Ranch Advice

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Ranch Advice

“These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.”Anton Chekhov

I visited my friend’s ranch and winery in Creston, California for a few days. Here are some of the lessons  that I have learned.

When you take an egg from a hen, pet her and leave one egg for her to sit on.

Have empathy for those around you even if they are chickens.

Feed the animals early in the morning. It even says that in the Bible. Feed the animals before yourself. Once you are responsible for something, you must take care of it.

Every time we went hiking or rode in the four by four vehicle. Bandit ran along side of us. The dog ran all day long, stopping to jump in the lake or horse trough to cool off. Bandit is not afraid to get down and dirty rolling in the dirt to dry off. What are we so afraid of? We don’t always have to be clean and perfect all the time. Physical exercise and activity is scientifically proven to release endorphins, making us happier. That’s why  Bandit  looks happiest when he is running.

 The white dogs, Blanche and Stanley (named after Donna’s parents) protect the house all night long and sleep during the day. They have a purpose and they are faithful. There are no ulterior motives, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges.

The fourth dog Lizzie  knows the importance of family and quiet time which is something we all need. She sits in the four by four with Barry when he goes out. 

Looking at the sheep, cows, horses  and their babies, connects us back to how simple life is supposed to be.

Just assume that every gun is loaded. It’s the first rule of gun safety. Guns on a ranch are tools. It is the crazy person that was able to buy the gun legally that is the problem.There are  certain things that you should always be careful around.

You were so close. Try again. I think this one is self-explanatory.

 Pass the bush and turn right at the tree. It’s taken me a long time to learn the importance of good directions. Know when it’s time to make positive changes. Proactively make the change for yourself or they may be made for you.

An alluvial fan is a fan-shaped deposit of sediment crossed and built up over thousands of years by streams.

In dry areas they help with irrigation. Beauty and art take time. 

Hiking up a hill for me is harder than going down but going down is tricky. The secret is to be unaffected either way. 

Being in nature, deepens our human connection to the world. It just makes you feel better to pay attention to the sights and sounds of the ranch.

It helps to have a Fernando. Everyone should have someone in their life who is kind, helpful, responsible, intelligent, creative and there for you. It is good to have people around who support what you do with or without a plan. 

If a gate is closed, leave it closed. If a gate is open, leave it open.

There will always be closed gates or doors but others will be open. Have faith and keep moving forward.

Thanks to Donna and Barry whose hearts are even bigger than the ranch.

And Maureen (camper of the days) and Mike for making it such a fun trip.

Fly safe,

JAZ

I Know This Is A Travel Blog But My Dog Died

I Know This Is A Travel Blog But My Dog Died

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them, Filling an emptiness we don’t even know we have.” Thom Jones

I know that this is a travel blog but Basquiat was my first dog. He was black, part French, slept in a box for a minute, and looked like he had short dreadlocks. He reminded me of an artist I liked, Jean Michel Basquiat during his short dreadlock, sleep in a box period. He was my empty nest dog. I was having lunch near a pet store and walked in and a little black puppy came up to me. I thought he was saying “Hi I’d like you to be my owner,“ so I bought him. What I now know was that he was saying ”Hi, I’m in charge here.“ And that has been our relationship for the past nine and a half years. I thought dogs were supposed to live longer than that.

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He seemed to be everything a dog should be – loyal, friendly, good-tempered, grateful and smart – very smart. He understood a lot of words. I think he got my jokes. Though like my kids, he appeared to be deaf when he did something wrong.

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He was affectionate and a hugger. When you took him in the car, the first thing he did was hug the driver (whether it was me or someone we didn’t know) He would put his paws around your neck and say thank you for taking me in your car. He would bark when he had something to say. He believed he could talk.

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My son had just moved back from college when I got him and so he adopted the lifestyle of a 21-year-old. He woke up between eight thirty and ten thirty AM. He had his first meal at three and his second at 11pm and went to bed around two. I could never break him of that long after my son moved out. He was not an eater. He preferred to be hand fed or eat people food. Basquiat would go on a hunger strike like Gandhi but with a lot more drama till he got what he wanted to eat. I always caved first. He liked fresh water. If it wasn’t fresh he would stand at the bowl and bark. He was afraid of drowning. If a water bowl was too big he wouldn’t drink from it or he would stand too far away to get any water. Basq’s best friend was Ernie next door. I never saw him play with another dog the way he played with Ernie. They had a real bond. I didn’t know animals could be best friends. I thought that was only in Disney movies.

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Dogs love you unconditionally. They don’t see your neuroses, flaws, disabilities or any of the other things that cause the judgment that the human brain does. I think that dogs see into your heart and make their decisions from there. My dog’s love and support has gotten me through a lot of tough times. It will be difficult to get through loss without him. He was around for a lot of changes in my life.

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The hardest thing about loving a dog is his life span. In that short time they live in the moment, always give a hundred per cent and make you feel that you are their reason for being. I will miss him terribly. I will miss his dramatics of acting like he will never see me again every time I leave the house without him. I will miss him coming to greet me at the door every time I come home like I have been away for weeks. I will miss our imaginary conversations. I have a good dog voice for him. I will miss being the focus of his love, faith and trust. His only fault was that he lived too short of a time.

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He had a great life. He was a bit spoiled and well taken of especially when his heart began to fail. When I die, I want to come back as the first dog of a woman who’s youngest child has just gone off to college.

Fly safe Basq

JAZ

The Suitcase

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” – Jack Kerouac

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The Suitcase

Sometimes, packing takes me a long time. I would like to take my suitcase out the week before and see what fits but I  can’t because of my dog. I have to wait until the last possible second.

Dogs live in the present moment.  I spend a lot of time and money learning how to live in the present moment. Here is the bad thing.  When my dog sees the suitcase, all he knows is that I am leaving. He doesn’t remember what will happen to him.   In his mind, he will be alone  and there will be no food.. He has forgotten that he might be sleeping with my son,  playing with Olga’s kids,  going everywhere with Julie or hiking  all day with KT. He is not locked up in a kennel.  He gets a lot of attention when I am gone.  He has forgotten that when I return,  he will sit at the front door for three days waiting for these people. He has forgotten that after a big welcome back, he will ignore me for those three days.

He walks into my bedroom  with his tail wagging and  sees the suitcase. His whole body droops. He lies down and puts his paws over his eyes. If that doesn’t work ,  he sits on my clothes as I am packing them.  He  rolls  around on them to leave his smell so I remember him.  When he can’t stand it anymore, he leaves the room . He walks slowly with his head down and his tail between his legs.  He looks back every few seconds to  see if I  understand the severity of what I am doing to him.

He returns an hour later. He is running  with a toy and wagging his tail.  He has forgotten.  He stops short . “Oh no, it’s the SUITCASE ,” and the drama begins  again.

Fly Safe,

JAZ