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.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!