Sat, September 10, 2016 at 2:15 PM
It’s early afternoon here on the high ponderosa. Rose and Darrell are still at the swap meet, the black barn cat cozied up to me, but I had to move her away to write this email more comfortably. Brandy barked once and then came over to snuffle me; Bella is sadly resigned to her caged state. The chickens told me vociferously that they laid eggs and the cows told me insistently that they wanted hay. Mona and her piglets appreciated the carrot greens and cabbage leaves (the piglets were especially appreciative), but I saw no other pigs at all. And Mona was a bit irate that her big buckets were empty — she kept eyeing me and knocking them over. No sight of Red Cow.
The noisy rooster and his pack of hens.
It’s a bit warmer today, although I must say that I haven’t been tempted to take off my turtle neck. Maybe if I walked briskly or sat in the sun, it would be different, but while sitting, the air is definitely cool. I took a bath and a shower this morning. Then I put my dirty turtle neck back on. I only brought two t-necks and one of them is for painting, or was, until it became the sole Homestead top. I’m saving the other to sit in the car with you on the drive back home. Who said I was not compassionate?
Speaking of which, I made tabouli — the compassionate part is that no one is around to note that I smell to high heaven of garlic and onion. It was pretty good, though, and I’m assuming that parsley stalks will be excellent for the piglets.
Last night’s excitement involved different strange noises, although a bit more distant than outside my door. As I was leaving the Howe’s house after writing to you, Brandy took up barking. She quieted down a bit when I went back and looked around to the south of the house. I saw nothing. I wasn’t about to venture down into the woods, so I reassured her that all was well and went over and made myself some dinner. I went to bed as usual about 8, read and fell asleep, and woke up about midnight. Brandy and Bella were carrying on, quite loud, quite insistent, quite non-stop. Bella’s bark is higher than Brandy’s and Brandy was growling as well as howling and barking in various tones and cadences. This went on for about an hour. I scuttled around from my bedroom to the bathroom off the living room to pee, came back, read the rest of my novel, and the noise was still going on at 3 AM. I closed the open window and muffled the noise, so fell asleep to the faint cacophony. This morning it was all quiet.
The “scary” woods
Rose once shot a cougar near the house, so my night alarm signals were up. However, it dawned on me that a) I wasn’t in danger and b) there was nothing I could do for the dogs or livestock if they were. Hence, sleep.
I took my shower before I went to check on the animals, hoping they hadn’t been mauled in the night. But all seemed well. I heard Brandy so I figured she was OK, which, when I got down to her place, indeed she was. Tired, I think, after a long night. She guarded the household well, although from what, I’m not sure — bear, cougar, coyote, big rat? Now she’s sleeping it off, first checking me out when I came to write to you. She reminds me of a security guard — friendly but watchful.
The black barn cat spends a lot of time at the house and here she is again, sitting beside me purring and looking up. She has a bad eye and presumably lots of fleas. Rose tells me she is a good rodent catcher but has no taste for birds — something Rose (and I) approve of.
I’m going to paint later on today. Going up the lane with my cart to try for some of the big mountain formations.
The Lane to Top Road, where I walked every day. And where I painted some days, too
Rose and Darrell said they would be back late, so maybe I’ll write again later. Or maybe I’ll make myself a pork chop and potatoes and have a feast.
The birds seem to love the back of the Howe’s house where I’m sitting to write. It’s a meadowy spot with overgrown flowers and grasses. They keep making noises and moving the brush so it crackles and hisses. I can’t see them but I can certainly hear them. I’m getting acquainted with the sounds here and am tuning in on the unusual ones. All the animals have their own particular noises — clanking of food buckets as well as mooing and cackling. There are machines — freezers mostly that sit off Darrell’s workshop — that go on and off. And of course the birds rustling and chucking and giggling.
Bird Heaven, with clothes line to keep the wind company
I keep making notes to myself about things I want to tell you — and promptly forgetting what I’ve noted. I’m liking the isolation, broken mostly by my talking to the animals and myself. No one is around to hear, which makes me sing and talk in silly ways.
The rooster says hello. Brandy is asleep in the house (a back entry way is left open to shelter the domestic animals), and the black cat has wandered away after discovering I wasn’t going to lavish attention on her no matter how much she purred. Maybe I’ll write again later this evening. It gets dark earlier, even though it’s only been a couple of days. On the other hand, morning seems to come early enough, so I’m not complaining.