“Hey Jane! Come here quick!”

So I did:

This may or may not be the “cougar” I saw earlier, but this is definitely a bobcat. We saw his cropped tail, though we couldn’t catch a photo to document it.

What do we know about bobcats? About 18 inches long, 12-14 inches tall at the shoulder. Most of the photos on Natl. Geo showed a tawny, mottled coat. Our guy is tawny, can’t tell about his spots. They can leap 12 feet, and dine on rabbits and rodents and unsecured chickens. This photo is west of the house, on the Fish & Wildlife acres. Kind of exciting, right? Don’t worry, our chickens are secured.

“Hey, Larry! I think Ryan’s here to move the cows across to the other pasture!”

The red truck and trailer parked halfway down the driveway must mean a cattle drive was underway, and Larry wouldn’t want to miss that. We each poured a cup of coffee and took up a post where we could see the action.

There were two cowboys on the job, Jake and Anthony, and it was raining. Down-pouring. One of them got the ATV off the trailer while the other took down the rails and wire from the fence on opposite sides of the road. Might have been more entertaining if they were on horseback, but this isn’t Montana, so.

The cows are aware that something is afoot, and they bolt for the farthest corner of the pasture. Not visible, but there is a fence between them and the rail fence close to the house. They can’t come any closer to us:

And the fun begins. This pasture slopes down the hill and through a stand of oaks. These are herd animals, is a so if one goes, they all go. The trick will be to persuade one of them to notice the gap in the fence, but after half an hour, none of them has spotted it.

Back and forth, the rain coming down. Mud splashing on their boots — made me reconsider my childhood dream of becoming a cow girl.

But all’s well, they did eventually make it through, and now they have approx. 30 acres of lovely grass to eat, some giant oaks to shelter under, and now Jake and Anthony can go home. Show over.

For perspective, the first photo of the bobcat shows the field between my camera (phone) and the cows. Same direction.

“Cross my heart-Hope to die-Poke a needle in my eye?”

Where did this come from? A child-hood rhyme? As I’m currently being treated with, in actual fact, a needle in the eye, I become curious.

I look it up: I find that the phrase originated in eras of plague and contagion. Those who died were buried in mass graves. This practice sometimes led to an unconscious or comatose patient mistakenly pronounced dead, and buried. To avoid this, caregivers were said to stick a needle in the eye of a patient to determine his status. Still alive?

Yikes! Not sure why the phrase migrated to childhood, and an assertion of truth telling, but if you’re wondering why I’m having a needle stuck in my eye, it has to do with broken blood vessels and built-up pressure and the necessity of seeing a retina specialist. Point is, yesterday I spent the afternoon in a certain amount of misery, and with a profound empathy for anyone with impaired vision. Poor me. But it’s fine this morning, and now we’re all a little more informed about certain medieval medical care Right?

On Saturday we made it home from a quick trip to Boulder to watch granddaughter Alli graduate U of Colorado. We’d meant to visit her, certainly earlier in her academic career, but this was the first time we’d actually done so. Feeling both appalled at how quickly 4 years went by, and able to blame Covid for our dereliction, we’re happy for her and believe her life will be interesting and rewarding.

How did we like Boulder? Hmm. It’s beautiful, tucked just under the Rockies, so if you simply look West, you’ll fall in love. Don’t look east. It does not end. Not a tree to be seen — okay a slight exaggeration — but it’s so flat and empty! Every so many miles along the highway from Denver to Boulder there are sudden vast acreages of new housing. All crowded together into instant cities with no apparent shopping, theaters, sandwich shops and etc. There will be an old farm house with outbuildings and fences and then all those sudden houses surrounding the remnants of someone’s dream of the west.

You all know how much I dislike air travel. Hasn’t changed. Ugh. Our flight to Boulder left Portland at 5:30 a.m. We spent the night in an airport motel, expecting an empty terminal and a quick hustle through security. Hahaha. I visited with some of my neighbors in line, but didn’t learn why so many of us were in such a dither to get to Denver that morning. As an old person, I’m not required to remove my shoes to get through security, but my artificial knees guarantee that I’ll be patted down after the MRI or whatever that machine produces. But this time, after the “pat-down” with latex gloves, I’m told to stand aside, I will need another, more complete examination. Would I like to go somewhere private?

What? What does this complete exam involve? Oh God. Well, whatever, no, I do not need/desire a private space. Why this, anyway? Apparently some lotion I used in the motel has causes alarm. Oh, yeah, I love to fly.

Safely home, Martha is coming this afternoon and we’ll go to the ballet in Eugene. It’s an adaptation of Taming of the Shrew. If you have nothing better to do, look up a summary of the play. Or, of course, read the original play in your “Complete Works of Shakespeare” Pretty confusing, but I expect the dance will be gorgeous despite the dubious take on the duties of Woman.

I’ll let you know if you should pick up that huge Complete Works. Good luck!