Life on the Ranch

Yesterday was a big day.  I went into Redmond again to get a few more items, and then it was back to the cleaning project.  When I got back to the ranch, Patrick, the man who was fixing the window, showed up to put the new window in.  Patrick used to live in the cabin, so he was able to tell me about the cabin, the land, and the spiders (YIKES!).  I have got to look up images of Black Widows.  I need to be prepared.  Actually, I am more concerned about running into the rattlesnake that has been spotted on the ranch (double YIKES!!).   Patrick finished the window and was about to leave when I said, “Ummm….Patrick…do you think you can show me how to start a fire in the woodburning stove?”  He was very willing to help out.  He asked if there was any fire wood, and I did not know…he asked me if the ax was still there…and I did not know.  So, we hopped into one of the transport vehicles in order to haul some wood back from the big house (not to be confused with the University of Michigan football stadium!).

photo 1

After we brought the wood back, he started chopping some of the bigger pieces in order to make kindling.  I said, “Can I try?” So, he gave me some good pointers, and away I went.  I took the ax in both hands, pulled it over my right shoulder, and “THUD!” The ax got stuck in the wood.  Patient Patrick gave me a few more pointers, and again, I pulled the ax over my right shoulder, and “CRACK!” This time, the wood actually split.  Many of you received texts about my new wood chopping skill.  I was so proud of myself. It didn’t seem to matter that it took me about 10 times as long as it took Patrick.

The next task was to actually start a fire.  Here is a photo of the stove.

photo 2

The fire is made on the far left, underneath the left burners.  I have to use the special tool (a lid lifter, I think) to take the burner covers off of the stove.  Patrick told me to put in some newspaper (of course I didn’t have any of that either!), then the kindling on top of that, listen for the crackle, then add the wood.  I had that thing going all day!

photo 3

I think that worked pretty well!  Once the cabin heated up, it was easier to do the cleaning and unpacking that was on my to-do list.  One of the first things that I did was climb the ladder so I could make my bed.

photo 4

  photo 5


Shannon (my dog) arrived at about 10pm last night.  I was very happy to see her, and yes, you guessed it, she was happy to see me.  She sniffed around a little bit outside, then she came inside and gave every square inch a good sniff.  Shannon is very used to sleeping near me (or the person she is staying with – thanks Aunt Mary and Mo!).  If she can, she likes to get under the bed.  However, as you probably figured out, there was no way she was going up that ladder.  I did think about it for a minute, but quickly realized that even if she could get up the ladder, there was no chance she could get down (a dog waiter prototype is in the works).  She whined a bit, but then she dug into her nest of blankets, and she was snoring in no time.  I did not sleep very well, but I am sure that will change.

Today was my first day of work.  Well, it was only a couple of hours, but it was my first assignment.  I have been remiss in explaining to you, the reader, what it is that I will be doing here.  I will be working for a family friend named, Dr. Juliana Panchura.  She is an orthodontist who treats patients in Bend, Redmond, and the surrounding areas.  Juliana also spends one week a month in Los Angeles doing orthodontics for cleft palate patients.  I will be doing some work for her non-profit, Kahoot.

Juliana established a program where her patients could volunteer in the community in exchange for up to half off the price of braces.  The whole family can volunteer, and each our spent volunteering is equivalent to $10.  The patients have vouchers signed by the non-profit (or other organization), and then bring those into the office.  A few years ago, Juliana started Kahoot (  Kahoot expands the volunteer idea to include other professionals and services.  The website allows volunteers, business affiliates, and non-profits to sign up, and there is a search component as well.

This morning I spent a couple of hours at Project Connect looking for volunteer opportunities for Kahoot.  Held at the Deschutes County Expo Center/Fairgrounds, Project Connect, “…is a one day event that offers free services to those who are struggling to make ends meet or experiencing homelessness in Central Oregon” (  This was really amazing.  They were providing vision screenings, dental services (pulling teeth and filling cavities!), acupuncture, and haircuts (and many other wonderful services!).  This whole event was run by volunteers, and I was able to make contact with many organizations who need volunteers.  What a great introduction to Central Oregon!

When I got home, I continued Project Unpack and Get Organized when I returned.  I have already given one tour via FaceTime, and I am available for more!  Book your appointments now. Better yet, book your tickets to fly into the Bend/Redmond Airport.  The airport is only 15 minute from the ranch, and I already know how to get there.  There are direct flights from Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.  Come one, come all!

For those who are concerned, Shannon is adjusting well.  She had some great walks around the ranch today.  I started her on the leash (especially as we neared the chickens and deer), and then let her off leash to run a bit.  For an 11 year old girl, she is pretty spry.  I love that about her, but I do not love that she still thoroughly enjoys rolling in deer poop.  She barked when Juliana knocked on the door, but she was won over by the big dog bone that Juliana brought.  A happy girl…photo

Thanks for reading!

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