Meet Pete

Greetings and Salutations all ye people! There is no time like the present to start off with introductions.. I’m PB the PD.. Pete Bryson the Prairie Dog, and I’ve just been adopted… For days I hung out with my kind in a National Park Visitor’s Center, waiting on this moment.. One by one, I’d watch my fellow stuffed animals head off in Prairie Dog awareness.. I was happy for them, but it kinda hurt. Why not me.. Was there something wrong with me? The day started like any other, but I must admit, I’d been eyeing the cute little blonde and her big brother from the moment they walked in the door.. If only.. And could hardly belive it- when I watched their dad sign the adoption papers and away we went! There’s so much to see out side of that gift shop! AND plus the whole idea is to promote awareness for my actual live animal friends.. So I’m doing what I can..

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We’ve spent a lot of time in the van. Oh the sights to behold! I have no complaints, except that the blonde’s bro insists on holding me by the tail.. “hey pal- that’s not how I prefer to travel!”  I’d really like to help the driver out by steering or blowing the horn, or something.. But she feels too responsible.. So I thought I’d surprise her, by updating her blog and give you a quick over view of what we’ve seen the last little while..

Colorado River:

The first time this van crossed the Co River in southern New Mexico, it was dry- they tell me, but the further north we go- it’s not dry anymore! Can you believe that this River supplies power, water, and food for 30 million people?! We gazed upon its muddy waters at the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Hoover Dam, and then at Grand Junction, CO

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National Parks:

This group hammered through 3 of them.. Zion (where they saw their first Bighorn Sheep), Bryce (where they adopted yours truly), and Arches.

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Colorado Springs:

And yesterday found us enjoying the world from a windshield, driving thru the beautiful Rocky Mountains and being blown away by the open grassland between the Ranges; travelling up Pike’s Peak by Cog Railway and shivering from the 40 degree cloud that enshrouded the summit; And driving through tumultuous weather last night that included a GORGEOUS rainbow and lots of lightning..

And that’s all for now, folks.. This is Pete- over and out

P.S Adopt if you get the chance 🙂

Paws, and Enjoy Life

Hey! It’s me, Head of Ranch Security, again.. It’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me, I realize.. But I’ve been so crazy busy this summer.. Let me tell you about it:

So obviously you’ve picked up on the fact, by now that Kendra and Deborah rushed off for about  a month.. Leaving Emily at home as the lonely only. She thought with her schooling and the field work, that she was about snowed under- but she forgot about me..

Day in and Day out, I’ve fearlessly kept an eye on the property.. AND I’ve had to work alone too! Around the end of June, Rolo went into hiding. I knew where she was all along, but I can keep a secret.. Julia and Emily were about desperate trying to find my brown eared assistant. It didn’t help matters that Deb kept calling and texting every few hours to see how Rolo was.. The pressure was on.. So they looked everywhere- drove the four-wheeler over the entire farm, prayed frantically, called, begged, pleaded.. It broke my heart- but it wasn’t mine to tell. What did about push me over the edge was when they tried to con me into leading them to where she was.. And they said all kinds of stupid things like “So much for all the stories where the dog is the hero and leads you to the lost child..” HEY! I am the hero! Rolo needed space!

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Eventually they found her, and her new family.. Black, Brown, and Yellow.. 3 females, and 5 males.. They are rather cute, but I must confess, a much lesser dog couldn’t handle all the attention those puppies are getting.. Sometimes it almost gets to me.. But then I have to realize they are leaving soon.. At least I hope..

But you know, Life has lessons for us, and I think it’s important we pay attention to them… Becoming “Uncle Detroit” has taught me a lot…

*no one is indispensable.. I thought this place couldn’t operate without Rolo’s help- but what do you know- peace has been maintained while she’s on maternity leave.. With no small thanks to yours truly

*there are things that are more important than work. I hope my family remembers this one- it’s good to be busy, but always take time out to connect with a much lesser, more inferior, younger canine.. (Or I can always use a good game of tug-of-war) Take time to live.

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*not everyone is out to get you.. Our relationship with Kalila has been shaky at best.. But she loves to sit over top of the pen and just watch.. Like a pointy eared guardian angel.. And I’m becoming rather fond of her.. Our relationship has taken some time.. But it’s good to trust..

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* be loyal.. I hope they remember this one too.. Have new dogs, but keep the old.. One is silver and the other gold.. But really just keep the old dogs- enough is enough

Life is learning. Maybe eventually, I’ll get to where I feel less awkward around these little roly poly balls of fur.. (You ever watch someone that hasn’t held a baby  in awhile, try to hold it in a way, that it won’t break? That’s the stage I’m in.. Not cool) But really- even if these aren’t related to me- (purebred is over-rated) I can say that they are trained by the best in their short little life.. So if you need a good dog-I know where you can find a pure bred lab or two.. or eight..

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Ok, sales pitch, life lessons over with.. It’s back to work for me..

Yours truly,

Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza

Bonus pic:

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Deb had a birthday in Nicaragua.. So we took a pic as an e-card.. The bro-in-law quipped “If we just photo-shop Deborah in, we can use this as our Christmas pic..”  Happy Birthday Christmas everyone!! 🙂

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Excited about our cover girl 😉

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Years ago, it was traditional for my dad’s Maryland family to brave the highway and spend a day in the Shenandoah Valley.. Thanks to those of you who were able to take time out to venture our way once again! ❤

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The resident deer, Valiant, has been helping out with corn harvest.. After watching her strip ear after ear, Father said “How many does she NEED?!” We are learning not to ask Detroit, but we are suspicious she has a fawn near here..

A “Beary” Far-out Tale

Late in the Month of November 2011, as the full Beaver’s moon, slipped up over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and began his silent assent over the Beautiful Shenandoah Valley, He noticed immediately that something was amiss on Paradise Mountain.. He watched with growing concern as his forest friends scurried to the great meeting place.. Something was indeed wrong.. No one was there to make the grand entrance from Bearingham Palace.. Where was the King of the Forest? Second in Command- a beautiful Buck was calling the meeting to order.. “Has anyone seen His Majesty- the Bear?” All was quiet.. Finally Israel the Rabbit spoke- his nose twitching as he did.. “Well, we all saw that pickup.. And I’m fairly confident he was on the back.. Now you Know I was never a big fan of His Majesty- Those huge claws scared me to death.. But  what’s to become of us now?!” Tears welled up in his big eyes and one rolled down his cheek. At this point Valiant, the blaze orange collar wearing deer, injected some wisdom.. “I feel like I know the people family.. I have their heart.. There must be some detail we are missing..” Someone at this point moved that there be a detective deputized to research the case, and before the meeting was adjourned- Sherlock the Owl- was hired.. He accepted his new position with the regalness that only a trained private eye could.. And the animals of the forest silently slipped out into the darkness.. No one slept much that night..  What could’ve gone wrong?

The next night, same place.. An apprehensive group of animals gathered.. And Mr Sherlock presented all the cold hard facts.. “Years ago, before most of you were born, this kingdom was ruled by a deer- Mr Monroe.. He was gentle and kind and we all loved him.. But one cold day, He was feeding in the cornfield, and he never returned. Our friend- the Bear- was only a young cub at that point- but showed such promise as a leader, that we voted him into command immediately.. thus changing the name of the Palace from Buckingham to Bearingham.. One change with the new leadership, was he proposed that we pass a law that the cornfield was off limits in the fall.. This was a really hard ruling for a lot of the animal kingdom, but he worked tirelessly to get it passed. And eventually he prevailed. This worked well. There is plenty of food for us here in the forest anyways. But in more recent years, there’s been a change come over His Majesty.. His eyes seemed a little more shifty if you ask me.. And his nights are largely unaccounted for.. We considered having His palace bugged, but the grubs that we hired, he feasted on.. So there went that.. More than one report came in this fall of spotting him staggering along the edge of the forest, singing to himself in a drunken sort of way.. The smell of corn distinctly on his breath.. And so in conclusion, I propose that Mr Bear was spending time in the cornfield.. He seemed to be longing for that for years, even though he’d made the law himself.. And I believe the people family caught him there.. How can we prevent this in the future? Realize that Crime doesn’t pay.. You reap what you sow.. The corn may be greener on the other side of the forest, but greed ends in casualty.. Don’t expect out of others what you aren’t willing to do yourself.. I regret to inform you, from all my research, it is apparent that Mr Bear will no longer rule the forest. I move that we crown the Second in Command, and learn from Mr Bear’s mistake.. Stay away from the farmer’s cornfield..”
So thus began a new chapter in the history of Paradise Mountain.. The animals adjusted quickly and all lived happily ever after..

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We are “beary” excited to have Em’s bear home after spending a long time away at the taxidermist.. He was indeed bagged Nov of 2011 thanks to a damage permit and a friend’s 30-06 at 260 yards during harvest at our place.. He was a healthy fellow dressed weight being 258 lbs. We were a little apprehensive about all this bear meat, as the reports we had on bear feasts were not that favorable- but he was very obviously corn fed for a long time and the meat was fantastic.. My favorite memory was the hours Emily put into making jerky for my trip to Guatemala and the expression on the native’s faces as they attempted to understand what kind of meat this was..

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So now I can’t wait until this evening when Detroit scratches on our patio door asking for attention.. I’ve got a little friend I want to introduce him to.. And He’s gonna be excited.. 🙂 So if  when he barks tonight, Mother, it may be to warn you of the half mount in your livingroom.. 🙂

Blessings on your week,

Kendra

Silo Filling -from the farm manager’s perspective

Hi, I’m Detroit Snappenbarker Mendoza, and I’m sorry to be a bore, but I had such an incredible week, I’ve just got to tell someone.. First of all, you’ve got to understand, I’m not just your regular dog.. Paradise Mountain seriously couldn’t operate without me.. Foremost, I take my roll as best friend very seriously.. I’m also head of ranch security, chief detective, main cattle herder, farm manager, occasional game warden,.. This list could continue, but it’d sound like I’m bragging.. None the less, all this pressure almost got to me, so they got Rolo, a chocolate lab, to work as my assistant. At least she tries.. Sweet kid..

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So back to my week, early Monday morning, the harvest crew rolled in preparing to chop corn. The crew this year consisted of the Bossman, his daughters- Kendra and Emily, the Boyfriend, and another guy. Julia and Mother were on chore duty and more importantly food committee. Deb had to work so she wasn’t around as much..

As manager, I felt it was my responsibility to ride along occasionally. Kendra and the Bossman kept switching off from pulling a cart to running the chopper-guess they were trying to get in on the best of both worlds. So I rode with both of  them. They love company in the chopper, but I can see a lot more from the tractor, and I like the wind in my face so I stuck with that.

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When I rode with Kendra, she was all amazed by the flowers in the creek bed beside the field.. Such color! Bright yellow Golden rod, orange touch-me-nots, purple iron weed, blue bachelor’s buttons.. The smell of the honey suckle vine.. The warm sunshine and bright blue sky.. I was more concerned about the piece of ag bag plastic along the edge of the field.. Mighty suspicious to my seasoned eye..

The Bossman split his time between talking on the phone, complaining over the pitiful phone service after he’d dropped yet another call, and singing at the top of his lungs. I’m not sure about this cell phone on the job business, but he is my Superior, so I kept my thoughts to myself.

And Emily.. It was so good to have her in the field again after her shoulder deal.. But I had to think about a re-injury and worker’s comp.. Ah the stress of management.. I tell you, Rolo, next time you are complaining about me getting to ride and you staying at the house.. It’s not all sunshine and  roses. That I assure you!

But let’s see. where was I? Oh so I rode with the tractor and cart out to the field, and that’s were the fun began. There is one of the most beautiful sights to behold, an amazing John Deere Forage Harvester.. It is unbelievable. I close my eyes and I can hear my sweet mom’s voice reminding me of the last rule she taught me before I left home.. “Now, son, if someone is enjoying a meal, and that someone is bigger than you, never ever interfere.” That rule has saved me a lot of hide over the years, and most certainly it applies here. I stand in awe.. One paw raised in salute.. “Bon appetite, monsieur”.. She is something to behold inhaling 8 rows of corn at a time. The knifey teeth things chattering as they slice off the cornstalks at lightning speed.. The machine growling as it processes the product. The gossip at the fencerow is that there is more than one color of these machines, but I don’t believe it. Those coyotes will tell you anything to see if you believe it..

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One things for sure, I sure am glad that beast feeds off of corn instead of dog food.. If it were different, I’d have to take down my shingle.. We fill the cart in no time flat and head back to the barn. Now this part of the process, I don’t get. We roll in and line up beside the blower tractor like we are ready for a race. And that tractor fires up and runs full throttle.. And doesn’t  budge an inch. I watched really close. Worthless. But the cart does get emptied somehow.. Strange.

We were having some trouble with speeding with these guys. I was at my wits end to know what to do. So finally I sent Julia up the silo and Rolo to construct a “This area is under surveillance of overhead radar” sign. But ol Jul beat us to the draw. She musta agreed with me, cause next thing I knew, she was on the phone saying “That’s it, only 2 more loads”. Nobody speeds when I’m on patrol..

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By the end of the day, I’m exhausted. I relax for a few minutes in the back yard.. I observe Kendra as she heads for the house.. She stops at listens to an owl on the mountain, or a whippoorwill.. Looks at the stars, and thanks our Heavenly Father for the blessings in her life.. And I feel thankful too.. That I chose to be a farm manager, and not a highway patrol in some city somewhere.. I’ll gladly leave the headaches of trains, and airplanes, and taxi drivers, to some distant cousin somewhere..

Now, If you’ll excuse me, I gotta catch a siesta.. Rolo and I are on midnight patrol.. We must try some stage 3 alarm barking to warn the entire farm about that ag bag plastic.. And I have a thing or two to explain to those coyotes about quality equipment..

Special thanks to:

Inspiration from Hank the Cow dog books from my childhood

Detroit for being the best manager ever

And to you, dear reader, for persevering to the end of this silly tale 🙂

A Thief in the Henhouse

Yes you read correctly-there’s a thief in the henhouse! (And no I’m not referring to the boyfriend 🙂 ) Our journey as poultry farmers has been a quite the process.. Several years ago Julia got the big idea to have “Farm Fresh Eggs”. So she campaigned relentlessly until permission was granted from the Father of this household.. So 12 Rhode Island Reds came to home to roost.. It was so exciting to gather eggs and a running tally was kept so that at the end of the year we knew down to the last egg how many dozen we received. Unbelievable.. I have not been in favor of the project since the beginning.. I will admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed many a meal thanks to the fruit of the labors-but save yourself a heart attack (from when an angry bird attack) and purchase eggs at Wal-Mart! But anyway all that aside. The birds lost their charm and soon it was down to whoever fed calves HAD to check the chickens.. Through a variety of events, we eventually were down to 3 birds who were past their prime and no longer contributed anything to the household. A  vote was taken among the calf feeders and the measure passed with flying colors-it was time for the chickens to be released to the great out-of-doors to fend for themselves. This was last fall. The one poor bird didn’t make a day, because a big huge black dog who knows perfectly what happens if he touches Father’s rooster, didn’t realize that this was the same kind of species, and the Labrador Retriever in him came to the forefront and he retrieved a hen before anyone could say “Barbequed Chicken!” After that incident the 2 remaining disappeared and we forgot all about them.. Fast forward to the first of March- one day who should be proudly strutting back and forth like she owned the calf barn, but Evangeline.. One chicken had survived! She made herself completely at home, eating out of the calves water buckets, helping herself to the grain smorgasbord and loving life.. She really is beautiful. And I THINK I may have recognized a faint trace of fondness within this ol’ calloused heart. She soon made a nest in the corner of the hay and other than one extremely nosey neighbor who peers out of her apartment and looks directly down into Evangeline’s home, She seems to have no complaints about her new neighborhood

DSCF3248  And the most amazing thing is -everyday there’s a fresh egg to head to the house for the farmer’s breakfast! Until one day, the consistant egg delivery ceased.. It was strange. One day the egg hunt would be successful, the next day to no avail.. Hmm..  Enter the King of the farm and his assistant.. Now ol’ Detroit is nobody’s dummy and when he got his case jumped for that last chicken deal, he bid his chicken catchin’ days “Good-bye”.. But Rolo is still a little green behind the ears, and every day she thought it quite the sport to sneak up behind Evangeline and see how close she could get before someone yelled or the bird took off.. “Big Chicken”.. It so happened that the  Sherlock Holmes that discovered the source of the disappearing eggs was Rolo’s very own lead cheerleader-Miss Deborah.. Deb was feeding calves and she watched as her velvet eared pup snuck out of Evangeline’s house. One thing that must be said to the credit of the dogs around here- when they commit a crime- you can hear their guilty conscience hurting.. So with a stern “Rolo!” Deborah watched in amazement as Rolo carefully laid the egg, that she had been gingerly carrying in her mouth, down on the concrete and slunk away.. Being the good parent that she is, Deborah went ahead with the necessary parenting measures and soon Rolo was all smiles again..

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Other random things from Paradise Mtn include:

DSCF3113 I was priviledged to go with Emily to a friend’s house to work on recording a song she had adapted.. You can find it on You Tube.. Since You’re There Emily Horst

DSCF3152 DSCF3182 DSCF3330 DSCF3312  DSCF3253 This last pic is of my dear Mother spinning doughnuts with Em’s new four-wheeler.. I think maybe I’m starting to understand why my sisters drive like they do 😉

DSCF3275  This pic made Mother quote a poem that her parents said often during the winter time..  We weren’t able to come up with the source, but guess that this was memory work from school years ago.

The north wind will blow and we will have snow,

And what will the poor robin do?

He’ll sit in the barn,  and try to keep warm

And tuck his head under his wing.. Poor thing..

 

 

 

Wait a minute..

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Detriot the fearless one

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Detriot the pup whispers words of comfort

Wow I truly can’t believe this!! I just read over Kendra’s big introductory letter and she even mentioned that obnoxious rooster and yet she ignored me!! I’m Detriot Snappenbarker Mendoza, and I actually run the show around here.. Sure they wouldn’t admit it, but I am head overseer, chief of the investigations committee, and singlehandedly in charge of baler twine removal.. And what’s more I have the entire family wrapped around my paw.. Well Deborah not as much since she fell for that lil lab.. But they all love me.. even Mother ( don’t tell but she’s my favorite- she plays hard to get, but I can see right thru her act..) I really am a hard worker-why who else bothers to get out of bed @3 to help Julia get in cows? And I love to help move cows, heifers or calves.. Don’t understand why they always yell bout me standing in front and barking.. How else will the cow see me? And even this past fall I helped work ground.. Rode right along on the platform of the tractor.. Now that was work-keeping an eye on both sides of the field at one time.. I didn’t mean to keep brushing against the key and turning the tractor off.. But you know the best thing about me is I LOVE LIFE..I wish you could see me running thru the yard with a big smile on my face.. It truly is a wonderful world!! So there Kendra.. How dare you forget me?! Why I’m part of the family!