August 31, 2015


We are burying Buggsy today, and we are very sad.

The end was sudden. He looked a bit "off" on Saturday but was still willing to graze and eat a carrot. Dan found him Sunday morning: he passed away in his beloved stall with his friends, Bueno and Cody, nearby.

We are somewhat comforted by the knowledge that his last 11 years were happier than those before. We don't know how old he was but he had been a horse at a kid's camp before he came to the guest ranch where Dan worked. He was assigned to Dan to be made into a "string horse" to carry people around the desert. Buggs finally joined our little family because he was deemed an unsuitable guest horse after his adventure in the Chiricahua Wilderness.

Buggsy had been taken there with other horses, and guests, and after their ride had been left to graze without any restraint. He wandered off and decided that a life away from people might be preferable to being at a guest ranch. He was lost for days with saddle and a slicker and the barn boss and his assistant (Dan) went out to find him without success. It was hunting season but he survived, perhaps being white might have saved him. Buggsy was finally trapped when he came to a cattle tank to drink.

We decided to buy Buggs and after he came to live with us, Dan would occasionally take him to the guest ranch as his personal wrangler horse. This was a nervous event as far as Buggs was concerned as he was never sure whether he would be coming home to his own stall again. But he relished standing at the horse trailer after a ride telling his old buddies: "I am a private horse now", and he jumped into the trailer to go home with great alacrity.

Buggsy was always the gentleman with good people habits who preferred a ham sandwich to lush, green grass, a taste he no doubt acquired while being around kids. He gave my friend Kath a boost in life when she rode him after having recovered from a terrible car accident. We could depend on him to be a perfect guest horse here, whether he carried a novice teenager or an experienced adult.

We will miss the Bugsinator but feel good that he loved his life with us: loved his "room", loved being able to eat at his own, slow, pace, loved being groomed, loved standing around with his companions and not being asked to go on rides with people he did not consider to be family.

August 10, 2015


It has been a great year for the fruit trees. Or let's just say that they produced a lot of fruit. The peaches are nearing the end, after a month of snatching one walking by the counter where they were waiting consumption or freezing, or walking by the trees on my way to the coop.

I am not ambitious to preserve our bounty from the garden or the orchard. I was raised eating "in season" as my mother would shop daily to buy fresh produce. We ate whatever was available until we were "done" and then it was onto the next vegetable or fruit in the market. But I have frozen bushels and bushels of peaches. Four peaches and a banana provide the main ingredients for a post-cycling smoothie during the year. And, being on the bike three times a week, we go through a lot of peaches.

This is the first year the Italian plum is producing. The tree was initially unhappy in its location. It is fairly close to the house where the soil was heavily compacted and although I added a tractor bucket of manure, it took a couple of years to feel at home. I will need to keep an eye on the fruit as I saw some birds investigating them.

It is the second year for the pears. Not all of them are bearing, but as I was the one setting them back in development, I still am patient.