Saturday, March 28, 2009

Winter vs. Spring (March Madness)

The evil forces of winter are locked in battle with the gentle forces of spring. Or, at least that is the look of things at Rock Eddy Bluff Farm right now. Actually, we love winter. It is just that, right now we are sick of it. Its kinda like a well-loved relative whose only fault is that he has overstayed his welcome. The same thing happens every March. We've come to expect it.
But, Geez, here it is the last of March and we are expecting snow this afternoon. Temps in the low thirties. We'll be covering up plants for the night.

We will sit by the fire this afternoon and reflect on the coming of spring. And, I'll consider a couple of snatches of poetry that always come to mind this time of year. I'll recall them from memory, so apologies in advance to Edna St. Vincent Millay and John Niehardt for the mistakes.

"Spring rides no horses down the hill/ But comes on foot, a goosegirl still./ And all the loveliest things there be/ Come simply, or so it seems to me" Edna St. Vincent Millay

The other slice of a long work comes from an epic poem , titled "The Upstream Men", about Ashley's Hundred, a group of explorers that went up the Missouri River in the early 1800's. They departed just as spring was moving into the countryside. (I have to admit that I went back to the book; my memory of this passage butchered it badly.)

"And so they say/ Went forth a hundred singing men that day;/ And girlish April went ahead of them. The music of her trailing garment hem/ Seemed scarce a league ahead. A little speed/ might yet almost surprise her in the deed/ Of sorcery; for, ever as they strove,/ A gray-green smudge in every poplar grove/ Proclaimed the recent kindling. Aye, it seemed/ That bird and bush and tree had only dreamed/ Of song and leaf and blossom, till they heard/ The young men's feet; when tree and bush and bird/ Unleased the whole conspiracy of awe!/ Pale green was every slough about the Kaw;/ About the Platte pale green was every slough;/ And still the pale green lingered at the Sioux,/ So close they trailed the marching of the South./ But when they reached the Niobrara's mouth/ The witchery of spring had taken flight/ And like a girl grown woman overnight,/ Young summer glowed." John G. Niehardt

So, this afternoon we will watch the fire and the snowflakes. We'll probably even watch some March Madness on the Telly.
'Til next time, The Hired Man

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hired man to sell horses - two for one.

I bought "Mr. Big" at an Amish horse sale about 10 years ago. We have used him for pulling the spring wagon and taking guests for tours on country roads hereabouts. Gradually, we have used him less and less while we have been traveling more and more. Thus, the decision: sell him to someone who will use him and appreciate him.

"Mr B" is a beautiful horse that moves with wonderful grace, especially when trotting. The Hired Man and the Missus will hate to see him go, as he has been a fixture on this place. His best pal, "Woodrow" will also go with him we hope. I have included a photo taken only today of the two horses together.

So, if you know of a good home waiting for this pair, let us know 573-759-6081 or

Here is a description that we put in an on-line classified:

"This is a top quality animal that was bred and trained by Amish. He is gelded and is half Percheron and half Standardbred. He is what they call a general purpose animal because he can be used in a work team or as a buggy horse. We have had him several years and love him.
We now travel frequently and find keeping the horses complicates our lives considerably. This is the reason we have decided to sell. This horse does not have the same level of training that he had a few years ago, due to our lack of using him. However, he can be brought back quickly with a little effort. He loads and trailers well and will stand easily for shoeing. We have used him in Shafts (single horse) to pull a spring wagon, but the Amish also used him as a part of a team.
He moves beautifully as his Percheron/standardbred breeding makes him a large trotter which can cover some ground. I also ride him and he does well. He has a good disposition and is not prone to flight. He stands about 16.2 and I estimate he will weigh around 1500. Age is 13 years.
As we are getting rid of horses here, we offer him with a beautiful (unregistered) bay quarter horse (about 11 years old). This is a "Two for One" deal -- one price takes both horses. The quarter horse stands probably 14.2 and is quite gentle. Age, 11 years. He was broke to ride as a young horse but then never ridden. He has been a companion to the buggy horse.
Both horses and completely sound and in good flesh and we hate to part with them. We would be happy to answer any questions or have you come look at the horses. 573-759-6081." Oh yes, and a heck of a deal: $1,000 for both horses.

So, it will be a little different around here without our horse pals. But change is the only constant, as they say.

Best regards, H.M.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Words you need to know at Rock Eddy Bluff Farm

Today's topic: words you need to know. This word and a few others are not familiar to many of our guests.

Slough - this is a backwater part of the river. Connected to the river, but without the swifter current. In some cases the slough becomes a part of the river when water levels are high, allowing the current to overflow into the slough.

The slough at Rock Eddy Bluff Farm runs beneath limestone outcroppings and joins the Gasconade River just below our Bluffhouse which sits 200 feet above. It is home to beaver, otter, wood ducks, herons and assorted other critters. The banks of the slough are lined with sycamore, ash, soft maple and smaller trees such as Paw Paws. (Perhaps we should make that a "need-to-know" word for a later time.)

When my brothers and I were small, we spent a lot of time on the slough and the river. We fished at the mouth of the slough, camped on the long island between the slough and the river. We also skated on the slough every winter. (Recent winters have not been cold enough for that.)

From our home on the bluff a rugged little track snakes down, arriving at the bottom on the banks of the slough. There, our canoes are located. Guests can take a canoe out at any time. They can explore the upper reaches of the slough or paddle a short distance into the river proper. Across the river they will find an excellent gravel bar.

If you are willing to paddle down to the lower (downstream) end of Rock Eddy, you will find the home of our resident bald eagles. Currently, the female eagle is sitting on eggs in the huge nest. These same eagles have been in this location for roughly thirty years. Yes, the same breeding pair! And, these were one of only three nesting pairs in Missouri at the low point of eagle populations.

Our next need-to-know word: Privy. You'd be surprised.

You may have missed the photo of the yellow dog. Check the previous blog for a picture of this loveable guy.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Yellow Dog

A yellow dog wandered in a couple of days ago. He is a stranger. We don’t know anything about him except that he is friendly and wants a home. He is a good dog.

In this country we get dogs like this one on a regular basis. We suspect that previous owners just bring them out in the country and let them out. What they think will happen to them I can’t fathom. I guess out of sight is out of mind. If I allow myself to think about someone who would do that I have to admit that I harbor some very uncharitable thoughts.

This dog appears to be a purebred yellow lab. He would be a good family dog, well mannered and loves affection. He is a male. So, the question is: what to do with him?

Some friends were here a couple of days ago. They said that they would take the dog back with them to Kansas City. Said they would either keep him or find a home for him. But they had to leave in the morning and the stray dog and our dog Ike (who wandered in a few years ago) were off on a foray out in the woods. So, the friends left and, of course, the dogs returned about an hour later.

So here the dog has been for the past couple of days, doing his best to ingratiate himself with Kathy and me. We have one more idea about how to get him to Kansas City. Hope it works out.
Meanwhile, we have treated him for ticks and for worms. And, you can rest assured that he will be taken care of. Somehow.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What is the deal with blogging?

I am not sure I get blogging. I mean, we have talk radio, talking heads, NPR, CNN and lotsa jive magazines. Why do we need more of this?

My best guess is that a blog allows us to look at someone's unique slant on life; something authentic about a fellow human being. I am really turned off by blogs that just give opinion about things (politics, morality, religion, etc) We have far too much of that crap already.

A couple of blogs that I was exposed to rather accidently started me thinking that this wasn't such a self-indulgent thing to do afterall. One is a website that my daughter regularly visits. Her blog is integrated into a really interesting website. If you take some time to delve into here site it will become apparent that this gal is superwoman. She is a city gal turned ranch wife who photographs, writes, cooks, homeschools and does a fab job.

Then there was a blog from a gal who lives in her van and makes a living as a stripper. And, maybe she turns a trick or two. Sounds kinda trashy, right? Actually it is interesting because this gal is so articulate and so honest. Again it is a priviledged look into someone's uniqueness.

Ok, I just connected to the hobo stripper to check the link. Well, there are a couple of photos on there that border on smut. Use your own jugdment. She is a stripper, whadaya expect!

These are only a couple of examples from a guy that does not look for blogs to follow. Bet you have others. Let me (us) here about them.

I want have a photo today, so here is one that has nothing to do with ranching, stripping, or blogging.

The Hired Man

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mister Big and Me (Our pre-spring ride)

We heard spring scratchin around the hills yesterday and decided to take a ride. This was the first time all winter that old "Mister Big" has been under saddle. We had a good ride over local countryside but it was obvious that "big" had done a little back sliding since we did this last fall.

I am including a couple of photos from the ride. (It is a little difficult to photograph while the horse is moving)

One photo shows a neighbor farm (he is gone for the winter) It is an interesting old place because it was one of the first farms in this county (Maries County). The original owner had slaves back in the early 1800's. The original part of this barn (which you can't see) was built by slaves. It is made of massive logs that are pegged together. Many of the slaves are buried in unmarked graves up on the hill from the house.

We rode on. Saw deer and other wildlife and saw no one one a bout a 5 mile ride. One little fellow was this possum that seemed to think he was watching a parade and just looked at us wide-eyed.

Yesterday we heard spring stomping on the other side of the hill, wanting to get underway. It will happen soon. Then, she will sweep down the hill toward us, "babbling and strewing flowers."

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My first post.

Just finished my first post. It electronically evaporated, the same way lots of things do that I try.
It was great stuff too - so good that I can't recreate it. Those words are simply lost forever. I don't even know what happened to them. If I had a clue what happened, then there would be the luxury of someone to blame. Instead, nothing!

I'll try again later.