Friday, August 8, 2014

From Then Until Now

Immediately upon my return to Austin from Alexandria, John and I hurried back to check things at the farm.  We found one of our cows, designated B1, with a week-old black bull calf.  Then, shortly after lunch on Thursday, I discovered another of our cows lying on the ground, surrounded by her sisters.  She was struggling and bawling, obviously in labor.  I’m not sure if the other cows were giving her moral support or protecting her from coyotes, but they were very attentive, mooing their concern.  

I rushed to find John in case the cow needed help delivering her calf.  About 15 minutes later, we returned to find her on her feet, licking a brand-new heifer calf.  We sat quietly about 20 yards away and watched the baby struggle to her feet and take her first steps.  Only then did the other cows drift away to let mother and daughter get acquainted.  It was quite a thrill.  

Luckily, the bluebonnets were still in full bloom and even more spectacular than before I left.  

There were even some unusual pink ones as well as white.

The weather was lovely and cool, and we had a great time.  The dogs not only posed for me in the bluebonnets, but entertained us with spirited dog tussles and bouts of "capture the stick." 

Kota clearly thinks the bigger her stick, the less chance someone will take it from her!

We saw more wildflowers on the way to Lake Jackson, John’s home town, for Easter.  

His mother, Maxine Johnston, and her husband Vic, showed us a lovely time and we had a good visit.  Here are the four of us before church on Sunday.

Back in Austin, Rue and I prepared for a herding trial May 10 and 11 sanctioned by the American Herding Breeds Association and put on by the Texas Herding Association, of which I am a member.  Based on our experience at the trial earlier in the spring, I was hopeful that we would do well and perhaps even complete the requirements for a “Started” dog in one of the classes.  NOT!  Our performance was dismal.  Rue flew around the course like a BB in a boxcar…..paying not one iota of attention to my commands.  The first day we at least completed our courses, but on the second day she was so out of control that I removed her from the ring in each of her three classes.  We have some serious work to do before we are ready to compete again!  Thank goodness no one was taking pictures of us.

However, many of the other dogs had stellar performances.  Here are a couple of them working in the various classes.  

Memorial Day weekend at the farm was a family fun-fest.  Kathy and Eric brought their horses and new pack member, Cere.  We were all sad that their sweet Jack had passed away a few days before.  However, Cere with her black and white Border Collie markings fit right in with our dogs and Cousin Molly.  

A sad footnote is that Cere, a rescue, apparently had an unknown condition that resulted in her death from liver failure a short time later.  We mourn her loss, along with that of Feathers and Nickie, who joined our family on Memorial Day weekend in 2006, and who were taken from us all too soon, and Lucky Dog, who managed the Bagley Pack with firmness and patience until her death in 2011.

June brought another visit from Eugenia, who came back to Austin on the 8th to attend her granddaughter’s high school graduation.  After those festivities were over, the two of us made a short trip to the farm for a little R and R.  We took a day trip to Clifton shortly after arriving to do a wine tasting at the Red Caboose Winery Tasting Room.  On the way back to the farm, we came through a torrential downpour that left the bar ditches full of muddy water and downed branches across the county road.  Unfortunately, most of the rain did not reach the farm, which continues to be very dry.

We were more fortunate on Monday.  A cool front brought a heavy rain and cooler temperatures.  Eugenia and I also took another excursion to the nearby town of Hico for supper at the Koffee Kup.  This small restaurant has been named among the State’s best location for pie and for another Texas favorite, chicken-fried steak.  We had both, and then waddled around town peeking in windows and visiting with local residents.  

For an excellent description of our trip, along with lots of photos, visit Eugenia’s blog, From the 14th Floor, which can be found at

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