Monday, September 5, 2011

Would WILLIE have heard, "Voodoo!" ?

That was the best 634.6 mile trip I got to take, just for myself!...

Once upon a time, about 6 weeks ago....I heard it on the radio - - - - Willie Nelson would be entertaining at the Nebraska State Fair in Grand Island. I couldn't get the salt and mineral put out fast enough; had to get home to the Internet. I think this was the first time I've done something like this so spontaneous, without consulting (asking permission) to anyone: I was going to buy Willie Nelson tickets!! Good reason, concert would be Sept. 4, my birthday is the 6th - ha ha, just for me! I'll buy myself a birthday present (and drag Don with me)!!

It was a secret, I wouldn't tell Don yet. (although everybody else knew, because I put it on Face Book!)

I contained myself quite well... but in preparation, I played my Willie Nelson CDs everywhere we went. Don said once, "What is it with you and Willie Nelson?" So when we traveled, the first thing that came on when the dial was pushed, "On the Road Again..." I giggled with glee!

About a week before the concert, I figured I should tell him where he was going. The good thing about that was, I could now be my usual self and really get silly, jumpy, excited - my natural way of dealing with things when I'm a happy camper. I drove everyone else crazy with all my plans, but too bad, no blue eyes cryin' in the rain for me.

Mom and Dad knew about it all right away. They couldn't believe I would get Don away from the ranch to go to a concert. (Maybe a tractor, a bale processor, a bale bed, a horse, sell cows....but not a concert!) September 2nd was my dad's birthday. At 4:30 that morning, he fell and broke his hip. I knew right away, and with no regrets I might add, that I would have to call Willie and tell him I couldn't make it (a little drama there). ...and that was OK. Later that day, as Dad was laying in the hospital bed in Scottsbluff, he reminded me I was going to see Willie Nelson. "Yea, OK" was always my reply. "I mean it," was always the comment. I would tell him to lay there and be quiet, he was going to make his hip hurt worse. His surgery was finally done in the early afternoon of Sept. 3rd; and that was way too close a time to be taking off and leaving my dad. Mom was assuring me how bad Dad would feel if I stayed home. (Can you tell I'm still making my mind believe it was all ok?)

After much deliberation; encouraging nudges from family members, and Dad saying, "if you don't go I'm gonna kick your butt" - I decided it might work to go. The concert was Sunday evening; Friday night when I got home from the hospital - I was wound up after Dad was unable to get the surgery done until Saturday morning; so I drake a pot and a half of coffee, sat my alarm for 5; and wondered why at 4 am I was still trying to get to sleep. Back to the Bluffs Saturday morning for surgery, (which didn't happen until afternoon) and I was on the way home after Dad was recovering well (exception of pain) Saturday evening when Don called and said, "Good, I'm glad your dad is doing better. So, what do you want to do tonight?" I had planned on telling him to his face, but said, "I thought we'd go to Grand Island." Silence. Anyway, instead of leaving that night, or at 3 am we actually decided sleep might be better. Which was easy for me to do - I was sleeping before my head hit the pillow.

Now.....the exciting part: woke up in the morning, loaded up, hopped in the pick-up, turned the key on, punched the dial......"ON THE ROAD AGAIN...." and we were off!!!

Don had told me the week before, that it would be my day, he would just follow me around and I would decide what all we were going to do. My first thought: he should not have said that. I had intended to write on a paper a note to Willie (I know, I'm weird) - and say hi, and tell him Jerry said hi, and thank him for taking the horses that he does (especially the 3 Strikes horses!) - I was going to have Don put it on the bus windshield! Yes, I realize I was living in a fantasy thought.

To the main point of my story.... NE State Fair was OK, ...when we walked in to the concert area.....well, let's just say: I'm 52 - never been to a concert before - and Willie's music was playing through the building. Anticipation! We definitely need to get out more: we went and got a beer; then noticed a table that everybody was getting wrist bands; (it was to show you could buy beer - had to have one) so when I walked up to the table, the lady says, "Put your glass down, you can't hold that until you have this band on." OK. HA! Got our seats, guy comes out to announce Willie....Don looks at me and grins - Oh, I'm happy! It would have been nice to actually be close enough to see that it was really Willie, and not an impersonator; lip sinking ;) but it was still great. Live and learn. Guess I was just lucky to get tickets at all. In the brochures, it stated "No Cameras" - I had brought my new little one, just in case. I am glancing around seeing all these blue screens thru the seats.... cameras! I whip mine out, and now I'm really happy. Even got some video of the greatest guitar pickin' I've had the privilege to hear. Geez Willie can make that guitar sing. Don was equally impressed, (just not as goofy about it).

I had a fantastic time. Oh yes, Voodoo. Had I consumed a couple of more beers, I was extremely tempted-during a split second quiet moment, to holler out loud, "Voodoo!" Do you think Willie would have heard? The temptation was unbelievable. (Voodoo is a horse, rescued from 3 Strikes Ranch to Habitat For Horses in Texas, thanks to Jerry Finch - Voodoo is now at Mr. Willie Nelson's ranch)

Today's Labor Day, and we labored; worked cattle, moved cattle, checked water, salt & mineral, etc etc. What a wonderful time I had listening to Willie Nelson and the rest. They were fantastic!!!!! Someday, maybe I'll get to Texas!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Flyin' With Hawks

OK - so..... they are in the air..... I am on the tractor.

To watch these flying hunters is amazing. Besides the fact that I always feel the urge to 'save' whatever it is they are diving after; I know this is just nature's way of survival.

When we hay the pivot, that is the best time to watch their maneuvers; it is basically flat ground and I don't have to worry so much about hitting a bull hole! I can spend my time watching the sky as they circle above the tractor, zeroing in on the next meal that I turn over with my rake. I have witnessed as many as 5 hawks at the same time, circling and watching for prey. This morning there were two. One just sat on the wind-row I just turned; and watched as I drove by. Then as I came up beside him, he lifted. The wind was mildly blowing as he drove his wings to meet the air. He pushed himself up, and then glided in cicles; watching below. As I made my turn onto the next set of rows; one dive-bomber was headed for the ground. I thought I would watch him crash, but at the last moment - up he swooped, his capture in the grip of his claws.

(I guess you can't see the hawk, but he is in the upper left of the picture)

They follow along with the tractor, circling and diving, feasting on what was hidden in the hay. Last year, we had a coyote doing the same thing. He just followed behind the tractor and snacked throughout the day. LIfe is amazing. In a small, small little way; we get to witness our own little 'National Geographic' shows.

Speaking of this, guess I better get back to the hay field!.....

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Every year, one might drive by our place, and question if we raise cattle......or deer?
This year was no exception.
We actually have an increasing number each year, too many for our tree strips, to be sure.

Picture taken November 8, 2010

The threat of disease is something to not be taken lightly, for the good of the cattle, and the deer. But, I still like driving the meadows, tree strips, wherever they are; and enjoy watching them, watch me.

Picture taken September 12, 2010

It is completely common to look out the windows in the morning,
and watch the deer grazing, eating grass and trees....
Wait! Not the evergreen trees again....

Picture taken November 22, 2010

I have been known to walk out the door, yelling at the deer to go find other trees to eat on. I finally had to resort to walking out towards the trees, chewing the deer out for chewing on my trees. I eventually gave up, after they would trot 20 steps away, only to turn around and go back to the trees as I was walking to the house. I'm pretty sure it just became a game for them. I probably wasn't very convincing.

One particular Mom had twins, and they were constantly around the houses.
I'm sure they enjoyed the peaceful grazing moments, with no fear of hunters or wild animals attacking them! It became a daily ritual to watch the little family. The other deer were contantly around also, walking and grazing in between our houses, and the yards; but there was just something about this little family that captured my heart. They were more curious, more trustworthy. We could go outside and talk to them, they stood and listened. Really.

Picture taken September 12, 2010

The mom was actually 'tamer' than the babies, they would trot off a safe distance, and then wait for their mom to catch up, or turn around and go join her again. One of the twins appeared to be more cautious, more nervous than it's sibling. As the other deer would take off to the other side of the house if we showed ourselves outside, this little family remained, watched us, and dropped their heads to continue grazing. So as a reward, I began putting out food I thought they would like.

This picture is my favorite little deer that captured my heart. As his mom and 'brother' would venture off to other places, he stayed. He would watch, keeping still for a few minutes, then if I didn't advance, he would just continue eating. I would throw carrots and apples toward him. At first he didn't know what the heck I was trying to bomb him with, but then he came to expect a treat and nose around until he found it. I remember when I took this picture, I thought to myself, "I shouldn't, but I'll bet I could make this little deer a pet." You can notice a buck standing atop the hill in the background; trying to figure out what this human was doing.
The other deer figured out that there were treats around, so they would come for goodies also.

Picture taken November 18, 2010

I had my concerns early on as to why my little friend did want to just stay around. The majority of the time, when all the deer would slip off out of sight, he would stay. He didn't excite too easily, and he was just content to hang around. A few times he would go with the rest of the deer to the tree strips. In the picture above, he just stayed, watching the other deer walk off; even his mom and sibling would leave to the tree strip.

Picture taken November 14, 2010

It just became my daily ritual to go out talk to him, and throw food at him. I could now get within 7 feet to toss him food. His ears would show that he was in controll of being able to run away, but he never did. Cadence went outside with me to talk to the deer. We would tell him how cute and handsome he was, and that he would always be safe - if he stayed in our yard!

This was the little deer family in our backyard. I would open the sliding glass door and throw food out to them in the back. With all the deer in our yards, and around the is too bad that their droppings isn't worth a lot of money - I could be rich!

Pictures above and below were taken November 22, 2010

They became so familiar with us, we could stay outside with them, talk to them, tell them how pretty they are, take pictures, as I would try to figure out how I could always keep them safe; even during deer season.

Picture taken December 3, 2010

At Christmas time, my little deer friend added to the decor in our yard. People drove into the yard; the other deer took off to the back, he just stayed. He was the little yard ornament. One should know better that to give their heart to a wild animal. I know better. But it never changes anything.

"Say Cheese!"

The little deer even got used to Duke. Duke would walk up to him, the deer would trot a few steps away - stop, turn around and look at Duke. Duke would walk up to him; on and on it would go. For weeks, my heart began to get heavier and heavier. I watched him, took pictures, talked to him and fed him.....let myself and my emotions go - as I often do.

Our little rescue kitties got so they would run up and see what I fed him. This day it was corn. There was a little cream corn mixed in, so they thought they were entitled to the cream part.

I watched, knowing the reality of the situation....I was afraid he was not feeling well. My biggest fear was that he got something from the calves, or a disease that deer get. I was determined that TLC, good food, good friends, and whatever else I could think of, yes-prayers too; would help him. I guess I kept all these thoughts to myself, but then we all started talking about it. It was the week-end, so we decided we'd call our vets on Monday and ask if there was something we could do for him. I told Don we would be able to get close enough to grab him, but even being sick, he would probably be strong enough to put up a fight.

Now it was a matter of time. He was alone, except for us. His mom and sibling were not coming around him anymore....that says a lot. An animal's instinct picks out their favorite, or if one is sick, many times the poor little thing will get abandoned. Even cattle that have twins will sometimes 'pick one' and leave the other. It just meant more care we had to give. We carried water to him wherever he was standing. He was finding it more and more difficult to get around. He seemed confused.

I knew what was happening, but I didn't want to think about it. His apple chunks were smaller so he could chew them better. His water was brought to his side. I thought about deer that run for their lives to survive. This little guy could have a safe life forever, but it wasn't going to happen. He was so sweet, so trusting. What else could he be?

He's eating apples. I knew way back when, that with time and patience, I could probably make this little guy trust me. I just didn't want it to be because he was too weak to do otherwise.

I couldn't resist. He had to know that he was loved. So I reached out and pet his nose. He lifted his head to meet the kindness given to him. My heart fell to my stomach. I continued to show him compassion, asking God to not let him suffer. Don went and got some alfalfa. It was going to be cold that night, and we wanted him to bed down in the hay. At least he would be pretty much sheltered from the wind here.

Picture taken January 9, 2011

The above photo is the last I took of my little deer friend. He was sick. In confusion, he would turn in a circle to the right. He would stop to eat a little, but turn again. I prayed he would stay on the hay during the night. I had called the Game Commision that day. It was January 9, 2011. I knew he was suffering. My photos may not show the pain, but it was there. He was limping, and it was getting worse. He walked away from the hay once, making a bigger circle. I would watch him from the kitchen window. I walked outside, and led him back over to the hay.

Tears, there were many. There always are in cases like this. I admire so much people that care and rescue animals. How you do it all the time, I'll never understand. It is good to know you helped an animal, if even for a short time; that's what I tell myself. I know that some people don't understand the emotion - that's alright. It's who you are, I guess. I have enough emotion that I think God forgot to monitor it when he was making my character and it overflowed. He must have figured I could handle it. Doesn't make a lot of sense when you raise cattle like we do. I guess I figure that at least while they are in our care, they are happy.

That night, my little deer joined the other numerous animals that I'm planning on taking care of in heaven some day. At least he died in his sleep, and didn't have to be put down. The Game Commision came out and got him. It sounds like it might be a brain worm thing, they get it from eating snails in the grass. We are waiting for results. Have you ever seen the movie, "Powder"? You should. If everyone really felt what an animal feels, there would sure be alot of happier animals. I'm not saying God didn't provide animals for us and our needs....but there are good ways and bad ways of that process. Just like there are good people and bad people. I'll keep giving my heart to the cows, the deer, all the animals.

My little friend on November 18, 2010. If you have animals in your care, care for them.

It was a hard time when Josh told me the deer had died during the night. But I knew it was going to happen. That is life. But Josh was on his way into town with Josie, and that morning would begin a good day. By the end of the day, I would have another Grandchild.

Logan James Freiberger

was born January 10, 2011

Cadence is well pleased with her little baby brother.