says:

    Hey Eve! I had visited your rance for a vacation a few years ago and loved the authentic nature of it. I was coming back to your website to look up a potential futur vacation and was sad to see you had closed. Do you know any other ranches that you would reccomend? I’m willing to travel all over the US. thanks! spreston36 AT gmail.com thanks!

  12. Eve, I am flying (as usual) and just came across your BLOG and your news of the sale of Grapevine! I copied your April note and sent it immediately to Ali and Chip. Life has been more than hectic for the past year with business booming and life happening fast. I want to catch up with you – remember you promised me a mother/child themed portrait for my collection – I won’t hold you to that promise if you have had a change of heart but you can know that it would be the crown jewel of my collection and in safe keeping should you feel so moved. Ali is stunning and taking life on as an independent young woman. Kris is still hugging every tree and trying to make it through college. Justin is a much sadder story – as you would have predicted given your short interaction with him — I will save the details for a personal moment with you. I so want to catch up with you and would travel at any time to have lunch or preferrably dinner with you – just name the day/date! So sorry we missed the last opportunity to see the ranch but know that the memories live on. Our hello to Danny and Bonnie and anyone else who is hanging out in Arizona with you.

    Hope to hear from you soon! Keep printing!! Much love and well wishes from the Quammen’s!!! Becky

  13. Micael Edwards says:

    Reference ‘Printing documents from a horse’.
    This is one of Grapevines ‘Six shooters’ list responding.
    How amusing I’ve always found the differences with American English and English English. Jenny Childs comment referring to ‘Old Cow’, raised a smile for me. On this side of the Pond, an old cow is a grouchy woman or miserable mother-in law. Beware never to use ‘old cow. if talking with an English person
    Eve, you cannot believe how sad I felt looking at the For Sale photos of empty places in the Longhorn Room, Cook shack and bar, in which I enjoyed a beer or three before nipping down to TJ’s for a real sundowner after a good day outdoors.

  14. Angela Rae Caron says:

    Hey Eve, How are you? Its been awhile & I was hoping we could retreat there sometime soon. Are you closing down, Write & give me the scoop.
    My husband has been realy sick so life has been rough but In still nursing, loving my animals ,esp my 11 yr old Dobey,Chrystal & selling avon to support our troops.Hope to hear from you to get the scoop. Been awhile & Imiss Grapevine & all of you. Dont hear from Cheryl any more since she moved to Australia. She doesnt want anything to do with me since I couldnt come visit-what can you do. Love & friendship- please write me.
    Angela

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