Friday, May 29, 2009

Catching Up

The Bag Lady took the Rancher's uncle and her mother-in-law to town yesterday for Uncle's consultation with the oncologist.

The news was good. Uncle does not need any treatments, except for follow-up blood work every three months for a couple of years and an occasional Xray. He was much relieved and is ready to go back to his own place.

The Bag Lady has some catching up to do on her housework and yard work and paper work. Gosh, that sounds like a lot of work! She also has some play time scheduled, don't worry! She and the Rancher are invited to a birthday party on the weekend.

And there has been another addition to the ranch:

One of these days she hopes she will have enough time and some inspiration to write an actual blog post.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

The Bag Lady and the Rancher have been doing a little work on the place. They built a new gate in the corral to make it easier to move cattle around. They don't seem to work quite as fast as they used to - what should have taken half a day to do ended up being a full day's job.

Here is the newest addition to the ranch:

The Bag Lady is off to town today, taking Uncle to an appointment, so talk amongst yourselves!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Have You Ever......

.... had one of THESE days?

"Hmmm, I wonder how strong that shelf is...?"


Obviously, not strong enough to resist the Bag Lady pulling on it.

She needs to rearrange her laundry room and wondered if that shelf was strong enough to hold all the large containers of laundry supplies that she buys in bulk.

Guess not.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Life's Mysteries

A few things the Bag Lady has wondered recently:

Why does a cat who spent the entire night outside go immediately to the litter box (situated in the office) when he comes into the house? And smells up the entire room. And then wants to be let back outside.

Why does Firefox crash whenever a brilliant idea presents itself, then refuses to come back online until your frustration causes you to forget whatever the hell you were planning to post about, in it's entirety, complete with amusing anecdotes?

Why is the song from a commercial on TV looping endlessly through her head, when she doesn't even watch television?

Why can't she remember the other thing she was wondering about?


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Giant Water Bug

This is a giant water bug, apparently.

Thanks to the Bag Lady's sister, Reb, for sending the Bag Lady to a website that will identify bugs for people. There were several photos from various parts of the country, asking for an identification of this huge bug.

The Rancher released the bug back into the wild this morning, and the Bag Lady is hoping he has flown back to the pond/swamp/slough from whence he came (with many stories to tell his companions about his night in captivity), and that he isn't hanging around her flowerbed, waiting to chomp on her toes!

Saturday, May 23, 2009


The Bag Lady heard the dog barking excitedly outside earlier today, then the Rancher called her on the intercom and told her to come outside. She grabbed her camera and ran out to see what the excitement was all about. It was this: (click on any of the pictures to enlarge them)

Now this beetle doesn't look like much, and for those of you who live in warmer climates, it probably isn't all that remarkable. What makes it remarkable for the Rancher and the Bag Lady is it's size. This is the biggest beetle either of them have ever seen. It measures 2 inches from it's head to it's tail and is an inch across.

The Bag Lady took a picture of it, then went inside and got a plastic container to put it in. She threw a little bit of grass and water in with it and took a couple more pictures.

She even watched while it stuck it's elephant like snout into the water and sucked some up.\

The Bag Lady is wondering if anyone out there can identify this beetle. She and the Rancher think it's probably far from home, because it is so freakin' huge!!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Week in Review

The Bag Lady wanted to share a little bit of what her week was like.

This was what Tuesday looked like on the ranch.

It was very sloppy and quite cold, and the cows had nowhere to lie down. The Rancher and the Bag Lady put out several bales of straw for bedding for the cows. The Rancher ran the loader and brought the bales. He shook them out as best he could, then the Bag Lady spread them with the pitchfork. The calves could hardly wait to lie down in the straw.

On Wednesday, the Rancher decided he wanted a cake. Every time the Bag Lady bakes something, he jokingly claims he did the work. This time the Bag Lady encouraged him to actually do it!
Here is a picture of the Apple Cake that he made (the Bag Lady helped a little):

The Bag Lady could scarcely wait for it to cool so she could try it, because it smelled so good:

She is pleased to report that it was excellent.

Here is the recipe:

Rancher's Apple Cake

4 Cups unpeeled apples, diced
2 Cups brown sugar
Mix with 3/4 Cup oil

1 Cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 beaten eggs
2 Cups flour
2 tsps cinnamon
2 tsps vanilla
2 tsps soda
1 tsp salt
Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

The Rancher had some chopped pecans left over. The Bag Lady told him he could sprinkle them on top of the icing after the cake was done, but the Rancher doesn't like icing very much, so he made a streudel topping and spread it on the cake after it had baked for half an hour.

Streudel Topping

3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
Mix together until crumbly, spread on cake, continue baking for an additional half hour.

And there you have the Rancher's Apple Cake recipe.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Catching Up

Holy crap - how did it get to be Thursday?
Where did Wednesday go?
Oh, wait - that was the day the Bag Lady spent watching the snow melt!

She has a couple of days off from taking care of the Rancher's uncle - he went to visit the Rancher's mother. He'll be back in a few days, but in the meantime, the Bag Lady will do some much-needed housework and paperwork and running around. Shopping and making phone calls and doing all the things she has neglected over the past week like long, leisurely baths, having friends over for a few beers.... paying bills and weeding the flowerbeds.

The cows made it through the snow storm without having any calves, fortunately. The weather is much more pleasant now, and the forecast is for more improvement. Perhaps summer will arrive after all!

She also has a new project on the go, but isn't quite done with it. When she finishes, she'll post some pictures for you.

Oh, and one more thing -- Peanut butter. Crunchy or Smooth?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Moody Tuesday

Here are some "mood" pictures for your viewing pleasure! (Please click on any of them to enlarge)

And this is the little calf that came into the world backwards! She is doing very well.

And finally; here are some ducks, barely visible in the straw.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Victoria Day

It's Victoria Day in Canada.

The day most Canadians spend camping and drinking or gardening and drinking and generally making fools of themselves to honour the Queen's birthday. (Well, except in Quebec - they use a different excuse for camping and drinking, but the Bag Lady's French is quite rusty and she can't exactly figure out what their excuse is! And, of course, the French don't really need an excuse to drink - but they need an excuse to go camping!)

The long weekend is early this year (it usually falls closer to May 24th) and has been quite cool and damp, at least around here. The Bag Lady is glad she is not camping this weekend. She doesn't even want to go outside and check cows because it is quite cold. The forecasted snow has not yet arrived, but it could at any time.

She got a new washing machine (All Hail VISA, All Hail VISA) and has been happily washing clothes and bedding and towels and almost threw the cat in by mistake. (such a curious little guy, he is.) She bought a front-loading Inglis and keeps thinking there is something wrong with it because it's so quiet. And doesn't seem to use very much water. But her clothes are clean, and smell clean, so it must be okay! And it's far better than a washtub and scrub board. Really.

What about the rest of you? If you are Canadian are you camping and drinking this weekend, or are you content to stay at home and put in a garden and drink this weekend?

Happy Victoria Day! Cheers! Skol! L'Chayim! Sante!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch

The Bag Lady had a very busy day today. It started at 5:45 this morning when she rolled out of bed and started the coffee. She had a quick cup, then got dressed and stumbled out to check cows. She thought she would just run out and make sure everything was okay, then go back to the house, have another cup of coffee and a hot shower, and take Uncle to town for his appointments at 9 am.
The best laid plans.....

When she got out to the far end of the pasture, she discovered that one of the cows was indeed calving. So she watched from a distance for awhile, then decided to go back to the house for a minute. While she was back at the house, she grabbed the walkie-talkie (which she had forgotten - must have been still half asleep), and set the other one beside the bed where the Rancher was still snoozing.

She got back to the pasture and had a good look at the cow and realized that the little feet that were sticking out of said cow were pointing their little soles at the sky! Now that may not mean much to most of you city folks, but it spells bad news to ranchers.

Quick lesson in cow parturition: In a normal birth, the first things to appear are the calf's front feet. Then, occasionally, you can see it's tongue laid along it's legs. Then it's nose appears, and the rest of the body follows along. If the front feet appear, the bottom of the feet are pointing at the ground, just as if it could launch itself out of the cow and land on it's feet. If those first little feet that appear are pointing at the sky, it means the calf is backwards.

Now this may not seem like a terrible thing, and, indeed, if someone is there to assist, a calf presenting backwards can be saved. But if there is no-one there to help, the calf almost always dies, because as soon as the umbilical cord is severed, the calf takes a deep breath. If his head still happens to be inside the cow (which it almost invariably will be) when the umbilical cord breaks, the first breath he takes will be amniotic fluid, and he drowns.

Fortunately, the Bag Lady appeared on the scene before this happened, and managed to rouse the Rancher. Together, they got the cow into the barn, got her tied to a post and the Rancher assisted the birth. He had to use a come-along (in case you don't know what that is, it is a pulley/ratchet thingy (yes, that is the technical term!) that is very strong, and can be used to winch things that are heavy) to help pull the calf, but he managed to save her life! Here is a very blurry picture of momma cow inspecting the critter who caused her so much pain:
(click on any of the pictures to enlarge them in all their blurry glory - not that it helps!)

The Bag Lady apologizes for the quality of the pictures - she was in a hurry, and the barn was very dark.
This is a come-along (or, rather, part of one - the Bag Lady really was in a hurry!):

She ran to the house after the calf was born, doused her head in the bathroom sink (she had brushed up against the cattle oiler when they were moving the cow to the barn and had malathion and diesel fuel in her hair!) changed her clothes and managed to get Uncle to his appointment at 8:59 am! (Even though her hair was still wet!)
The rest of the day was filled with making sure Uncle was where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be, then grocery shopping and other errands.
The Rancher bought some square bales so it would be easier to feed the cow in the barn (she will be kept in there overnight because the weather is lousy!)

And here is an example of the lousy weather. A thunderstorm blew through late in the afternoon, bringing with it some pea-sized hail:

And there it is storming again right now - hailing again, but will probably turn to snow. Sigh.

The Bag Lady wanted to share a little cuteness with you today, too. This is the calf that was born a couple of days ago, goose-stepping his way over to momma for some milk:

Here's a Question....

When you wash your hands and there is a bath-size towel to dry them with, do you take it completely off the rack to use the center of the towel, or do you just dry your hands on the edge, then straighten it neatly on the rack again?

(In other words, is anyone else a fanatical neat freak like the Bag Lady?)

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This was yesterday morning:

It's still cold today, but the snow has melted. The stuff that is still falling occasionally isn't sticking, either.

Here are the latest additions to the ranch:

And the Bag Lady is about to start the rounds of taking Uncle to the doctors and various appointments and cancer clinic and all the running around that goes along with that sort of thing.
She will try to keep up with all of you, but may not always have time to leave comments. She hopes you will all bear with her....

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Oh, Give Me a Home Where the Buffalo Roam....

...and I'll show you a house full of shit!

The Rancher and the Bag Lady made a little day trip today to a town a couple of hours away to pick up the Rancher's uncle. He had surgery several weeks ago, and is back in town for some follow-up treatment. He will be staying with the Rancher and the Bag Lady, so the Bag Lady will be busy helping him get to appointments and such.

The trip was fraught with sightings of swans, but unfortunately, the Bag Lady was not quick enough on the draw with her camera, so you'll just have to take her word for it! She saw swans on three separate ponds, as well as a sandhill crane in yet another location. She did manage to get a picture of a field full of buffalo..... (click on the picture to enlarge)

Her computer time might be slightly infringed upon by her house guest, so try not to have too much fun without her, okay?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weekend Report

It's very common in this neck of the woods to wait until the long weekend in May to plant the garden. Victoria Day falls on May 18th this year, which is next Monday.

The Bag Lady and the Rancher are not common people, though, so they planted their garden this weekend! The Bag Lady just checked the forecast for this week, and she is happy to report that they are predicting moisture on Tuesday. Unhappily, that moisture is supposed to be in the form of snow..... sigh.

Along with planting the garden, the Bag Lady and the Rancher did a tour of the ranch and collected up all the old tires that they had scattered here and there, having used them for various things (weights to hold down the tarps over the haystacks, for one thing) and took them to the landfill. Whilst there, the Rancher threw a tire that was full of dirty water out of the truck. Unfortunately, it didn't land exactly how and where expected, and the water splashed out of the tire. The Bag Lady saw it coming, and managed to move far enough that it did NOT hit her full in the face, but did get her quite wet and dirty from the waist down. Lovely, stinking water that had been standing in that tire for a long time!

So the Bag Lady decided this morning that she had to wash clothes. Then she recalled that the last time she ran her washing machine, the floor felt wet, so she pulled it away from the wall to watch the hoses to see if they were leaking. All went well, until she pushed the machine back into place and discovered the floor was wet. The bottom of the tub turned out to be the culprit, which, according to the expert she consulted, probably means she needs a new washing machine.

And last, but not least, another calf made an appearance on the weekend! I promised kcinnova to name the next male calf after her, but this one is female. So, unless kcinnova wants to wait until we have a male, we'll name this one Casey!

Friday, May 8, 2009


The Bag Lady had big plans for a video for you today, but her computer had other ideas. Freakin' thing won't let her load the pictures from her camera into her computer, so there goes that plan!

Instead, she will share some cuteness with you. Here is the Rancher, with a friends' grand-daughter, going out to look at the baby calves (Grandpa is keeping a close eye on things off to the left.)

She had to be carried back from the pasture because her rubber boots gave her a blister, but she was pretty excited about those baby cows! And a Bandaid fixed the blister.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Last One Standing.

JavaChick mentioned in a recent blog post about her dislike of team sports, which got me thinking about how certain things shape you and your outlook on life.

When I was young, I despised team sports. I was not the most coordinated kid, and certainly one of the "outcasts" - tall, skinny, awkward. I was invariably chosen last, or next to last, for whatever team sport we happened to be forced to play. I was a shy, sensitive child, and afraid of everything. With good reason - my face seemed to be a magnet for whatever ball happened to be in my vicinity! I was hit with baseballs, volleyballs, basketballs and medicine balls. In the face. Every time. And occasionally on purpose.

The team captains were always the most popular girls in school, and excelled at sports. They would fight over the other girls in their clique, leaving the rest of us standing there, dreading the moment when we would be the last one standing; alone, unchosen. It was a horrible feeling to know in your heart that you and the mentally handicapped girl in class would be vying for last place! I still remember in elementary school, standing on the windy ball diamond, alone and humiliated, when the team captain said something to the effect that she guessed she'd have to take me in order to even out the teams .... I blamed the wind for the tears in my eyes!

It was a cruel way to choose teams, and it wasn't until junior high school that we finally had a teacher who seemed to recognize it and divided the teams more equitably by lining us up and taking every second girl for the opposing team. Didn't take the popular girls long to figure out how to get around that by standing with the girls they didn't want on their team in between them! But it saved the rest of us the humiliation of standing alone, waiting to be chosen.

Of course, I did exact a small measure of revenge on some of those girls. I could whip a lot of their butts when it came to badminton or some of the track and field sports! But the humiliation experienced on the ball diamond has stayed with me all these years, and I think it has shaped how I view myself and my place in the world.

So you can keep your baseball bats and soccer balls, but put a badminton racquet in my hand and you'd better watch out! I will be the last one standing.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Here are some random photos from the past few days.

The Bag Lady goes out early every morning to check the cows, looking for new calves. This is one of the sights she sees on her early morning forays (the dugout where the cows go to drink)

Here is the latest addition to the herd:

And the Bag Lady spotted a flock of swans flying over the ranch the other day. She did her best to take a photo of them (but got mostly sky, which is why it is an unusual shape - she tried to crop it to make it easier to see the swans.)

Thanks to Hilary for correctly identifying the logo on the grass seeder as a Lely. If you haven't seen Hilary's blog, check it out because you are really missing out on some fabulous photographs!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Can You Read This?

Here's something for all of you to ponder.

This is an old-fashioned grass-seeder, and the lettering is all but worn off. Can anyone figure out what it says?

Of course, there is no prize involved, just the satisfaction of being able to tell the Bag Lady what it says!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Close Encounter of the Glass Kind

Tragedy almost struck at the Bag Lady's house the other day! She was inside, just about to go outside, when she heard a thump - a bird had struck her kitchen window! She went outside as the Rancher, who had been walking toward the house, picked the unfortunate thing up out of the flower bed. The Bag Lady corralled the cats in the house, and she and the Rancher had a good look at the little finch.

He did not appear to have broken anything, but he was certainly stunned. The Rancher set him on the ground, but the Bag Lady decided that wasn't a good idea, so she picked him up and held him for a few minutes. His beak was open, almost like he was having trouble breathing. He made a little trilling sound and started blinking his eyes.

He finally seemed to be recovering well enough to stand on his own, and his digestive system was still working, so the Bag Lady set him on the feeder. She watched from a little distance away as he tried to reorient himself.

After about 5 minutes, he seemed much better, so the Bag Lady went up to him and offered her finger - he stepped up on it, looked her in the eye, then flew away!

These little finches had been hanging around the Bag Lady's bird feeders for a couple of days, but they are notoriously shy and difficult to photograph, so the Bag Lady was pleased to have the opportunity to get a closer look. She was also quite relieved that the poor little guy survived his close encounter with her kitchen window.