Philosophically Taking Life as it Comes

So – I can hardly believe it’s been several months since my last communiqué – and you can probably hardly believe you are even reading one – always supposing that there is still someone out there who will be reading it!!

But, in all seriousness, you would not have wanted to be reading anything I would have written in the last couple of months, seeing as it was definitely not the most favorite, nor enjoyable, time of my life.

First of all, I had a knee replacement, which was long overdue, and of course, put off for as long as possible. Finally, I was listing to one side so much that the surgery became urgent, and so I braved myself for yet another stint at a hospital…. such a miserable interruption to your life and daily routine! However, this time I thought I was in for a quick surgery and a swift recovery – a snip, nothing to it!! And why?? Because, some time before, I had visited my step-daughter and son-in-law, who had just had his knee replaced, and, of course, I totally managed to misunderstand his time table, probably proving the old adage that you hear what you want to hear! I heard him to say that he had had that surgery a week ago
… and there he was, walking around the house with a cane, admittedly, but pretty limber for all that. And then, a mere week later, again there he was, without any cane, of course without a limp … and so, encouraged, I set my time table by him.

I had the surgery, and confidently waited that, a week later, I would be running around the house like a young goat, riding a horse a week after that…. But, as Gerry used to say, not only no, but HELL, NO! I came to find out that Art’s surgery had been, in fact, several weeks prior to the date I thought, and that things were not going be as rosy as envisioned.

So … I spent a good part of two months moping around being miserable, the main cause of the misery being that you have to do that dreaded (to me) activity called “physiotherapy” – hateful phrase. At first it’s not so bad – after a day in the hospital – I had surgery on Monday, was home by Wednesday – they send you home with a machine that lays on the bed, you stick your foot in it, turn it on, and hey presto, it slowly brings your knee up, bends the leg, slowly returns it to the prone position – quite hypnotic. You can read, or you can sit there and watch your leg being exercised for twenty minutes or so, all without effort, increasing the angle more each day or two, giving you a false sense of achievement and success. But, inevitably, they take the thing away, and then it is up to you and the visiting physiotherapist lady, whose most memorable pronouncement to me was “You have to bend the knee more each day, and each day the window of opportunity is closing”, meaning that the damn thing doesn’t want to bend back, and that if you don’t force it, painfully, it will remain stiff for ever – a horrid thought. Ah well – suffice to say that now it bends back almost as far back as the original, doesn’t hurt, and, my friends tell me, I am walking straight again, that is, not listing to the off side like a sinking ship.

Luckily I had some help – my godson John, a 19 year old boy from the Czech Republic, came to spend four months here in order to perfect his English, and he was most helpful during the worst time, fetching stuff and bringing food, and so forth. And then, some of you may remember wrangler Thomas from Grapevine? He phoned me one day and said that he had quit his wrangling job in Texas and was passing through on the way north and could he stop in. Of course I said yes, would love to see you! He came, and not alone, but accompanied by a new girl friend, a beautiful and charming girl by name of Molly, who was not only good company, but also proved herself to be a godsend in cooking some great meals (you probably realize that most 19 year old boys, unless they are about to enter chef school, are not the best as cooks?) and I enjoyed a couple of weeks of great company and tasty food. Inevitably, though, Thomas and Molly left on their trek north, and in due course, John also departed for home, and I was left to my own cooking and devices. And so – after 30 years of great Grapevine meals, let me just say that I lost some 15-20 lbs and in fact, managed to weigh less than I did when I was 15. Not a desirable state of affairs at my age – things start to wrinkle and sag – ugh! Finally, at the worst of times, I discovered a local restaurant which serves liver and onions, one of my favorite dishes, and so I take myself off there at least once a week for a decent meal – and then try to scrape by as best I can the rest of the time, boring though it may be.

Roundup 2012

I was, however, able to take part in the spring and summer round-ups and do the branding – without the crutch. The fall works, when we pregnancy test the cows and give them their annual immunizations, went off without a hitch, although we almost had a repeat of a tragedy that befell us once several years back. At that time, while working the cattle through the chute, a crazy heifer reared up and stuck her head up through the top of the chute, and thrashed around so wildly that she got herself trapped up there, and before we could do anything to help, she hanged herself – it was awful, as you can imagine. After that we installed a big cover on top of the chute so that the cattle can’t see the daylight up there, and for several years, things went smoothly. Until this year – the rubber lid on top had developed some slits in it, and we had not one, but two idiots rear up like that, and try to do their best to repeat the suicide trick – luckily without succeeding. Of course, some repairs to the top of the chute were necessary in the middle of the works, which held us up, and made it a long and tiring day. But – it could undoubtedly have been worse.

I think that last time I told you about Tommy, our new, expensive young bull, bought specially for the breeding of the heifers, as he is guaranteed to throw a small birth weight calf. It seems that he has done his job and the girls are all taken care of, but the funny thing is that their little herd still sticks together, Tommy often lying around enjoying the sun in the middle of his harem – the girls now all looking settled and happy, not flighty flibbertigibbets as before, but handsome, serene and contented young matrons. Soon we will have to have another round up – this time in early January, to bring them all into the Cochise Pasture, so we can give them some supervision during calving time.

And you may remember our baby filly, Ayita, born the day after Pearl Harbor Day? She is extremely well conformationed, though she has remained a boring sorrel – her sire is black, and always throws color, they tell me. Well, this time I guess he couldn’t be bothered, and she has remained sorrel, with two short white socks on the hind legs and a squiffy sort of blaze on her forehead. But what he didn’t give her in color, her dam gave her in evil, as the stud is also famously good natured. Good natured Ayita is not – although we had haltered her the day she was born, and taught her to lead and turn, and all the good, useful stuff – at about 4 months or a bit later, she suddenly decided she didn’t want to hear of a halter and we had about as much work trying to get that fixed as if we had never done it at birth. And then she developed a most evil habit, one that I had never come across in a foal before. She began to be very aggressive and hateful when we brought her grain – go figure that one! Instead of being grateful and happy that she was about to get goodies, she would pin her ears back, bare her teeth, turn her back on the bearer of the goodies and do her best to kick, bite and strike. This resulted, of course, in several quick disciplinary actions, like the time when Steve, when she kicked out at him, swiftly throwing the empty feed bucket at her, hitting her on the bum. It was instant punishment, but didn’t do much good – the ear pinning and teeth baring went on, until finally, on the advice of a horsey friend of Steve’s in the UK, we withdrew the foal rations, leaving her to hay only. Slowly the behavior modified – in fact, is now almost normal. I wonder what goes on inside a horse’s head to be hateful when you are being good to it? (On second thoughts, not so different to the behavior of some people, wouldn’t you agree? The “no good deed shall go unpunished” theory?) But, as I said several times, this is one horse on whose back I will not be clamoring to climb too soon – perhaps never.

Two Amigos

And I guess I will end this by giving you a report on the Two Amigos, that is, Comanche and Tequila, my two good old boys. They are inseparable now – well, at least on the part of Comanche, who can’t stand for Tequila to be out of his sight. Tequila, on the other hand, philosophically takes life as it comes, friend or no friend. The other day Danny couldn’t find him. He finally thought to look into my front yard – and there Tequila was, happily chewing on the still green grass around the frequently watered ex-Christmas tree. Those of you who have been to my house will know that to do this he had to step down a step, through a narrow gate, cross a paved patio, go through another narrow gate and then negotiate past various flower pots and bird feeders – but not to worry, there he was, calmly dining, and, when Danny exclaimed “Tequila!! What are you doing here!!!” he looked as if it was his rightful place, and please leave me be. Danny said he thought we’d best be closing the gate, or he would be stepping down into my porch entryway next – and who knows – the living room perhaps? They enjoy the life of Riley – both get special feed, as befits their advancing years – and after breakfast, the gate to their corral is left open, so they are free to roam around the yard, getting into trouble. They generally begin by visiting the other corrals, passing the time of day with the other horses, and then meander down to the creek bed by the roping arena where the grass is still green. By about 2 pm they work their way back up to the yard and optimistically hang around the feed room, probably hoping that the door will magically open and they can help themselves. It’s nice to be able to make their retirement years happy ones!

So – I promise to get back to the normal routine, I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving …. and talk to you again soon!!

Be Sociable, Share!
This entry was posted in Latest News and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Philosophically Taking Life as it Comes

  1. butterbean carpenter says:

    Howdy youngun,

    Aw heck, a new knee ain’t nuthin’, even I got one; when the ‘doctor’ wasn’t watchin’, but the next day he came by with a bunch of ‘nuterns’ and after 17 years of tellin’ me NO I TOLD HIM YES!! I GOT ME A NEW KNEE!!! He then proceeded to cut the cast & wrappin’ off until he could get his hand under my foot and CRAM MY NEW KNEE UP UNDER MY CHIN; then he told the ‘nuterns’ “Well it works..”, turned and walked out… IT HURT!!!!!!!!!
    That was only while I was in the VA horseispistol; when I got to REHAB she must have been a
    x-Marine D I, from what she did to me!!!OHHHH!!!! It must have worked though, because I can ‘squat’ like I did when I was a catcher in baseball and hold my 250# up with it!!!

    Is that the same set of heifers that have driven you crazy all this time?? You should have sold them along with the ‘break-out’ bull you had…
    I ain’t never had a black-hided cow and DON’T want one; just give me RED-hided, anytime!!
    They won’t jump out of no ‘runway’!!! My daddy saw a black-hided bull JUMP from the 3rd floor of Swift’s slaughter house, in Ft. Worth one time and ‘walk’ away!!! They got no sense!!

    Thanx,for the pic of the ‘old-ones’, they look good… Put a feed-bucket on the filly AND LEAVE IT FOR SEVERAL DAYS she’ll tame down a whooollllle lot and be nicer!!!!!!!!!

    How do you ‘get-on’ your horse if they ‘did’ your left knee??

    Liver & onions are really ‘soul food’, I garrontee!!!! AIEEEEE!!!!

    butterbean carpenter, chief gofer
    RunningStar Ranch
    Coleman county

  2. Jan Bennett says:

    I knew you would survive a total knee surgery! Just a bit of extra work for you but now, NO PAIN. Thanks for keeping us posted about the goings on of the ranch.
    How old is Comanche now, mid 20’s?
    Glad to hear Danny is still around as well as Bonnie.

    Happy Thanks Giving to all 2 and 4 legged folks.

  3. Kerry Johnson says:

    Eve, I thought about calling, but I thought I should wait for your recuperation

    Glad to know you are getting along well. Miss thanksgiving at the ranch. I promise to see you soon, eve, don’t forget to eat . Talk to you soon. Kerry

  4. Connie Keyes says:

    Hi Eve sorry so long since we talked Im back here in sunsites once again. Just love it here . Glad to hear your coming along with your knee surgery sooo sorry you had to go through all that. Would love to see you again and have a visit let me know if and when you have time. I will always cherish your kindness to jack and I Grapevine was always our idea of Heaven, Gods Blessings to you!!!! Love Connie

  5. Charlotte & Tony Norris says:

    Hi Eve.
    Good to hear from you with news that you are on the road to recovery. Anything which involves you being told what to do is never going to be easy! We know what an independent gal you are.
    I do keep telling Tony he should look at fixing his knee while he’s still this side of 40 … but he’s reluctant … and probably more afraid of having to tell the Doctors what’s wrong with it – Idiot thwacked it accidently with a baseball ball in mid-swing … some 19 years ago – and it’s never been quite the same since.

    We know we will never find a ranch as wonderful and as welcoming as Grapevine … so we have sort of given up on that …for now. Our travels have continued though – just without the boots and worn in jeans. We went a bit crazy this year and crammed in Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong in 2 weeks. I had an oriental itch that really needed to be scratched, and thankfully Tony was happy to accompany me … and fancied the seafood and noodles on offer too. Marvellous time had by all. At just 5ft 4inches (on a good day) I fitted in well with the locals – but at 6ft 2 … Tony was like a giant marching through the streets, markets and attractions … some teenage girls in Hong Kong even asked to be photographed with him!!

    Anyway, thank you so much for updating us about life down your way. We do miss it, and you and the horses. Please pass our hellos onto Danny and Bonnie too.
    Always in our hearts, Charlotte & Tony xx

  6. Nancy Gates says:

    Next time we come over to ride we will stop for a visit. Socks felt at home and knew all the trails. We had Dustys dog pard with us or we would have stoped. Miss you and glad you are doing so well. Talkk to you soon

  7. Sarah Stanley says:

    Hi Eve, glad your knee op was a success. Many more years of riding ahead! Sarah xx

  8. Eve says:

    Hi everyone!! I left a long answer on the previous blog but just in case those of you to whom it was addressed didn’t read it, I am copying it here. I felt very bad that I had not answered your comments earlier – but… here goes! From last month…

    Hi all – I am so incredibly grateful and surprised at your loyalty, to keep visiting this site in spite of my long silence – so thank you all!
    Here’s a few quick answers –
    Les, I did wonder what happened to you- and my e-mail address is – the same as always. I don’t have yours, because I bought a Mac and didn’t get all addresses transferred – moving the QuickBooks was enough trouble!
    And Hobie, what a voice from the past!! I am so glad your face healed up. That was quite a time we had with that, wasn’t it? As you will see by the latest blog about to go up, my knee is doing well. Let me know what you are doing nowadays.
    Jenni, from my long ago calf raising days!! So good to hear from you. Glad to hear that the old bus served you well to the end.
    Some of you have asked about other ranches nearby – sad to say, there isn’t one. We had some terrible fires in the Chiricahuas last year and the only ranch close to us, the Price Canyon Ranch, had to close because their country is all burnt up, and, I guess, a bit sad looking.
    Charley Clarke – sorry we can’t get to meet your son – but if you are down this way, let me know and stop in. I am still on the cattle ranch next door, still doing my horse and cow thing, and would love to meet your boy.
    Finally, Ron, from Idaho – glad to hear you are taking care of some of my guests, and good luck!!

  9. Jenny Childs says:

    Hi Eve. You seem to have a tough time since your op. I have a friend who has just had the same op. I will definitely not be telling him your ordeal. Don’t want to scare him!!! Glad you’re getting back into ranch life though as it makes all the pain seem worthwhile. I have a 3 year old Welsh pony who got very possessive of his food after weaning but is a lot better behaved now. However, his full sister who is just weaned, is showing the same tendencies with her food! Regarding your comments about cooking, I got very lazy cooking for just myself and kept getting colic. Since I started to cook proper meals again I haven’t had the problem. Lesson learnt! As ever, best wishes to all at Grapevine.

  10. Eve says:

    Hi all –
    Jenny, how do you get motivated to cook for yourself?? So much Stuff to get and do… But I will try, you’re right.
    Charlotte and Tony – go visit Australia – lovely place and they speak English! I just can’t get excited to visit any country where they’re not good to animals . I had enough of seeing starving dogs, cats and cows when I lived in India, Pakistan, and Mexico, and don’t want any more of it. But Australia is lovely and so varied!
    Connie and Nancy – yes, do stop by! You are SO far away – all of 6 miles?
    Butterbean – no problem getting on a horse, left or right knee. It’s the hip that’s more trouble in that department, but I guess everything costs!
    And Jan, Comanche is now 23 and I would be riding him except he has some foot problems. But he and Tequila have a happy retirement, wondering around the barn yard and getting into trouble….

  11. Marilyn says:

    Hi Eve,

    Gland you finallygot round to hitting the keyboard again, I have missed the monthly report of the goings on at the ranch.
    Glad to read that you are spritly as ever again. Please to read your e-mail and taht although your Thanksgiving was quiet you had company.
    Dai is away in forgien parts again, and like you there are days when I really cant be bothered o cook for myself, having friends over means I have to exercise my catering skills, this last week my Turkish nice and her family came to visit, so my Turkish cooking was re-vitalized.
    Looking forward to visiting in the New Year and spoiling some of your four legged friends. I was shocked to read that Tuffy had been taking on snakes – will that dog never learn!
    (Nancy if you read this, I lost your e-mail address which is the reason I have not been in touch, would be nice to catch up with you and Dusty when we come over at Easter)
    Eve remember what the physio said exercise is good for you, both body and soul, SO THEY SAY no pain no gain.
    Lots of love to you all, will be in touchbefore Christmas, ( sorry can’t send mice in the post.

  12. Linda Borg says:

    Hi Eve
    Glad to hear you survived the operation and are back wrangling cows.

    I have sorely missed te ranch and often looks at th pictures to get some of the special magic of the place back.

    My mom is very sick and so that has been occupying most of my non-work time. Went to another ranch a couple of eyars ago but it just wasn’t the same.

    Hope you have a Merry christmas.
    Love, Linda from Cowgirl Camp

  13. kathy cole (used to Johnson) BJ's ex says:

    Hi Eve,
    Glad to here u are still among us. I don’t live in Arizona anymore but wanted to say hello. I remember the good times I used to have down there. Take care. What happened to Jerry?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>