Friday, January 27, 2012

Andy Heads to the Cow Camp Cutting Circuit

After recently relocating to Tioga, Texas, our son, Andy, took advantage of the many opportunities for cutting competitions in the area by heading out this weekend for the Cow Camp Cutting Circuit in Sulphur Springs, Texas. Riding, Demi, a red roan mare he purchased and trained for owner, Dawn Joyce, Andy was pleased to win the first round of the 4 year old open class on Thursday. Congratulations, Andy!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Storm's A Brewin'

An acquaintance recently posted the weather forecast for our part of the world on Facebook: “They are calling for 16'' of snow and gusts up to 90 mph... wow... and more coming on the weekend... yahoo... love a good storm.”

I immediately thought, “I understand her feelings.” There’s nothing like a storm to make the comforts of a fire and a hot meal stand out in relief at the end of the daily routine. Then I thought, “I suppose there are others who could do just as well without, those who prefer warm and dry weather climes; or Pete, like other livestock owners, who worry about their stock surviving a 'good storm'.” But, I believe there is a certain draw to winter’s weather drama: the atmospheric world sounding off, blowing in and blowing out, leaving earth bound creatures the gift of powder for recreation and moisture to sustain life as we know it. This winter we are indeed thirsting for that moisture. We are in the midst of record winter drought in northwestern Colorado with snow pack at 43% of a normal winter year.

As sentient creatures of the physical world, I imagine we may long for interaction with weather’s heartbeat, its wildness, its potential to both destroy and nurture the landscape we inhabit. After this winter’s unusual quiet and meager snowfall, perhaps we’re anxious for the next passage, not unlike the audience awaiting the a change in pace and mood of an orchestral symphony. I feel as though the adagio movement of this winter's symphony has overstayed its welcome. I thirst for a new rhythm to inhabit our landscape, perhaps an allegretto or with the hurricane force winds forecasted, a prestissimo, the most rapid of symphonic movements.

So, if the "good storm" arrives and we storm lovers can hole up in front of a fire with a throw and a book, I will, as I always do, look forward to both the excitement of a new movement in winter's symphony as well as the reassurance of the nest - swaddled in creature comforts, warmed by the fire.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Emma Has Cataract Surgery

As I write, Emma's resting quietly on the bed next to me in a hotel in Denver. She had cataracts removed and a lens implant placed in her left eye this morning with Dr. Chavkin of the Veterinary Referral Clinic of Colorado (VRCC). According to Dr. Chavkin, "The surgery went well. It was as close to textbook as it could have been. The lens implant fit perfectly: just like it was meant for her."

I breathed a sigh of relief. While I was optimistic about the procedure and Emma's ability to withstand the surgery, I know there is a greater risk with cataract surgery in Boston Terriers. There is a 90% success rate with most dog breeds and a 70% success rate in Bostons. As Dr. Chavkin explained, the surgery itself may be highly successful, but there seem to be more post-surgery complications. Emma's eye looks terrific this afternoon and I'll hope with good aftercare, hers will be a success story.

We will see Dr. Chavkin very early in the morning for a brief follow-up and then we'll come back for additional follow-ups at one, two, and four weeks. In the days ahead, Emma will be on numerous medications to reduce inflammation and fight possible infection. She also sports an Elizabethan collar to prevent her from scratching at her eye.

Now the impossible must be accomplished: keeping Emma quiet for two weeks. When I came to pick up Emma, the vet tech, Ann, smiled and said, "Emma's doing very well. She's back there (in recovery) acting as though there's nothing wrong. Like, 'What surgery?' " From my experience with Emma after her luxating patella surgeries, she's so sturdy she does act as though the surgery were a breeze. So, the next two weeks will be a challenge to keep her relatively quiet and her eye safe and trauma-free.

I marvel at what state of the art technology and well-trained fine motor skills can do in such a small space. Emma and I are grateful to Dr. Chavkin for, not only his tremendous expertise, but his thoughtful care. We're pretty excited about Emma's new gift of sight which will gradually become clearer and clearer over the next month.

For those interested in seeing first-hand a cataract removal and lens implant surgery, go to the following You Tube video:

For more information on the Veterinary Referral Clinic of Colorado, go to:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Morning Chores

After one last sip of coffee, I donned my full Carhart winter gear, Muck boots, hat, gloves, and pulled my fleece quarter-zip up to my chin. The thermometer said nine below zero. Today I followed along as Pete did his morning chores. Whenever he leaves to go out of town, this is our drill. I'm reminded each time how many pounds of grain and, or hay each group of horses and steers get each day. I told Pete, "I've got it covered. You know how good cheap help is." He quipped, "As good as it costs."

The routine today and tomorrow is relatively simple. Grain to the performance horses, brood mares, our stallion, Riggs, and the babies plus Hercules the goat. Every few days Pete does quite a bit more, filling the feeders with round bales for all twenty-five horses, and when needed, snow blowing the ranch driveway, barnyard, and in the deep of winter, feed trails.

So, I get to push the "Easy" button tomorrow morning. That is with one caveat: the roping steers went down river the other day and ended up at the neighbors. I told Pete, "The only thing I worry a little bit about is the roping steers heading out." Reassuringly he said, "Don't worry. Now that it's so cold, I don't think they'll go anywhere."

As I write I like to think he's right. But on a rather consistent basis, when Pete leaves town, something happens at the ranch, whether I'm on watch or not. So, I'll be watching and hoping this still and frigid day remains a quiet one. If there's excitement, I'll keep readers posted.

Friday, January 6, 2012


If you haven't heard the story about Hachi, a supremely loyal Akita, I'd encourage you to check out the movie this weekend and grab your Kleenex. This poignant drama is based on a true story of the relationship between Hachi and his master, played by Richard Gere. After his master's premature death, Hachi waits unfailingly for more than a decade for his master to return to the train station.

While watching Hachi: A Dog's Tale, I found myself wondering about the emotional connections dogs have to their owners. Would Emma, my Boston Terrier, wait for me at the train station for more than ten years? If lost at a great distance, would she find her way back to me? I looked at both Emma and Griz last night differently--perhaps their emotional attachment is much greater than I ever imagined.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Champion for Local Writers

I'd like to thank Sue Leonard for her support of local Steamboat authors. She is consistently cheering on those of us who write through her consulting business, Cornerstone Fullfillment Service, her local work with CIPA (Colorado Independent Publishers), and through the creation of our local Steamboat SHeWrites independent publishers group.

Sue recently offered to write a column about the local writing community for our local newspaper. Her most recent column was written after Karen Gilroy, author of Discovering the Healer Within, and I presented readings of our work to the public at our local library. To read the full column, where she writes about living a fulfilling life, please go to:

Happy New Year, Everyone!

May 2012 prove to be a fulfilling year for each of you.