Monday, October 27, 2008

Cold Weather!

Winter in the Black Hills can be very cold and stormy, we're finding out! It is beautiful, too. Yesterday there was an inch of snow, which is not bad, but there was wind gusting up to 55 mph and a 20 degree temperature, too. That's more difficult to deal with, especially since we have to be out in it, feeding the animals and going between buildings. We've had a mild sampling of what it will be as we get deeply into winter.

Here is a striking sunset outside our 5th wheel back window. I caught the reflection in a large mud puddle nearby.

This is our 5th wheel decked out with hay bales to protect against the wind which comes from the west mostly. It really works! We will have to guard against mice, who love the hay, but the wind is much more bothersome to contend with. We watched leaves and other debris being fiercely blown to the east and almost felt like our "house" was going to go along, too!

Monday, October 20, 2008


The most fun part of our job here at Roo Ranch is getting to feed the "inside" joeys and getting to watch those who are still with their mothers. This is Keith with Smores, a male swamp wallaby. We love to hold him because he is a cuddler, which is somewhat unusual for 'roos. He loves to be petted.

And here I am with Smores. Didn't I pick a good day to wear my maroon cap? It goes so well with the orange "Australia" motive on the walls.

Here we have Axile, a male Agile Wallaby. He's the only one of his kind at Roo Ranch. What a character! He is constantly underfoot while we're trying to clean his and Smore's room, investigating every little thing we bring in.

It is quite a thrill to get to see a joey poking its head out of its mom's pouch. This is a wallaroo mom. The little one will sometimes stick out its paws and scrabble in the food bay while mom is eating. It won't be long before it is out and about on its own, but never far from mom.

Matilda is an eastern grey kangaroo whose joey has just started poking its head out. It looks so new and bewildered at the outside world. Matilda is very tame, since she was a rejected joey who was raised by hand by the Roo Ranch owners.

Here is a close-up view of mom's nose and her little one.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What is a Zeedonk?

I'm an animal lover, always have been, but I'd never heard of a Zeedonk till I got to the Roo Ranch! What will people think of next? This animal is a cross between a zebra and a donkey, and is sterile like a mule. There are 2 of them here and both are quite ornery. When they see us coming with their grain and hay, they kick and bite at each other. It becomes a challenge to retrieve their bowls without becoming victims to their shenanigans. Nevertheless, we enjoy watching them and serving them their victuals. (Click on the picture to get a better view of his zebra stripes.) Yes, that is an early snow in the Deadwood area. Brrr!

On another subject, I appreciate the workings of the human body, created by God, never more than when one of those organs or limbs is on the fritz. The other day we were in the joey room where we have the joy of bottle feeding 1 kangaroo baby and 3 wallaby babies. Keith was mopping the linoleum floor and I was getting ready to exit the room, when I felt a critter under my feet. I dodged quickly, slipped on the wet floor, and down I went, badly hurting my right shoulder. I was so grateful, though, that there were no squashed wallabies under me! Several days later I am still in pain and unable to use my arm to work. Even dressing is a challenge. However, it's getting better, and I am able to do many things with one arm so haven't missed any days of work. Keith is great to take over most of the chores by himself. I'm good at opening and closing gates anyway! Praises to God for His excellent care for us, and for the prayers of dear friends!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Call, Wall, Fall

Deadwood, South Dakota

One thing I miss since we've been full-time RVers is being in a regular church fellowship and having close relationships with other members. We enjoyed going to Mt. Rushmore all summer but the only regulars besides us were the 3 young men who held the service! Moving to the Roo Ranch has given us opportunity to find a new church to attend every Sunday. Today we went to Spearfish to one called "Countryside Community Church". I thought that sounded like a good start, possibly a non-denominational body. We loved it! It is a large church with 2 packed services, about to go to 3 services every Sunday. The worship music was great and the sermon was what we needed to hear. I wondered how we would ever get to know anyone with that many people attending, but possibly there is a small group we can join.

One part of the sermon sticks with me. The pastor said that first we get the "call". We realize that we are here for a purpose, God's purpose, and we respond to that call. Very soon we come up against a "wall" and find we can't do what the word says all on our own. Next, if we're smart, we "fall" on our knees and ask God's help to do His will. It's simple, catchy, easy to remember. I've been at the "fall" part for a long time. I know I am helpless to stand on my own so I run to Jesus like a small child runs to its mother and I am comforted, helped and strengthened in His arms.

I am including a picture of Deadwood, South Dakota, 1 1/2 miles from Roo Ranch.
(Click to enlarge.) This whole town is an historical landmark! It was the place where gold was first discovered in the Black Hills. Tragically, that discovery led to the breaking of the U.S. treaty with the Lakota and other tribes of Indians promising that their sacred Black Hills would always belong to them. It's one the darkest parts of American history. The town now is quite fascinating for the old buildings, Mt. Moriah Cemetery, etc, but is totally a gambling town. It's all about Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Hug a Roo!

Here we are in the early morning light giving bottles to a few of the kangaroos. They don't really need them but they are given for a treat to help keep the roos tame and to make it easier to give medicine if necessary. These 4 young ones are Yaba, a male, Bella, Jitterbug, and Meeka, females, waiting for their sip. To the right is Boo, the big dominant male. We look out for him because he can get testy when we're messin' with his mob. He did try one on with Keith just before I snapped this photo, but Keith held out his arm and said "no" loudly, and Boo backed off. Gotta know who's boss! He doesn't look all that big in this picture, but he can stand up to over 5 feet and look you right in the eye. He has a beautiful face with distinctive markings!
Jack, another full-grown male in Boo's mob, is a lover. He likes a daily hug from whoever is willing, and pouts if he doesn't get it! Here he is hugging Keith and giving him kangaroo kisses. We continue to be fascinated by these strange hopping creatures and are working diligently to learn the names and characteristics of each individual one. And I think we have finally figured out who's a kangaroo, who's a wallaroo, and who's a wallaby! (Click on picture to enlarge.)