Dear Friends and Family and Fans,
Life in the country can be rough sometimes and it seems in recent years most of my emailed "Latest from the Ranch" letters announced the demise of one or another of my cherished critters. But, assuming I'm not jinxing myself by declaring it seven days prematurely, Rancho Mucho Caca has made an entire year without a death. Thank you, Lord!
It also went an entire year without new kittens in the garage for me to raise. Thank you, the Friends of the Ferals free Trap, Neuter, Release program that paid to spay and neuter about 15 of the resident ferals that visit my garage.
The only animals to leave RMC this year went to new homes. After leasing him out for over three years, the mustang Nevada came home in May and was permanently re-homed three days later to a wonderful new home on three acres with a knowledgeable and loving owner. A few months later she entered him in his first ACTHA (American Competitive Trail Horse Association) competition and he won the Pleasure class and the Best Groomed award. So they are happy as can be with him, and I am as happy as I can be with them, and I think the horse is pretty content with his life too. I signed him over to them in July so my official horse count has finally dropped to three for the first time since Dawn was born six years ago.
Also leaving the ranch were five of my remaining seven chickens. I gave them to my neighbor and riding buddy because I was getting over three dozen eggs a week and I eat about three eggs a month. The only condition was that I was to get a couple dozen eggs for my Christmas baking every year. So those five hens are happily supplying Tessa and Dan with eggs and my two remaining hens, Marilyn and Britney, lay an egg or two every week or so which supplies me with an occasional egg to go with an occasional pancake.
Finally leaving the ranch two days ago were Taz and Hissy, the cats I've tried to give to every friend, relative, client, and visiting stranger, and a few online acquaintances on the other side of the country for the past year. These were formely feral kittens that I raised and then due to them becoming ill was not able to adopt them out through the Humane Society. They recovered quickly but I just haven't been able to rehome them and there were conflicts with my other four cats, primarily with Princess Alfie, who was displaced as the baby and was no longer the sole female.
The nightly cat fights between Alfie and Hissy came to an end when I called in to Trades n Sales, a small town radio show where people can call in with stuff for free, for sale, for trade, or stuff they are trying to find. I had barely hung up the phone when "Billy" called and expressed interest. I took the cats over to Billy and his wife, Crystal, spent some time with them, then left the cats. I'm hoping all will work out because I told them I'd take them back if it didn't, and I'm REALLY enjoying sleeping through the night without being awakened by a snarling catfight under the bed.
Peace at last.
Returning to the Ranch was Dottie, who has been in Oregon for a year on a lease that didn't work out after she developed crippling arthritis. After a cold wet winter last year, I decided it would be better to have her winter in Arizona where it is warmer and drier so I flew to Oregon in October and my friend Jackie and I did a three-day road trip with horse and Jackie's dog Sydney to bring Dottie home to her daughters.
We've tried an HA injection that seems to have eased a lot of her arthritis symptoms and she's enjoying her semi-retirement with her daughters, Dash and Dawn. I wrote about Dottie a few posts ago when the kids were up here.
While I loved having her in Oregon up to her knees in grass all summer, I'm glad to have her back for the winter. I wish I could let her go back to Oregon in the summer again but the travel is hard on her and the gas bill is hard on my budget so I think she's home to stay.
The ranch is now populated by three horses, Dottie, Dash, and Dawn; the sheep named John Deere (my weedeater); two dogs, Daisy and Lacey; two chickens, Marilyn and Britney; four indoor cats, Bugsy, Bernstein, Alfie, and Max; five resident feral cats who live in my garage, Jessica, Licorice, Moose, Pops, and Bashful; and probably a half-dozen transient feral cats who come by for a meal but don't regularly stay in the garage, including Sheba and Stripes whom I often see coming and going, and who knows how many others who slip in during the night to eat and are gone by morning. (I go through a LOT of cat food out there!)
I have embraced the label of "crazy cat lady" and wear the term like a badge of honor.
Oh . . . I live here too.
I'm still doing accounting and tax work for over 100 clients, and have had a few book sales this year. My book is now available for e-readers and there have been some sales! I feel like a real writer now that some total strangers have bought a copy, many in Australia and the UK and even one to someone in China. Wow! Ha ha, I'm an internationally published author now. Go figure.
The other noteworthy thing I've done this year is that I have joined the newly-formed (a year ago) Gila County Sheriff's Mounted Posse and a few months ago spent three days on my first search, two days on Dawn, and one grueling day on Dash (see "Riding with the Boys" in the October section of my blog).
I wish everyone a Merry Christmas or Happy Hannukah and a healthful and prosperous new year.
And that's the latest from the Ranch.