The empty, old house sat silent through the night, content with its current inhabitants.

The sunrise brought the wind, waking up the windmill. It started out slowly, a crooked paddle clicked on the frame.

“I love to move,” the wheel sang, clicking with rhythm, pleasantly at first.

“I can see so much farther than you.” It sang to the house. “Do you want to know what I see?” It didn’t wait for an answer. “They are building a new house on the hill to the east of us. The grass is getting green so I know the cows and the people will come back soon. It’s too bad they don’t fix you up, too. They could at least block your door so the cows don’t go in!”

The wind picked up and mill spun merrily in a building breeze, humming.

A bird lighted on one of the old house’s upper window sills, dribbling white down its side, making it look even more faded.

“At least birds don’t poop on me. If it weren’t for me, there would be no water around here. You never would have been built … our family never would have been able to live here. You know that, right?”

The windmill prattled on about its valuable contributions, most of them from the past. The house tuned it out, enjoying the warming sunshine.

“… and what about that time the bull chased Momma up my ladder? Whew, that was exciting! That mean old critter hit one of my legs so hard, he bent it. Pa built a fence around the house, after that. Remember how Momma built a short fence around my legs and called it the playpen, so she could have her babies outside with her. I loved watching those little ones play in the dirt.”

The old house sighed, windless days were few and far between. Mice and birds may be messy, but they were quiet. The wind hit a lull and it was silent for a while, but it never lasted long enough. Sometimes the days seemed endless with the old mill’s reminiscing. The sun was only midmorning.

“Do you remember the big ones’ names? When they first came, they had different names, but after the babies came, they were always just Momma and Pa, even to each other.”

“I’ve always envied you, you know. You got to be there for their meals, for the births … and the deaths. I could hear some things through the windows and the walls, but you got to see everything, even to watch them sleep. I loved that year they decorated me as their Christmas tree. They held hands and sang Christmas carols to me. It was wonderful.”

The wind died and silence settled back over the yard, everyone basked in the noon sunlight and good memories. Even the inhabitants, sheltered within the house, were content to be still. The house remembered, but did not comment on what a lean Christmas that particular one had been for the family. Yet, the folks had seemed happy enough.

“Remember when Billy climbed my ladder … and fell? There was nothing I could do.” The wind blasted and the wheel clacked crazily for a few minutes. The house wondered why that loose paddle didn’t fly off. Finally the wind let up and the mill became legible again.

“He died.”

The house groaned, as though the memory were weighted. A tiny creak cried from within. The afternoon sun calmed the wind to a gentle, quiet breeze. Again, silence spread over the small plot that had once been a place where children played.

There was to be one last draft that moved the old mill to speak. “Even though Billy died, those were the good old days. I never thought they would end.”

The sun began to set. The wind was dying and the windmill uttered its last thought for the day. “I wonder why they left ….”

The wind died to a whisper. The wheel slowed until even the occasional click stopped.

A remnant of white fluttered in the old house’s window for a moment; waving farewell to the sun, the day’s chattering reminiscence, and welcoming the quiet  return of now.






Pits and Pistols

Maryanne and I hiked several miles on a new trail last Sunday. New trails, good friend, best dog, blue skies … sweet.

Passing a junk-filled yard, I saw dog feet trotting on the other side of an old pickup. I scooped Daz up. Dogs seem reluctant to mess with people but this dog didn’t even stop when he saw I had Daz in my arms. His eyes were on her and he never slowed his pace. When he lunged for her, I automatically put my arm up between him and her. He grabbed the sleeve of the baggy sweat shirt I was wearing hard enough to make holes in it, and pull my arm away. Though his teeth did not break the skin on my arm, there was blood on my glove as I jerked my hand through his mouth. He was not in – the least – deterred.

He lunged again, this time his eyes on me.

He was caught mid-lunge by a horrified owner. I could have fainted with relief.

What if his owner had been gone? What would I have done if he attacked Maryanne? There were no sticks or rocks handy.

Dogs are the bane of my running and hiking existence. Wild life has never messed with me. Dogs, however, are not afraid of people. It grieves me to carry a gun, yet … what are my options? And so, sadly, I dig out my revolvers, to practice.

The Grind


Sometimes we see routine as a grind …

A friend and I walk three mornings a week. Getting my hinny out the door (when it’s dark and bitter cold) is sheer torture. Why do I do it?

The sunrises that celebrate the end of our walks are part of the inspiration that keep me going. Every morning is different, but all are beautiful. There is not a single day I have regretted my accomplishment.

Some things are sheer drudgery, yet , in the end are so rewarding. Can you name one?

Grind on,




Hide & Seek


Playing with the Wildlife

The deer were bucking and running in circles on the road this morning, savouring the promise of spring. I was on the phone – enjoying this visual image of life outside my window – until I realized they were coming in the gate.

No. No. No. They trash our bird feeders in seconds. There were twenty of them, at least! I grabbed the BB gun and ran out to chase them off.

Game on!  They hid in the trees, split up, circled around behind me … it became quite the challenge. I ran, dodged, stop to listen, tried to head them off. (They are a lot like cows, they know where you want them to go, and go in any direction but! Suckers.)

Finally I had them all driven out. More materialized from among the pines across the road, confused by the cool reception. “What’s up with her?”  I shoot at them, too.

The white butts bounced into the trees, tails waving good-by. They know we have treat blocks for them on the other side of the horse fence … and that is where they go.

I walk back to the house, exilerated from my “hunt.” What fun. The person on the other end of the line has been laughing, not quite believing they are playing hide and seek with me and the deer.

What is a brush you’ve had with Mother Nature lately? What feelings did you experience? Share, if you will.

Write on,


Dusty Rose


Hi, I am Rosie.

I belong to Mike but Nina and Poppy come over and hang out at the River house.  I know them quite well and I am always glad to see them.  Often they give me and my pasture mates hay or grain. They have apple treats, plenty of rubs, and kind words, as well.

Nina likes to play with me. (The other horses usually get played with, not me.) I like the attention! Last summer she had me run in circle (for some silly reason). Since it made her happy and it wasn’t too hard, so I did it for her. It was a small price to pay for an extra scoop of grain and some one on one time.

Nina says I would follow a bucket of grain into a burning barn.   Silly Nina. What horse wouldn’t? ( … What’s a burning barn?)

What is something that you really like to eat?


Mountain Morning Cold

DSC06046      Feeding the birds

It is winter in the Rockies.  Last night it got down to -21 degrees.  That is cold! Poppy likes to know that the little birds get enough to eat.

They have needed their feeders filled every day for the last three days.  He has two suet feeders and one peanut butter bread feeder (which Nina fills). There are two seed feeders and Poppy throws out a dog bowl of chicken scratch.  They surely eat a lot.

Rex watches Poppy hang  the peanut butter bread feeder.

We hope that you are warm and full, too.  We love you.  XOXOXO

Mountain Snow and COLD

DSC06045      Ponies with snow blankets

We are getting a winter storm that is coming your way!

The is snow falling.  You cannot even see the mountain on the other side of the house. Yesterday it was 50 degrees.   Today the high was 6 degrees for about an hour before it dropped backwards again.

Birds and the horses cannot go in the house, but we have woolly fur and fluffy feathers that keep us nicely warm.  Nina and Poppy give us extra food, which also helps us keep warm.

Try to stay warm when it gets to where you are!