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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


   I have not been blogging due to bugs. That's right, bugs. They have found their way into our house and they pester us relentlessly. Thankfully, they are not the biting kind, just the flying around in your face, annoying the crap out of you kind. What does this have to do with blogging, you ask? Well, since I blog at night and bugs are attracted to light, my computer screen draws them in hordes. It drives me to distraction and I spend more time swatting at them than I do typing. It is easier and less disgusting to just not blog. So here I sit, at the public library, in broad daylight, blogging away and catching up on this weeks' happenings. Which really have just consisted of moving, fighting bugs, moving, coming to the library every day to escape the heat (our a/c still doesn't work), and oh, moving. This morning our routine was broken by a brief but fierce hail storm. Unfortunately all this means is humidity added to our heat. Being a Western girl, humidity is unfamiliar and strange. I would rather deal with snow and freezing temps than heat and any any amount of humidity. Any time I think about moving to the East, the idea of humidity stops me mid-thought and I swing back around to the West.
   I will try blogging later tonight since it is my littlest man's birthday. I cannot believe he is two today! There is still a full day ahead of us and many more things to write about. He received one gift so far, a new pair of cowboy boots. He is totally cute in them. The heel is throwing him off a bit, but he's getting the hang of them and is tromping around making me laugh.

Number Three Turns Two

   Today T turned two. How two years has passed is completely beyond me. This little guy has been a bright and shiny spot in our lives since the moment he first hollered and blinked his eyes in the hospital delivery room. He was also born via c-section, like Brother and Sister before him. His birth made me grateful for the opportunity to live in this day and age, in this country, with skilled doctors on hand. It seems my little guy played with his umbilical cord to the point that he was totally twisted up in it. The cord was around his neck twice and his arm once. Had he been a vaginal birth, the end result could have been more frightening than I even want to imagine. He is funny and loving and naughty. He is always immediately apologetic after finding out that his actions have led to someone else's unhappiness. He would rather be with people than watch a movie or play on his own. He likes making "music" and sings his favorite song, "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" while he goes about his business. What this sounds like to other people is Pawpaw High, repeated over and over again, as he tries to say Up Above the World so High. He loves getting cheek kisses and asks for them by saying, "other side" and turning his face from side to side. He has the sweetest spiral cowlick on the front right side of his hairline. He loves water in any form. I can't wait to see what the next year brings as he learns and develops and grows into his own special self.
  He started his day by opening a gift of cowboy boots, which he immediately needed to put on and then refused to take off. All day he wore his boots, even during nap time! It was pretty entertaining to watch him learning to walk in his boots. They have a slight heel and managed to throw him off balance just enough to make it humorous, but not enough to actually do him harm. Since we are in the middle of moving and I have pregnancy brain to the extreme, I moved all of my wrapping things (including tape, I had to use packing tape) to the new house. This only posed a brief problem, however, and in the long run made me get back in tune with my creative side. M and I had fun trying to find ways to wrap T's few gifts. We rummaged through our burn bin and managed to find enough boxes and magazine pictures to make it wonderful. One Thomas the Tank Engine friend ended up wrapped in tinfoil. His train tracks ended up wrapped in a repurposed paper grocery bag with a custom drawn by Mommy Thomas picture. The rest were put into a tea box, a cereal bar box and a cream cheese box and covered in various pictures. My favorite was the one with the picture of sushi. Nana and Papa and Meme and Papa all came over for burgers and cake. Nana made a wonderful cake that tasted as good as it looked.

Brother and Sister are so smitten.

That swirly cowlick! His head isn't that
small, Hubby's hands are just that big!

His first hike. He wasn't even one month old yet.
Poudre River time

Our little tie-dyed cowboy.

On his first birthday.

As a gnome last Halloween.

Birthday nap with Hazel and his boots.

His hodge podge wrapped gifts.

He loves his cake!

Monday, June 27, 2011


   As part of completing 4-H, S had to give a demonstration. After much discussion, he decided to give one on his air rifle. He was quite nervous going into it. He has not had many chances for public speaking, but he managed to speak quite eloquently in spite of that. He spoke on the safety aspects of handling a gun, the parts of his gun and the positions from which he is required to shoot from.

Showing the kneeling position

Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Small Thing

   We're moving. Again. This will be the third time in seven months. I'm not sure if we are crazy or just stupid. You are probably wondering why we are leaving the barn and Ranchland. Well, there are many answers to that question. 1. We needed cheaper rent so we can save up to buy a bigger car for our growing family. Turns out that you can't fit four children into a Subaru Outback. 2. Our lovely barn home that kept us so toasty warm in the winter months is now baking us alive. The a/c is broken. We have no shade. Our windows open up to the barn and really, who wants to vent their house out to a barn? Eau de Livestock will not be on the shelves anytime soon, I promise you that. 3. We wanted to be even more remote. Don't ask. There is really no reason behind this. We are not anti-social or survivalists or any of the number of things that pop into peoples' minds when they hear about remote living. We just like room to breathe and stretch and be ourselves. 4. We found the perfect place. It's a couple hundred dollars cheaper and it is on forty acres. Forty acres that are all ours. I can't wait to explore. The goats are going to be in grazing heaven. The children are already making all sorts of plans. We are minutes from a State Park which is mostly made up of a reservoir. And the view. Oh my the view. See for yourself...

View from back porch/dining room/living room.
 I can't wait to sit here and watch the sun go down.
Or sit here with my morning coffee and watch the deer graze.

View from our bedroom window.

View from our deeply covered and shady front porch.

Looking back at the back porch

The new house.
Does this mean that I have to change the name of my blog? I don't think so. Or point is still the same. We still want community. And we technically have to actually raise a barn for the animals now. Even though it will be much smaller than the current barn. So no name changes here. That is the one thing that will stay the same.

So Much News

   The problem with taking a hiatus, I am discovering, is that now I feel a need to catch you up on all of the things that occurred while I wasn't writing.
   A week and a half ago, my eldest niece, KS, arrived from Arizona to spend the summer in Colorado. She is staying with Meme and Papa, but we get to see her every day. She has been helping on the Ranch, doing everything that Meme and Papa ask her to do. At seventeen, she is what teenagers should be like. Responsible, self-aware, intelligent, caring and hard-working. She is a kick-butt soccer player for her high school. She gets good grades. She plays with my kiddos and doesn't even mind when they want to keep playing tag when she is already worn out. She will most likely be very embarrassed to read what I have written. She was born when I was thirteen and therefore has been a major part of my life. I love her in an odd combination of aunt/sister/mother. I want the very best for her and hope that she knows that every day of her life.
   Through our weekly paper, I was able to find a raw milk source. This pleases me to no end. We have consumed raw milk for the last four years or so and the taste of any other milk makes me gag. We drove out to these peoples' farm to meet them and were very pleased with their operation and their attitudes towards their animals. I believe that the way people are with their animals translates to their animals overall well being. Happy cows, healthy milk.
   Our 4-H club held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser. This is the first year our club has been in existence. We needed some funds and the dinner was a huge success. How great to have such a supportive community.
   The kiddos are participating in the summer reading program. They have to read ten hours to fill up their page and receive a new book. They can do this up to three times this summer. S has filled two pages in less than a month by reading the Harry Potter series. M and T have filled one by Hubby and myself reading to them. S and M are also participating in our libraries' gardening program. They just started last week by planting pumpkins, squash, peas, marigolds, eggplants, and cauliflower. More will be added this coming week. They are also going to be turning ladybugs loose, learning about vermicomposting, making freezer jam and pesto, harvesting their own veggies and visiting a farm.
   That about sums up our lives, other than one small thing...

Thursday, June 23, 2011


   Allright. My hiatus might be over. I still can't promise a daily post, but look for something here tomorrow.  I try to tell myself to take a break, and it seems that all I can think about is going back to blogging. But things don't seem as ugly after a couple of good days and blogging is a good outlet for me. So, back to my ramblings. Get ready.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

    I think I might take a break from blogging for a bit. I have found myself on too many occasions writing a post in my head about what the kids or myself or the animals are doing instead of just enjoying the moment. I need to enjoy these moments more fully, to immerse myself in the raising of my children. I am also a bit emotionally wrought, for reasons that may later come to light on this blog. We'll see. Just a brief hiatus and then we can get back to talking about Ranchland and all the crazy things that this life has to offer. In the meantime, enjoy this first day of Summer by getting outside and being joyful.
    Happy Solstice!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Crested Butte

   Hubby and I went on a day trip to Crested Butte. Nana and Papa kept the munchkins with them all day. Thank you! Crested Butte is a beautiful, fun, intriguing place. If I was a much (much) wealthier person, I would live there. There is no way to write this without sounding like a travel brochure, so I am going to do a picture post.
We started our day with a latte at a coffee shop by
day, Italian restaurant by night. This was fortunate since the
woman behind the counter told us her favorite places in town to eat.

We chose one of the places, Secret Stash, a place with killer pizza.
Our pizza was called The Notorious F.I.G. and had mozzarella, blue and asiago
cheeses, prosciutto, figs and truffle oil. I know I will be dreaming of this pizza.
Hubby eating the amazing pizza.

Beauty! Orange poppies right outside the pizza joint.

Just a cool, old, funky place in downtown.

Hubby on an arty bench.

View as we were walking through downtown.

Heading up to Mt. Crested Butte

Today we were doubly lucky. The weather was great and
Hubby managed to take some decent pics of me.

I have no words for this.
We were on our way to Gothic.


Just outside of Gothic.

Just past Gothic.

Another decent shot. Maybe Hubby actually is a good
photographer and I am just not generally a photogenic person.

On our way back into town. These are the trail ride "rental" horses.
They had just been turned out to pasture. A photo op that I couldn't refuse.

Again, too beautiful for words.
On our way over Kebler Pass.
This one highlights the sky and trees.

Same picture, but this one highlights the mountain.

"Hey Mom, look at the sun!"
Sorry, I needed to insert an inside joke for my Mom.
The rest of you can just enjoy the splendor.

The roads were clear, but there was still a lot of snow on Kebler Pass.

Silvery Lupine and Yellow Peas

Yellow Avalanche Lilies

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Marriage Bliss

    My Sister and her Mister came for a spontaneous visit this weekend. Although their stay was brief (less than twenty-four hours!) it was a trip that brightened our lives. They came to announce that they eloped this week! After being together for four years they decided it was time. In Colorado you can buy a marriage license, head out wherever your heart desires, say what you need to say and voila! you are married. What a beautiful way to do it. A marriage is, after all, between two people who love each other and who are committing to spending the rest of their lives together. A marriage is not about a dress or flowers or music or cake. All of that is a wedding, but a wedding does not make a marriage. Love, similar desires, friendship, commitment, joy, trust. These are a few things that make a marriage. And I know in my heart that these are the things that Sister and her Mister will always have. I offer them my love, my happiness, and all of the beautiful things in life. I love you both very much. Congratulations!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Clean House

I am finally off of bed rest and what do I do? Take a hike? No. Go on a drive to the beautiful mountains? No. Go shopping? No. I clean house. How fun is that?! Actually, it has been quite lovely to have a really clean house. Between Meme, Hubby and myself we have kept things clean, but not that deep down, super organized, purge the house of unneeded items kind of clean. The papers are now under control. I cleaned the hair off the beater bar thingy in the vaccum so that it works better now. The floors have been vacuumed, even under the couch. Behind the toilet was scrubbed (ew, thanks for doing that, Hubby). I feel much better now.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


    Our Wednesday Wonder for today is maybe not a wonder, but it is wonderful, at least for me. My juicer arrived today! Yay! We haven't had a juicer for a couple of years, since our somewhat pricey model broke in the middle of juicing. This is a high rated and more affordable juicer and I can't wait to use it. It is my belated Mother's Day gift. Hubby and I purchased a bunch of apples to juice for breakfast tomorrow. I can't wait.
    In other, bigger news, my Doc told me that I should be in the clear and that I no longer need to be on bed rest! I am excited about this news for a plethora of reasons, most of which I am sure you can imagine. Today, my Doc is my best friend.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sunday Blahs

   Today was not especially a good day for whiny reasons that I will not bore you with. This evening things turned around a bit. Mostly because Hubby came home. When he comes through the door at the end of his work day, it's like everything that went wrong during the day just fades away. At any rate, not a whole lot was accomplished today on my part. Hubby came home and fixed the wobble in our bedroom ceiling fan, so now it can be on more than just the low setting without sounding like it's going to shimmy off the ceiling in our sleep. He also figured out that the fans were all still on their winter settings and made them spin the right way, which immediately started cooling the house down. He tried to fire up the a/c, but discovered the blower is broken. My Hubby knows that when I get hot, I get cranky and ornery. This is one of the main reasons we moved out of Arizona six years ago. Keep me cool, keep me happy. I hate heat, it makes me angry. It's really probably my biggest fault. Now I feel good, relaxing under the ceiling fan with a sleeping Hubby by my side.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Shooting Sports

S participated in his first 4-H sponsored shoot today. He is doing air rifle which is really just a BB or a pellet gun. He mostly learned about safety, safety, safety. Then he was able to do a bench shoot, which is when you sit at a table and shoot at your target. He has really good aim, but we need to tweak the sighting on his gun a bit.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Chicky Ladies

On Wednesday night we put the chicks in with the chickens. All eighteen are now free to roam. Roam about their pen, that is. We don't technically have free range hens. They are all in a fairly large area that includes a horse stall to be locked up safely in at night and to come and go into as they please throughout the day. They share an outside enclosure with the goats during daylight hours that is made up of two horse stalls, one of which is twice as large as the other. This works well other than the fact that we are trying to figure out how to feed the chickens during the day without the goats getting into it. Incorporating the chicks into the already established flock of hens worked fairly smooth since we did it at night when the birds want to be roosting. The older hens were taken unaware. The chicks were a bit more riled up when they were put into their new home because we had to clip their wings first. All this consists of is trimming the long feathers on their wings so that they can't fly. Not that chickens can really fly, but they can flap hard enough to get over the fence and then you have chickens on the loose. Which isn't fun. Catching chickens is quite an adventure. The ladies are all doing well and I look forward to the day when we get more than a dozen eggs a day. Until then, I am satisfied with the three to five eggs a day they gift to us.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Dwarf Calf and Music

    Here on the ranch the cattle are still being shipped to greener pastures. Some of the cows had calves within the last month and therefore had to wait until the calves were bigger and stronger before shipping. Calving season seems to last a long time. It started in February and there is still a group of cows being watched who we know are pregnant, but haven't calved yet. Today, my folks helped brand and castrate (if necessary) a group of forty-some-odd calves. This in itself is no big news other than one very unique calf. About a month ago, a dwarf calf was born on the ranch. I have no idea what the statistics are of dwarfism in cattle, but I believe it is quite rare. This little guy is so sweet that I am thinking about buying him and keeping him as a pet. Otherwise he will be sent to market with the other yearlings next year. It just doesn't seem right to be so special and then be eaten. Anyone want to help me adopt a dwarf steer?

My lovely, hardworking, amazing parents.

Isn't he adorable?! Those other calves are the same age as he is.

Don't you think he should live with me?
    In other news, the summer music season has started. Remember how I talked about Pioneer Town the other Day? Well part of that property consists of a little white chapel. Every Thursday night at seven, there will be a different band playing there. We are music nuts and seek out music as much as we can. Well, Hubby and I do. The kids are content with whatever as long as they can run around. Thankfully, they opened the windows to the church so we could listen from outside while the munchkins did their thing. An interesting fact about tonight is that Hubby and I, being thirty-two and thirty, were at least two decades younger than anyone else there. The music was great. It wasn't old-folky or religious despite being held in a church. Why is my community not showing up for this? It's a free event to do with your family!

Just chillin. How is my belly this huge already?!

M looking at the most awesome tree, a Goldenchain tree.

Me and my small peeps

S's "organic collage" in it's pear shape

M's "organic collage"

T trying to figure out why brother and sister are so obsessed with the grass.

I have no idea what they were doing. But aren't they sweet doing it?