Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Third year of drought?

These days we seem to be caught up cycles, economic cycles, election cycles, and most important to those who make their living in agriculture, weather cycles.

I remember the drought years of mid 1970s, as well as the painful years of 1988 -1991. These weather patterns come along about every ten years or so, long enough that people forget how bad it can be. Each new generation of farmers and ranchers who comes of age in the good years have to learn the painful lessons that come with a multi-year drought. Your costs dramatically increase as your revenue declines.

The effects of the current three year drought are cumulative. Most of the ranchers in our area do not run animals on the same ground on a year round basis. In the winter months, starting around November, the livestock are turned out onto grasslands, mainly the hills in western Yolo County. If we have a dry fall and winter, the new grass does not start growing early and the ranchers must feed hay or find other supplemental feed. With the price of hay doubling in the last two years, this option is becoming so expensive, the thin profit margins livestock producers have disappear. The question soon becomes how can I minimize my losses for the year, how do I pay my bills?

When late spring arrives, if the rainfall has been below normal, the feed on the hills does not last as long as normal and this compounds the problem. With the rangelands drying up earlier, the need to ship the livestock to their summer pastures may come a full month sooner than planned. For those growers who ship their livestock to higher elevations in the Sierra Nevada range or southern Oregon, the summer pastures may still be covered in snow and the rancher will once again have to purchase extra hay and supplement until he can move his livestock.

For growers who keep their livestock on irrigated pasture here in Yolo County, this year will be very challenging. The Yolo County Flood Control and Water Conservation District will curtail the amount water used for irrigation as the last two dry years have depleted most of the surface storage water held in the Indian Valley Reservoir.

While we enjoy the warm sunshine and green grass in hills right now, every time the forecast shows seven little pictures of the sun, we know the odds are stacking up against us. 2009 will be another dry year. Unless we receive another March miracle, hard decisions will have to made.

The worst part of these cycles is they seems to run together. Every drought hits right when the economy is in recession. Any way you look at the situation, the effects of the drought will hit the agriculture and livestock industry hard.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dirty Jobs in Washington DC

Hello, Mike Rowe here taking a look at yet another dirty job. So where am I going ? Am I going to animal rendering plant or a dairy farm? Nope, I am heading to quite possibly the dirtiest place I have ever been.

I am here in the nation's capital, Washington DC, and more specifically, in the office of Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. Senator Reid, nice to see you and thanks for letting us take a look behind the scenes at your office to see what really happens inside the beltway. I am also pleased to have Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi here with us. Thanks to you both.

Thank you Mike, glad to have you here in the capital.
I love your show Mike, but I don't really see why you came to DC. While we work pretty hard, we don't usually break a sweat, right Nancy?

That's right, we are always working hard for the American people Mark, but it isn't what you would call a dirty job.

That's Mike, Mrs. Speaker. Well, I may not know a lot about the finer points of politics but one thing I am very familiar with is manure. I was looking over the 'Stimulus Package' you two are working on, along with President Obama and I must say, it is loaded with manure.

Mike, we have to do something to get this economy back on track. Every dollar of this stimulus package has been specifically targeted to create jobs and jump start the economy.

Wheew! I'm glad you folks at home can't smell the load of manure Senator Reid just flung at me. I have smelled some pretty rank things on this show, but how do you two get used to the smell of this stimulus package?

What smell?

C'mon guys, I am getting pretty good at recognizing certain smells, and this stimulus package has the distinct stench of pig. It must be the hundreds of billions in pork barrel spending you guys loaded into this thing. No wonder you want to get it passes before people have a chance to look at it, let alone smell it. Look at this crap right here. What is this? It says its $13 million in improvements in Las Vegas, much of it for a pedestrian bridge at the Tropicana hotel-casino. Whew, that stinks Mrs. Speaker.

That's unfair Mike. The President, Senator Reid and I are acting in the best interest of America, we want to do what's right for everyone. And it's in Senator Reid's home state, so it must be a good project.

Ughh, there is that smell again, I think my eyes are tearing up. What about this handful of manure right here? This one is $4.8 million for a polar bear exhibit in Rhode Island.

Those are critical infrastructure projects that will put Americans back to work. And both Senators from Rhode Island are Democrats, so that helps.

Ughh, I can't take any more of this. Thanks Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi for this chance to look at the mess here in Washington. Folks, I have only been digging around here for an hour and I have been covered head to toe in this crap. I am taking a long shower, and now a word from our sponsors.

Up to your eyeballs in crap? You need the new CrapWow!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

How to suck up to your wife, part 1

When my wife was in Kentucky last week buying horses, I wanted to do something for her while she was gone. I was sick most of that week but I did manage to make her a coat rack. It took some old lumber, an oxy-acetylene torch, a router and a few cast iron pieces I picked up at the gun show a few weeks ago. The cast iron stars are hiding the mounting screw holes, and I routed both of our brands into it. Looks pretty cool I think.

Obama and the Media's Paradigm Shift

From Manhattan to LA, there seems to be a new vision brought about by our new President. One where old definitions must be rethought in this new post-Bush world, at least inside the newsrooms and editorial offices of the main stream media.

When George W. Bush was sitting in the oval office, the military version of events on the ground would be thought of as fiction first, unless proven beyond a shadow of doubt. Reporters would hammer away at military spokesmen and then contact their 'unnamed military sources' to get the 'real story' of events on the ground, especially when that story fit the liberal template of; US=bad, everyone else=good.

Terrorist insurgents became 'innocent civilians' when the MSM wrote their stories, air strikes on arms caches in remote towns became air strikes on peaceful farming villages, and so on. If the aftermath of an air strike showed ten dead bodies, all clutching AK 47s and RPGs and one child was tragically injured or killed, guess what photo went out over the AP wires? It would not be the ten dead terrorists, I can assure you.

US=bad, everyone else=good, that is the perspective of most of the American media and the liberal left. If the Unites States armed forces are doing anything to anyone, anywhere in the world, it must be bad thing.

So what happens now when those troops are under the command of President Barack Obama? Will the dead terrorists magically stay terrorists when the story hits the pages of the New York Times? What about dead civilians? Will they become 'unfortunate pawns' killed because the terrorists deliberately hide amongst the civilian population in this new post-Bush world, or will they be held up as examples of a recklessness Obama administration?

What about Code Pink, Mooveon and the Kos kids, they will surely slam the new President when the Obama administration performs these air strikes, right?

So when President Obama orders missiles fired from Predator drone at a remote Pakistani village killing 22 people and the liberal left doesn't doesn't immediately condemn it, did it really even happen?

US=not so bad, everyone else=not so good?
Oh how the times are changing. This will be very interesting to watch.

Santa gets a bailout

This would be funny, if it wasn't so darn tragic.

Stolen from Michael at Leatherstocking South Farm

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale 2009

Every year I threaten to stop going to the Bull Sale because it's turned too commercial. But I always go. What can I say, I can't stay away.

I have been going to the Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale for over 25 years. I have slept in the horse stalls when I was too 'unstable' to make it back to the truck, I have challenged everyone in Palomino Room to a fight and my three friends and I personally closed down the Red Bluff Taxi service because of the destruction to their cabs. This is not something I am proud of mind you, it's just an example of the Mardi Gras in cowboy boots that is Bull Sale weekend. At least it used to be.

Last year my wife and I drove up on Friday night, met up our friends, walked through the vendor displays and then had dinner. We woke up early, watched the bulls sell and drove home. It was quite a civilized experience.

These days I go to talk to industry people, other local cattlemen and watch some of the horse clinics. About ten years ago I took one friend up there, we tore up the town that weekend. Now about half of western Yolo County is sitting at the bar at the Palomino Room on Friday night.

It is a great time, if you're young and looking to 'let er buck', or if you just enjoy cowboy culture and western art.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Okay, back to work now.

With the inauguration of Barack Obama now in the books, America can stop counting down the weeks, days and hours. It has come and gone, and we now have a new President. Along with sky high expectations of what he will do for America.

If you were one of the millions who stopped everything and gathered around a television set or computer screen to watch the swearing in of our 44th President, or if you went through Tuesday as if it were just another Tuesday, I would like to suggest a course of action; let's get back to work.

Those who have the Yes we can!, Impeach Bush, No War For Oil, bumper stickers on your Subaru, this day is a dream come true. More over, it's the end of your own personal nightmare that has been the past eight years. Bush and his neo con, war mongering dragon have been slain. The grass must look greener today, the sky bluer, and the soy milk must taste sweeter today than it did yesterday. Congratulations, you are the proud owner of the next four years.

Those of you who voted for President Obama because he seemed like a smart guy with good ideas and he connected with you on a more personal level, hang on, this may be a bumpy ride. These next for years will probably be filled with days where you think you made a smart decision, and others where you ask yourself, what was I thinking?
By this fall, you will have a pretty good idea of who you voted for.

Those of us who did not for President Obama are hoping for the best, but won't be surprised if it goes just the way we think it will, badly. We have been impressed with some of the President's cabinet picks and his realization that the world, the war and the economy are more difficult to deal with when you are on the inside making decisions rather than on the outside, offering criticism.

The one thing that scares me as much as it brings joy to the hard core left; there is no one to say this is crazy, we can't do this. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are waiting in the wings with a Santa's wish list of government spending that will run the yearly deficits into the trillion dollar range. Not billions, trillions. But don't worry, when the Democrats print trillions and spend it on projects in their districts, it's not called pork barrel spending anymore, it's now called "Government Stimulus"!

That makes it all better, right?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Interesting talks

Last night my son and I were watching a History Channel show on Martin Luther King Jr. It seemed to me, as I watched the black and white footage of the first attempt at the Selma march, that I was watching an America from 100 years ago. An America I didn't know. I was trying to give my son a frame of reference, explaining a world and a way of thinking that he has never known.

One of the things my son wondered about was why it took more than 100 years, from the end of the Civil War until the Civil Rights movement, for southern blacks to truly gain equal rights? That was, and still is, a good question. A question I am not sure I or anyone can answer.

I told my son that the worst blow made to the newly freed slaves was the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Without the leadership and vision of Lincoln, the nation tore it self apart again as factions fought over the reconstruction of the South. President Andrew Johnson, a southern Democrat, was no match for angry northern Republicans incensed at the assassination of Lincoln by a southerner, and he fared no better with southern Democrats who saw him as a traitor to the confederate cause. With the divisions in the federal government and impeachment of Johnson, the southern states slowly and deliberately enacted laws to deny blacks the freedoms won by those who fought and died in the Civil War.

Lincoln would have had a tremendous task, insuring the newly won rights of the former slaves, and no doubt there would have been more bloodshed, setbacks and even compromises, but the foothold of government sanctioned racism would have not been allowed to become a 100 year yolk around the neck of our nation. I told my son that had Lincoln lived, a 1960's style Civil Rights movement in the south may have happened before the turn of the 20th century. But what do I know?

The next two days offer two examples of how much this nation has changed since March 7th, 1965, and that Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma Alabama. If you asked one of the marchers or one of the march protesters if they thought somewhere out there, a four year old son of black Kenyan father and white Kansas mother would grow up to be President of the Unites States, I don't think either side would have thought it possible.

The great thing about this nation is its ability to change, grow and evolve. As Bill Bennett points out in his book, America - The Last Best Hope, one of the best milestones in race relation we experienced was not when Frank Robinson was hired as the first black manger in the major leagues, it was when he was fired. It proved more than anything else that we were ready to judge people on their performance, not on the color of their skin.

As President Obama is sworn in amid the fanfare and celebration, I can tell my son that America has come a long way in my lifetime and I hope it goes even further in his. While I will still vigorously disagree with policies and legislation I believe to be harmful to our nation, I will continue, as I did at church on Sunday, to pray for our new President. I would like to see Barack Obama remembered, not as the first African-American President, but as capable, successful President. I want him to succeed because I want America to succeed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What kind of music do you listen to?

My son and I are experiencing a female-free house this week. My wife and daughter are back in Kentucky looking at horses so there are a few more dirty dishes in the sink than usual. The decibel level when we have been playing our guitars has also seen quite an increase in the past two days. It's been kinda fun, come to think of it. While I consider myself almost domesticated, it doesn't take long for me to revert back to a more feral existence.

Tonight I stumbled across a new music site called Purevolume.com. I started to browse through the list of music genres and stared at the list of musical types, many I had never heard of. They have 49 separate genres. Could you tell me exactly what kind of music 'Trance' is? It sounds like a couple of thirteen year old kids on a 34 hour hour, Red Bull and Snickers induced high playing with their older brother's synthesizer. It's great if you like listening to the Super Mario Brothers soundtrack mixed with Disco and fusion jazz.

I asked my son to sit down and we cruised through the band names and song lists for Metal, Death Metal, Metal Core, Hardcore, and for those who think Hardcore is so last week, there is Post Hardcore. Not to mention Ska, Grunge and Screamo.

I don't like most of it. My son does. He doesn't care if the singer can't, well, sing. As long as the double bass drum is thundering and the guitars are tuned to Drop C, he likes it.

I am not sure we will survive the rest of the week. One thing is for certain, we will be spending Friday night and Saturday cleaning like Marines in boot camp. The house can't look my high school apartment when the girls get home. I may start on Thursday.

I may be dumb as a rock, but I'm not stupid.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Gran Torino - go see it

I could just leave my review at those three words, go see it, but I'll give you a little more. This is easily Clint Eastwood's best movies since 1992's Unforgiven. I wasn't as swept away with Million Dollar Baby as some were, and maybe I am just showing my age, but I know a few people like Walt Kowalski, Eastwood's character in Gran Torino. Cranky old guys from the back end of the Greatest Generation who like things just as they were, in 1955.

I won't give too much of the story away, but I do enjoy the interaction between 'Walt' and 27 year old Father Janovich. Having been in the young Father's shoes, trying to speak about the matters of this world with someone who has seen much more of life's dark underside, war and combat, than I will ever see, I felt for the young Priest. I also know the kind heart hidden behind the gruff and bristled exterior of men like Walt Kowalski. It is not easy to see, but I have sat around camp fires and on a bar stools next to them and began to understand how they see the world. If you listen close, past the rough language, you will catch a glimpse of that kindness and warmth.

You may have a Walt Kowalski in your life, the old guy next door, the grandfather that you don't like, or that guy who drives his 1972 Ford pickup down the road at 50 miles per hour and makes you late for work. You might want to look past that gruff exterior and see what you can find. They won't be around much longer, their experiences and the changes they have seen in their lives is simply amazing. Buy them lunch, they are usually a thrifty bunch and will appreciate this. Ask them what they were doing at your age, ask them what it was like back then. It could change the way think about their generation. It has changed my view.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The best of a bad situation.

Over the years, I have tried to keep an open mind with regard to the Rumsey Band of Wintun Indians and the development of a casino square in the middle of a once quiet agricultural valley. I respect the sovereignty of designated tribal land, and if their casino had a limited impact on the quality of life for the residents of the Capay Valley, I wouldn't say a word if they built the Taj Mahal or the Eiffel Tower on their land. However, there comes a time when all the Tribe's talk and press releases about their 'commitment to the community' has to be considered disingenuous at best, and spiteful at worst.

Their 'commitment' seems to stop at the front entrance to the casino and at the bottom line of the accounting ledger. I understand the value of a good business model; when the tribe opened the first Nevada-style gaming casino, they had a gold mine. With the first major expansion of the casino, along with a hotel-resort, the tribe now has a diamond mine. The money the tribe spends to 'mitigate' the impact of the 414,110 square feet of development is a mere drop in the bucket to its bottom line.

Tripling the size of the current casino, when its impact to the local community has been far from 'mitigated', is a slap in the face. Now the tribe wants to use non-tribal land in its expansion plans. The development of the Elden property, which the tribe purchased, is Non-Trust land. This property is under the same County zoning regulations and land use restrictions as any other parcel in the Capay Valley.

I doubt the Yolo County would let me build a waste water facility and 500 space parking lot on my property in Esparto. In fact, they would probably ask what I had been smoking.

The tribe has an interesting argument for using the Elden property in their expansion plans. The 500 space parking lot, the use of the Elden property to store excavated materials and build a waste water facility will cut down on traffic. Really? I have a better idea, why don't they use some of their 'Trust' land for these uses? Oh, that would take away valuable gaming and revenue making square footage from their plans. We can't have that, the tribe needs to squeeze every last drop of revenue from every square foot of their diamond mine.

The casino expansion is going to happen, that is simple fact. Even as the Rumsey Tribe is partnering with a Bay Area development group and another tribe in the Richmond area to build a billion dollar casino resort in the north bay, they want to short change their neighbors. Being a capitalist at heart, I am all for making as much money as possible, but not at the expense of the community and values the tribe says it holds in high regard.

The County has a opportunity to make the best of a bad situation. With the agreement between the County and the tribe heading for arbitration, residents can only hope the County prevails and the arbitrator doesn't fall for the empty talk of commitment and community values.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The GOP goes on the anvil

Welcome to 2009, the year the Republican Party goes from the forge onto the anvil for reshaping. The postmortem on the 2006 and 2008 elections are now final, even if some in the Republican party don't like the findings, they are clear. They do not paint a pretty picture for the party as we go into the New Year and looking forward to 2010.

Besides the hard working folks who make up the core of our local Republicans, I was hard pressed to find anyone who would boldly proclaim their association with the GOP in the 2008 election year. When I pressed them, I heard one answer more than any other; they were mad. They were mad at Republicans in Congress and President Bush for the reckless spending that had taken place under the six years of Republican control in Washington.

I understood their anger and felt it every bit as much as they did. The grassroots gave the President and the congressional Republicans a pass in 2004 because of the war in Iraq. Plain and simple. We were going to stand by our commander in chief and we would look the other way as Congress grew the federal government at a rate not seen since Lyndon Johnson's 'Great Society'. When the time came to once again hold our noses and vote for the big spending Republicans, we may have voted for them, but we sure didn't walk any precincts or send many checks to the GOP. The result was disastrous, but predictable.

This year the GOP is in the forge, the fire burning away the impurities, ready for the hammer blows on the anvil that will reshape the party. While there must be refinement to make a stronger party, there is a danger in this process. Too much fire and the steel becomes very hard, but also very brittle. To little heat and metal's structure is unchanged, just reshaped.

There are two strong camps vying for control of the party. The social conservatives who feel this party has taken them for granted, using them as a beast of burden and giving them just enough rhetoric to keep them motivated. The other camp is those who want rid the party of any evangelical influence and focus on policy and economics. We need both factions to work together if we are to move forward.

The answer lays in going back to our party’s founding principles, along with a new era of leadership inside the Republican Party. People know real leadership when they see it, and we need to give them a GOP they can believe in.

Here is the application for membership in new GOP, the principles are few and easy to understand.

• The answer to every problem is not another government-spending program.
Throwing money at every problem simply doesn't work, it just grows government. We need to look at everything we do as a government and ask, how can we do this better, faster and more efficiently.

• Lower taxes means economic opportunity for everyone.
Let us keep more of our money instead of feeling grateful when they give some of it back.

• The world is a dangerous place and there are people who want to kill everyone us down to the last man, woman and child. These terrorists and rouge states are not going away, and we have to contain the ones who can be contained and defeat the ones who cannot be.

• America was founded on religious freedom, not freedom from religion. If you want to strike any mention of God from every public place, you can agree to disagree with us and move on, or find the door.

• Corruption will be dealt with swiftly, especially within our party.
If you are in leadership and you knew of wrongdoing and tried to cover it up, you are gone too. No family members as staff or lobbyist, sorry it’s called public service, not a late-night, get rich quick program.

• Earmarks are history, I know it’s a drop in the bucket spending wise, but to allow them to continue is political tone-deafness on an industrial scale. We need to win the small battles too.

• Enforce the borders. Build the wall, make a tamper-proof federal ID, and make sure the employers who hire illegal workers are hit hard in the pocketbook. Then come talk to me about a pathway to citizenship for those already here. Enforcement first.

• Domestic oil production is the key in giving us time to develop an alternative technology to replace our oil dependence. Sending trillions of dollars, buying OPEC oil, to the countries who teach their children to hate us is crazy. What would a world look like where a viable alternative to petroleum-based fuels was invented and produced in the US?

• School choice. If the government is failing our families by giving them chronically under performing schools, give the parents a choice to send them to a private or semi-private charter school. Competition is a wonderful thing, it forces change and change is good, or so I've been told lately.

Well, those are a few of my suggestions for building a strong, vibrant GOP. It certainly isn't slick or sexy. It doesn't have a catchy theme like 'Hope and Change', it's just common sense, basic conservative ideas.

It's like the most effective diet plan ever devised that no one follows; eat less, exercise more. Everyone wants a pill that we can swallow to loose the weight. As conservatives, we know what to do, we know how to do it, we just need someone to give us a kick in the pants, get us off the couch and to lace up our running shoes. I think we just got that kick in the pants last November.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

I (sniff) have sinned.

Yes that is right, I have committed a sinful act this afternoon. I sold a firearm that shoots well. Okay, it's not a Biblical sin, but it's is one of my self imposed rules that I try to live by. Never sell a gun that shoots well, even if you haven't shot the gun in question for several years. There are a few guns I sold in the past that I sorely wish I had back. There have been others I had no problems parting with. Such was the case today as I walked into the gun show looking to trade my old Remington model 12 pump action 22. I originally bought this rim-fire for my son when he was about six years old. I have always liked pump action 22s and thought it would be a good firearm for my son to learn gun safety with and maybe even a little ground squirrel reduction on my friend's ranch.

When I purchased the 22, from a local gunsmith no less, the chamber had been eroded and the spent cases would flare at the end and become lodged in the chamber requiring not a small amount of effort to eject the spent case. I sent the Remington up to Idaho to have the problem diagnosed and fixed. Why Idaho? That is where my friend Joe lives, and I trust Joe enough to send him any firearm and he will tell me straight up weather it is worth fixing or to hang it on my wall. He had a friend of his reline the barrel and the fix was not very expensive. One thing about Joe, he isn't a full time gunsmith, he works on stuff when he finds time or when he feels like it. Winter in Idaho being what it is, if you get something to him in November, your odds are very good you will get it back quickly. If you send it to him in the spring, it might take a while. The old Remington was very accurate when it came back but my son had since taken a fancy to my Ruger 10-22 semi-auto and looked upon the pump as rather quaint. Oh well. Into the safe it went, not to be fired for the next ten years.

Which brings me to today and the gun show. I have a few things I am passionate about other than my family and my faith. The list would include horses, cattle, firearms and music. With the price of hay and its seemingly inverse relationship to the cattle market, right now extra cash in nowhere to be found. However, I really wanted to buy an amplifier for my bass guitar. Playing my bass through my electric guitar amp doesn't allow for the full, rich low end that I need. If I could get enough cash for the old Remington, I could get my musical fix satisfied.

I also broke the second rule of gun show shopping, walk around the entire show before trying to buy or sell anything. I knew how much cash I needed to buy my amp, and I knew how much money I had wrapped up in the 22, but I didn't know the market price of the Model 12. At the second table I stopped by, the dealer asked how much I wanted for it. I told him what I thought was fair price, enough for him to turn around and make $50 for himself, or so I thought. He jerked out his wallet and peeled my off 20 dollar bills until he came to my price. I knew I should have looked around before setting a price but, that is the way it works. He may make $50 or even $100 dollars on my rim-fire, but it might take him three shows to do it, or it could take three minutes.

With the fresh bills in my pocket I made my way out the door, though not before I bought some rifle primers and cleaning supplies. I headed to my other favorite place, Guitar Center. I sat down and played through four different bass amps in my price range and finally decided on the one I like best. I paid cash for my amplifier, something the salesman seemed a little taken aback by. I loaded into the back of the truck and headed back over the river towards home.

I have been playing with my new amp since I came home and really like to shake the walls with the low bass frequency rumble. My wife does not seem to find the same satisfaction or amusement with my loud bass playing, but she is like that. No appreciation for the finer things.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Okay, I am getting freakin' old. I did stay up till about 2am last night, but there was no loud music, no people throwing up or passing out. Just playing nickle, dime, quarter poker with my wife's family. Oh and there were some fireworks of questionable legal status. I would turn them in for further inspection by the proper authorities, but they are no longer in one piece. There are pieces of oranges all over my father in law's back yard though.

Somewhere in the Malay, my wife's border collie thought she would scale the fence of the kennel and go on a walkabout. She turned up this afternoon at a ranch a few miles away. I had put up a few lost dog flyers around the area and someone called saying they had Ellie.

Time to turn in early tonight, I have to work tomorrow.

Sorry Matt, it's been a pretty spice free New Year so far...