In earlier American rural life, communities raised barns because many hands were required. These events occured in a social framework with a good deal of interdependence. Members of rural communities often shared family bonds going back generations. They traded with each other, worshipped with each other and celebrated with each other. Barn raisings were an integral part of life and socializing.

In our modern American life, communities don't mean nearly as much as they did back then. It is our family's goal to bring a sense of community back to our lives and those lives that touch ours.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Living above a barn is dirty. Shocking, right? Living with three children has a certain amount of dirt attached to it anyway. But combine that with living on a ranch and voila! you have the makings of dirty floors, dirtier laundry, and strangest of all, lots of rocks randomly showing up on your kitchen counter. I sweep anywhere from two to five times a day. And I am certainly not an amazing housekeeper. My philosophy is to clean when I notice that it's dirty. And man, these floors are something else. Hubby mopped the other day (I have him well trained ) and by afternoon you would never have known. Then we have days like yesterday when everyone, minus T and myself, spent the day branding. Holy mudfest! I think everyone changed at least twice, M might have changed four times. You know it's bad when you make your family strip down on the front porch before you let them inside. A full load of laundry from one day is either crazy or a really fun day. I will, however, put up with the dirt and maybe even enjoy it eventually if it means I get to raise my family here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Someday, hopefully soon, I will be back on top of things. Someday. But today, this pregnancy is kicking my fanny. I am exhausted. I think I feel allright until I stand up and then I think I might get ill. Add to that all the lovely animals we have, three home educated children and a household to run and, my goodness, I am barely making it through my days. My doctor has put me on heavy restrictions due to a previous loss in pregnancy and the fact that this one has been a bit sketchy. Don't fear, all is progressing well. But I have to lie flat for the majority of the day. I have been doing this for eight days now. Which has thrown my system all out of whack. I sleep at the wrong times and then stare into the dark while the rest of the family is sweet dreaming. I can't seem to form a coherent thought. I don't know what I would do without my amazing Hubby and my sweet parents. Thankfully it has been raining here for days, so I feel a bit less guilty about staying inside in the Spring. Here is a photo post of the things that have been going on around here. There aren't any pics of S for two reasons. One, he was behind the camera lens for a few of the shots and two, the rain has not slowed him down. He is still gung ho about helping with the cows, even when freezing drizzle is creeping down his neck. I think I am raising a future rancher.

Geography lesson with the talking globe a friend gave us.

Our kitchen window. A bright spot inside while the rain pours down outside.

Cookies that the children made with Meme.

Roast in the crockpot and Meme's homemade bread.

Yellow headed blackbirds in the front yard.

In flight

T thought that since his sis was playing dress up, he should too.
Here he is in her winter coat.

M trying on my Grandma's jewelry. This occupied
her for the majority of Monday.
Do you like her lace toga?

The felt bracelet I made today for M's friend.

I think I will be making lots of these.

M decorating the gift box for her friend.

All done. I love it.

M with two different earrings on.

Saturday, April 23, 2011


Last night was S's Boy Scout father and son cake auction. Him and Hubby made a camping-themed cake. They made a similar one for the same event in Fort Collins back in January. The cake turned out great. S wanted to buy it back, but in the end he let someone else win the bid.

The cake we won was a pirate ship. The cake had already fallen apart and was being held together with skewers and so much chocolate frosting that I got a sugar buzz just looking at it.

 Over night it fell apart even more. It was no longer recognizable as any sort of a ship. In fact, it looked as if I had let the children go at it with their bare hands. For today's lunch break during branding, I took the cake down where it was well received and thankfully, mostly eaten. I have only a small amount left of what has been dubbed the "Tornado Cake". I am quite certain it will be gone by tomorrow evening. This is good news considering that I baked a cake today for my Uncles' birthday. A chocolate bundt cake to be precise. This turned out sooo much better than the lemon meringue pies. I melted some of the leftover icing from the Scout cake and drizzled it over the top and then served it with blackberries. It was delicious, but I am now at my limit for cake for at least three weeks. At which point I will be baking a cake for S's ninth birthday. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011


The family spent the day helping out with branding and castrating. Well, the family minus T and myself. I am homebound for reasons that a further post will expound on. And as for T, well it turns out that a twenty-one month old is not much help on the ranch. Who'da thunk?! Thankfully S took a bunch of pictures of the day. And since they all fell asleep before I could get any detailed accounts, we will just have to go by the pictures this time. I do know that some, if not all of my family members were kicked, stepped on, pooped on, sunburned, wind blown and exhausted. And tomorrow, if the weather holds out, they will be doing it all again. All I did today was find some laying hens through our magical Wednesday paper. Yes, laying hens. I simply cannot wait until September for our chicks to start laying. Tomorrow, we are driving to Hotchkiss to get our fine feathered friends who are already laying eggs. In total, we will have eighteen chickens. Wow. That's going to be a lot of eggs eventually.
  As a forewarning to those with a weak stomach or who don't understand ranchlife, maybe you shouldn't view the pictures. Nothing too grotesque, but the sight of burning hide might be too much for you. Actually, if that is the case, maybe you should look at the pictures so that you may more fully appreciate where your meat comes from. Give that steak or hamburger a little thank you before you shove it in your mouth. And really, the pain is over quick. They are more angry at being separated temporarily from their Mommys than anything else. And if you make it to the end of the pictures you get the added bonus of seeing some beautiful birds and my sweet little family.

Just waiting

Application of the branding iron

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


  Our internet was down again. Our internet is proving to be quite a challenge. But before we get into that, let me tell you how the pies turned out.
  Oh, the pies. Let's just just say I am not opening my own bakery anytime soon. The crust never came together right and was more crumbly than flaky. The lemon curd didn't set up right. And the meringue...well after my second attempt at trying to make it form peaks, I ended up using the first batch anyway. They tasted delicious so I guess that is what matters the most. Nobody complained or died. I will try again someday, though not anytime soon. I have decided that I am more of a cook and less of a baker.

Waiting for the lemon curd to set up. It never did.

They still turned out rather pretty.

  After a great visit from my Aunts (my Moms' sisters) they headed home this morning. It was so good to see them and I can't wait for another visit from them. One of my Aunts brought her two tiny dogs with her, which delighted my children to the core. They are a third the size of my cat, but think that they are very tough indeed.

Little kids love little dogs

That's a full grown dog!

  Hubby milked the goat tonight for the first time. We didn't get an awful lot. It filled a jam jar. It will take a while to accumulate enough to make cheese with, especially at the rate the children were consuming it.

Raw goat milk. Mmm- mmmm
   The children have been busy helping Meme and Papa on the ranch. They are growing and maturing by leaps and bounds. I have days though, that even as an uber-unschooling family, I worry that they might not be learning enough. Then they open their mouths and I am astonished at what they have picked up throughout the day. They are learning so much flora and fauna, not to mention anatomy of multiple animals. They are learning real world skills, like the value of hard work and dealing with difficult situations. Their grasp on themselves and what their boundaries are amazes me. They are not afraid to push themselves while simultaneously knowing when they need to step back. They are learning to love learning, which has been our goal all along.
  Now, on to the internet. We live in a long, narrow valley. Which is perfect for so many things, but really not conducive to receiving any sort of internet. We have to have this dumb little thing that plugs into the side of our laptop and picks up reception via Verizon cell towers. Which translates to really slow internet service. We are one step above dial up. I feel like I am stuck in the 90's. So when our dumb little thing decides to throw a temper tantrum, we are left with nothing. Maybe I should be nicer to it and stop calling it a dumb little thing. Maybe I should call it the amazing thing that brings the outside world to my fingertips. But I don't want it to get a complex. So I will just call it the little thing. And as long as it decides to work, you should be able to read a new post from me. Here's hoping.

This picture has nothing to do with this post. But I love it.
This is the apple I cut up for dinner. Reminds you of the
beautiful blossom that it came from.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Something New

I am writing this post and the sun is still up. I don't know if anyone is paying attention to when these things get posted, but it is generally around the midnight hour. I am able to write this tonight because my tiniest man is taking an insanely late second nap. I know he will wake up just as I am ready for bed. But I also need to write it now because I am undertaking something new. Something a little daunting. I am making lemon meringue pies. Not one, but two of them. That's how it works with me. I can't just do a little. I have to do it BIG. Hopefully tomorrow's post will include some beautiful pictures of delicious pies. If you are wondering why I am doing this, the answer is simple. Late last night when I was going to bed for the second time, lemon meringue pie came on strong as a craving. Considering that all I have wanted is carbs and pickles, any change from that seemed like something I should jump on. And since my Aunts are here visiting, two seems better than one. So here I go. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

My Husband

I am going to brag. I have no shame when it comes to my husband. He is amazing. He has been amazing since we first started dating thirteen years ago. He has been beside me through the good, the bad and the darn right ugly. He is solid as a rock. I would choose no other man to walk with through this journey we call life. Some specific things he has done lately to solidify my admiration are as follows. He moved across the state with me on a whim. He doesn't even look back, but just plows straight ahead. He let me follow my dream of owning dairy goats. And he has embraced that dream wholeheartedly. When we found out we were expecting again, I was taken by surprise. And even though we weren't sure that we would ever have another baby, when that test came back positive, he was as excited as he was the first time around. I feel down and out lately. He has stepped up to the plate and been such a support. He builds the most beautiful things. A play kitchen for our children. Nightstands for both of us. A rabbit hutch. A milking stanchion. A media center for the tv and dvd's. There seems to be nothing the man can't do. And if he hasn't done something before, he does the research and learns what needs to be done. And then he does it better. He excels at his job and routinely places at the top of his company in customer satisfaction and job completion. Customers appreciate him so much that they invite him back to their homes just to hang out. I don't think he has ever met anyone that doesn't like him. He is sweet, funny, a good cook, loving, generous, handsome, and every other thing a man should be. I love him with all my heart.
My man with the completed milking stanchion he built.

The rabbit hutch he built

The delicious dinner he made for us tonight

Welding the stanchion

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Our Wednesday Wonder for today doesn't really get more wondrous. What I am talking about is the addition to our family that will be arriving in late November. That's right, I mean a baby. Our baby. The caboose to the crazy train that we are on. Here is our little tiny blueberry for your viewing pleasure. Oh, and now you know why the postings have been scattered and why I haven't been feeling so hot lately. Give me a couple of weeks and things will be regular again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Holy Moly

Holy Moly, I missed another night, didn't I?!  The kiddos asked me to lay with them last night to help them go to sleep. I said I would for a little bit and hours later I woke up, startled and unsure of where I was. I stumbled across the hall, trying not to run into anything, and drifted back to a fitful sleep. Needless to say, a blog post was the furthest thing from my mind.
Today was a gorgeous day. One of those Spring days that you wait all winter for. Considering that it has been blowing and freezing for DAYS and that we woke to snow on the ground yesterday, today took us by surprise. S jumped right up this morning and went to work with Meme and Papa. M, T, and I took a bit longer to get going. At least I did. After a leisurely breakfast (oatmeal for them, toast for me) we spent some time in the barn. The goats don't know what to think of T. They can't figure out why he is so much smaller than the rest of us. But what freaks them out the most are the cats. The dogs they hate, but the cats scare them. Which is just funny. After we were done in the barn, we went down to where S, Meme and Papa were feeding the cows. Papa let T "drive" the tractor. This delighted the little man so much that when it was over he acted like he couldn't believe it had happened. He kept turning his hands up and saying, "I drive twactoe" in this great voice he has when he is being silly. We then went into the hospital where there are two calves to feed. They are both quite reluctant to take the bottle, so they have to be "drenched" which means a tube is stuck down their throats and the contents of the bottle is drained into them. It sounds rough, but they don't seem to mind as much as you would think.
I needed to go grocery shopping today. S thought stretching fence sounded better than a day at the market with Mom, so he stayed behind to do that. M and T came along though. Going grocery shopping sounds fairly easy, right? Well, it's not. I am an organic shopper. Which is a hard thing to be around here. When growing season starts and farmers' markets come to town, it is so easy. We live in a food mecca. But only during the growing season. All the other seasons it requires a drive of at least thirty-five minutes. Depending on which town I decide to drive to. The longer drive is an hour. But being able to go into a Vitamin Cottage is so worth it. I was able to stock up on all of our favorite goodies. The freezer now has a few new items and the cupboards are refreshed. I love Vitamin Cottage. It was a frequent stop in Fort Collins. We would shop there one to three times a week. The best thing about not having it close by is my wallet stays full longer! We met a fellow former Front Ranger working at our Western Slope Vitamin Cottage. When she asked what brought us to this side of the mountains and I said simply, "Space", she just smiled and said she knew what I meant. That was what had brought them over as well. I guess I have traded convenience in for a little more room for the children to grow and for me to grow as well. After all, a thirty-five minute drive through the country when you are surrounded by beautiful views of the Rockies beats a thirty-five minute drive to go six miles through a congested city any day of the week.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A good day to...

Today was a good day to feel sick. I mean, if there is such a thing as a good day to feel sick, a rainy, blustery, cold day seems to be it. My man stayed home to take care of me, or rather to take care of the children since I had an incapacitating headache.

What happens when Mommy tries to get a little rest.
 He actually managed to get quite a bit done on his unexpected "day off". Nana and Papa recently tore down their old porch so they can update it and freshen things up a bit. Hubby was able to repurpose some of the metal handrails and columns into a milking stanchion. For those unfamiliar with the lingo, that is a stand that the goat is restrained on during milking time. Some of the other metal rails will be put to use in our garden this year for the tomatoes, peas and beans to climb up. Hubby sure likes having the barn to work in when the weather is as horrible as it was today.

Hubby helping Papa. Kiddos being curious.
This pic is actually from yesterday when the weather wasn't as horrible.

The base for the stanchion
This afternoon, the rain stopped even though the wind kept blowing and I was able get a couple pictures of the fields turning greener and the baby cows that are scattered all over.

By nightfall, even the wind had finally stopped and my headache seemed to taper off enough that I could go spend some quality time with the goats. They have so much personality. The babies clamber for attention. They accomplish getting this attention seeking by climbing into my lap or eating my pants. Thankfully, they have not managed to actually create any holes in any of my clothing. I could spend hours out there with them. Roxy bleats like crazy when I finally have to step away. Sweet Mama just needs some adult time every once in a while, and that is something that I can understand.

Luna thinking about eating my sweatshirt

Roxy and Nelly chowing down

Nelly nibbling my pajama bottoms

Curious kids
The chicks are getting to that awkward, gangly stage where they are half fuzz and half feathered. It seems like forever until they are producing eggs. It will be about 4 months or so, I guess.

We moved the kids' play kitchen out of their playroom and into our dining room. Legos have taken over too many times and T can't get to his kitchen. Since it is the only toy that keeps him occupied for any length of time, we felt it necessary for him to have access to it.

Hubby made this beautiful toy. And T loves it. Here he is in the oven.