Sunday, January 22, 2017

Goodbye Rudy

This weekend we said goodbye to an auxiliary member of the Bagley Pack.  Rudy was an accomplished hunting dog and beloved companion of Joel and Anna McElhany, and their children, Jamey and Laura.  He was with his family for sixteen wonderful years.

Rudy was a frequent visitor at the farm, and until he slowed down in his later years, he ran with the Pack and explored every corner of our 225 acres.  He is shown here on the left in a photo taken several years ago with Kota, Lucky Dog, Nickie, Louie and Molly.

Rudy was a free spirit, and followed his nose on many adventures.  He sometimes went “off the reservation” with Cousin Molly in search of a rabbit, deer, or other game that had escaped beyond our fences.  I think the two of them were once recovered more than two miles away when a neighbor corralled them along one of the county roads and called to report them found.

If there is a flaw in God’s plan, it may be that our dogs don’t have as many years as we do.  It’s hard to let them go, but maybe their lives are shorter for a reason.  When we lost our Nickie several years ago, a friend sent me a copy of the following:

“It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog who comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart.  If I live long enough, all the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and loving as they are.”    Anonymous 

Maybe this is just God's way of making sure we have plenty of opportunities to enjoy that special relationship we have with our loyal companions.  We will miss Sweet Rudy.  If we become as generous and loving as he was, we will all certainly be better people.


Monday, January 16, 2017

Moo-cows in the Mist

Last weekend at the farm wasn’t typical of a North Central Texas January, if there is such a thing.  Beginning Friday morning and all through Sunday, we had unseasonably warm temperatures as high as the mid 60s, mist and drizzle.  Thick fog muffled our footsteps and left everything covered in dew.

Every blade of grass and small plant was decked out in shimmering beads of moisture.

Even the tiny silver-dollar-size spiderwebs were bejeweled.

The moo-cows, as we called them when we were kids, appeared out of the mist with soft appeals for a bale of hay or some range cubes.

Their coats looked frosty from the moisture clinging to them.

The dogs ran ahead and disappeared into the fog.

Kota made a side trip to the lower stock tank and flushed a couple of dozen ducks from their resting places.

The air was so heavy you could hardly hear their wing-beats as they rose from the pond and circled overhead.

The moisture wasn’t especially needed this week, as we have had recent rains.  However, we will never turn it down.  And I’ll never turn down a walk through the pasture in the magical mist.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2017 Here We Come

January is not even half over, and already we’re having adventures.  

We were glad we could start 2017 with family and friends. New Year’s Day found us just east of Cranfills Gap, Texas, at the home of Cousins Kathy and Eric Vanderbeck.  Their “Micro Farm” is only about 15 miles from our farm as the crow flies, but transit between our places over several country roads takes about a half-hour.  The weather was more like April than January, with nary a jacket in sight.  A couple of Kathy and Eric’s neighbors joined us, the Joneses, the Carmodys and Sunny and Tisha, Eric and Kathy’s son and daughter-in-law.  

New Year’s Day lunch included elk ribs and appropriate libations and of course, blackeyed peas.  The guys were trying out their survival skills making fires from scratch and turning yucca leaves into cordage.  

Tisha tended a suckling pig roasted over an outdoor fire.  

Rachel modeled flower headbands.

And the six Bagley Pack members had a doggone good time!  (No, we haven't lost our minds and acquired more dogs.  We just count as pack members not only our three, but all the dog cousins belonging to our various relatives.  Right now, there are eight in all; sometimes they almost outnumber the human family members.)

On January 2, Allan and Jef’s other daughter and her family arrived at the farm to spend a few days.  Jamey and Laura joined their cousins, Noah and Rachel.

And Cousin Rudy, still going strong at age 16, joined the rest of the dogs who, as usual, were all trying to out-mark each other.  If grass ever grows in our backyard, it will be a miracle.

Back home, we hooked up our Royals fifth wheel on January 9, and pulled it south of Austin to Aguirrie’s Paint & Body Shop in Kyle for repair work.  The rig needs some fiberglass work to fix a couple of bo-bos from when we lost a wheel in 2015, and to repair the brackets holding our rear levelers.  We dropped her off and hope to have her back in early February.

And speaking of adventures, on the way home, driving the truck bob-tail, we were ginning along the 130 toll road back to Austin when suddenly the truck lost all power.  I’m not saying the engine quit, I’m saying all power!  We not only had no power to move the truck, we had no lights, no emergency flashers…Nothing!  John coasted over onto the shoulder and at least got us out of traffic…just barely.  The shoulder is only a few inches wider than the wheelbase of the truck.  That’s really scary when cars and big trucks are flying by at 80 mph just a few feet away.  

We tried to start the engine, but got no response of any kind.  We put out our emergency signals behind the truck and called our roadside assistance company.  Bad news, when we finally got someone who understood that we were driving a Volvo truck, and that we needed a heavy-duty wrecker to tow it, we were told it would take an hour to get someone to us.  Sundown was fast approaching, and we had no lights of any kind.  John decided to try one more time to start the truck.  Thank you, God.  It started, and we were able to drive home.  I didn’t know it was possible to hold one’s breath for half an hour, but I think we did.  Some of the dash lights and instruments were not working, but the diesel engine did its job and we made it home just before dark.  We’re baffled about what could cause that kind of a problem, but will have our mechanic check it out as soon as possible.  

And just as I thought we had had enough adventures for one day, I heard furious barking from the front yard.  John went outside to see what was causing the commotion, and found Rue outside the gate and Kota inside.  Kota was barking frantically to let us know we needed to come and let Rue back inside, and Rue was chiming in from her side of the fence, begging to come home.  Smart dogs.  

We enjoyed seeing all our family over the holidays, but were especially glad to spend time with our grandson, Gage Wann.  He has successfully completed his first semester at Angelo State University in San Angelo, and will be returning the end of this week.  We had lunch with Gage a couple of times, then walked Turkey Creek Nature Trail with him and his girlfriend, Rachel.  

Boomerang weather last week (low 20s) and this (80s) have kept us alternately layering up and peeling off clothes.  I don’t know what the rest of this Texas “winter” will hold, but it’s sure to be interesting!  We're just thrilled that the stock ponds at the farm are still full, and that there is plenty of grass for the cattle.  Of course, the dogs think the ponds are there just for them to swim.