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.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

No More

    For the foreseeable future I will not be writing any more about our animals. So many heart wrenching things have happened since the last time I wrote about them. It seems that every time I write about our animals tragedy strikes. So to protect our animals, you will no longer be hearing about them. Instead, here is a picture of butter. Butter that I had sitting out to soften to make honey butter with. Butter that was instead nibbled on by a certain three year old. Mmm-mmm good.

And yes, I did still make honey butter out of it.

Visitors or Dinner?

      Today we had three free ranging cows roaming the property. The kids seem to think that means that they are ours. Matt seems to think so as well. They all see ground beef and roasts. I see years in prison for cattle rustling. Or at least some pretty heavy fines. The cows are, for now, safe. At least from us.
       Oh. And we got our first snowfall. Brrrr. 
They were drinking out of the dogs water trough aka Jessie's swimming pool

I kinda like this one. Possession is 9/10 of the law, right?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pepper and Salt

Maycee decided that Mama Guinea needed a name and so she named her Pepper. Pepper continued to sit her nest and we continued to check on her progress. This involved a peek under her wings to check the eggs. She never enjoyed the peek, but she tolerated it. Until Sunday. On Sunday I went to check on her as usual. This time, however, she was ticked. She was hissing, yes hissing, at me and squawking and trying to peck at me. I quickly determined that the babies were going to be hatching that day. And I was right! Well, kind of. One out of the eighteen eggs that she was setting hatched. Just one. I have delayed writing about it because I wanted to make sure the baby survived. As of today, baby is doing great. We even had a massive rain storm last night that dropped our temps and made the gullies run. I worried all night about the baby, since they are still free ranging. Pepper does not seem to want to be in the coop at all. We have named the baby Salt. I'm sure you can guess why. Pepper is an amazing Mama and surprisingly enough, the other guineas have really taken to the baby. They have formed a protective circle around Pepper and Salt and we are lucky to get a glimpse of Salt. The pictures I am sharing were taken Sunday and Monday.

Can you see Salt?

Salt and Pepper

Monday, September 3, 2012

Infinity Bricks

Spencer has started his own blog chronicling his Lego creations. Check him out here and become a follower. He makes some very inventive and fun things.

Animals for Food

        A little word on meat consumption. We are meat eaters. Organic meat eaters. And we have four children, in case you haven't noticed. Organic meat can be pricey and somewhat hard to come by in our neck of the woods. Which is interesting considering that we are smack dab in the middle of ranch and farm country. Unfortunately, the ranchers and farmers seem to cater to the higher end farmers markets in places such as Aspen and Telluride. I might go more into that in another post. For now, we will go back to our original post. I am growing more and more suspicious of our nation's food sources. It seems that all I hear about in the news are recalls on one food item or another. Outbreaks of  e.coli or salmonella happen with growing frequency. And don't even get me started on the way our food animals are treated. I have tried being vegetarian on and off for the last decade, but the truth is, I do occasionally like to have meat. I am just picky about where that meat comes from. I don't like that our food animals are treated worse than most peoples' house plants. They need to be given the respect and care that they deserve as something alive and something we will be consuming to fuel our bodies. We literally are what we eat. If you really think about it, I promise you will be grossed out by their treatment as well. With this in mind, our family has made a few tough choices. For the past six years we have raised chickens for eggs. This year is our first year to get some chicks to raise for meat. And not those nasty ones that grow to maturation in three months and are so heavy they end up breaking their own legs. These are true heritage breed chickens and turkeys. I spent a lot of time doing research into which breeds are cold tolerant, broody (meaning that they will set their own nests) and dual purpose (meaning they are good layers and good for meat). We also wanted turkeys that could breed on their own. Commercially raised turkeys have such large breasts that the hens have to be artificially inseminated since the toms can't mount them.
          A quick word about egg laying chickens. There is one thing that really riles me up, okay not just one thing, there are actually quite a few things, but this one thing in particular really gets me. People who believe that collecting eggs from chickens is cruelty to animals. Now, if they are referring to factory farmed chickens, I completely understand. But have these people ever been around chickens? Chickens lay eggs. That's what they do. They don't need to be bred to lay eggs. It is not harmful to a chicken to lay their eggs. They just just do it everyday, without fail. In fact, I believe they are proud of their accomplishment, so much so that they sing about it. We have put words to their song. Come visit and we'll sing it for you. Okay, end of rant.
         I'm not sure that it is any less expensive for us to raise our own, but it is infinitely more rewarding. It is hard, both in the work it creates and the emotions that it brings to the surface. But I would rather it be hard and be in my face, than to shut my emotions down and close my eyes to the atrocities that are in our food world.


Momma Guinea

I didn't have any pictures of our setting guinea to go along with my post last night, so here are a few.
Can you see her?


      I realized as I wrote the title of this post that I am not sure if it is cockle-doodle-do or cock-a-doodle-do. I am not sure it really matters. At any rate, it is a sound that our handsome rooster is starting to make. I do believe that he is quite proud of himself and he seems to enjoy the sound of his own crow. Meaning, he crows more than he should. Thankfully, we have no neighbors nearby and so far we are entertained by him more than we are annoyed by him. I can't say the same for the turkeys who seem to think he is challenging them. They are all the same age, but the turkeys are about three times larger. They don't notice, though, and let the older chickens and guineas really push them around. Which is funny to watch. I have resisted naming any of the turkeys and try to only think of them as future sausage, however, I will miss them when their eventual demise comes. They follow us around like puppies. They like to look in the windows at us. They perch on the railings of the porch and look like mean gargoyles. They gobble and prance around and amuse us to no end. The poop that they leave behind EVERYWHERE, I will not miss. The tons of feed that they consume and the price that goes with the feed, I will not miss. Them roosting on the top of my truck, I will not miss. In the mean time, I will enjoy them, and love them, and give them a great free-ranging life. Speaking of free-ranging, one of our female guineas has decided to set a nest. She is a bit of an outcast and one day when she went missing I feared the worst. She surprised us all by reappearing a couple of days later only to disappear again. The next time she showed up, I sent Spencer after her and sure enough, there was a nest. She is about two hundred yards from the house, under a cluster of sage with about fourteen eggs. She is rapidly approaching twenty-one days, so hopefully the eggs are fertile and will hatch out soon. That's the news on the poultry front.

Handsome man with a couple of his ladies.

In the middle of a crow.

Tom turkey being agitated by crowing rooster and trying to show that he he is the bigger man.

Pretty little hen turkey trying to figure out what the guys are fussing about.

Really?! The trees aren't good enough?

See here for post about chicks: 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Potty Training

I'm not sure which is worse: potty-training or changing nasty diapers off a three year old. All I really want is for this boy to be done with diapers. But I'm being patient. I'm allowing him to move at his own pace. Don't get me wrong, we talk about using the potty ALL the time. Like every diaper change. And at bed time. And sporadically throughout the day. We have encouraged, cheered and yes, even bribed. All to no avail. Until yesterday. When he decided all by himself to use his frog potty to go number two. Excitement! Congratulations! Encouragement! And he apparently remembered the bribes because the second thing he said to me was," Now I can get a Nerf gun!". And then he was done with it all. Diaper was back on for the duration of the day. Try again today. He successfully used his frog potty four times! Woohoo! And then there was a big poo blowout in his Thomas the Tank Engine skivvies. As I patiently showered him off, even though I totally wanted to gag, I'm talking to him about using the potty. In the middle of my incoherent babble, he cuts me off and says." Mom, you're the best Mom I've ever seen." End of babble. Sweet boy gets me every time. Look out world when he becomes a teenager...

Stage Fright


I'm beginning to think that I should rename this blog. We aren't living in a barn anymore for starters. I'm thinking somewhere along the lines of, "Four Children Being Raised By Two Loving, But Quite Confused Parents Who Apparently Like To Move A Lot." The condensed version could just be, "U-Haul Raisin'". What d'ya think? I mean, Matt and I have moved nine times in twelve years. That includes a five year stay in our home in Fort Collins. It occurred to me the other day when we had a mini-vacation and we walked into our (awesome!, but more on that in another post) hotel room and Thane asked me," We live here now?!". Poor kid. He's lived in more homes than he is years old. That's a confusing sentence. He's three, he's lived in four homes. Matt was born and raised in the same home which his folks only sold a few years ago. I moved every few years growing up (eleven times by the time I was nineteen and getting married) and I guess it stuck. I don't know if it's wanderlust, boredom or what. I just know that this location is no longer working for us. Stay tuned for the ongoing saga of "Where in the World are the Cobles?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Deep Seated Body Issues

I'm watching "What Not To Wear" on t.v. right now. Maycee for some unbelievable, unreal reason loves this show. This translates to way too many episodes recorded on my dvr. Which means that when I am exhausted, drank a glass of wine and there is nothing else to watch but Olympics, I end up watching this. The epiphany occurs that I have "deep seated body issues". Which in the light of day just means that I have been pregnant five times and have the body of a mom. But at night, in that terrible hour between sanity and sleep that makes me feel like a horrific bane on society, it means that I need an entire new wardrobe, none of which has come from the thrift store, my sister or Old Navy. Anyone up for nominating me to be on this show? Anyone, anyone?


Thane is in that wonderful stage that parents know as the why stage. I use the term wonderful very loosely. He asks why in the most unusual ways. And sometimes he frames his questions in ways that aren't even "why?" kind of questions. Why are there trains? Okay, makes sense. Why are there dogs for? Makes less sense. Here is a conversation we had today:
Thane: I want a cookie!
Me: No.
Thane: Why?!
Me: Because we are in the car and you have already had enough cookies.
Thane: Oh, Mom! Why?! 
Logical, right? Think again. And repeat.
Thane: I want a cookie!
Me: No.
Thane: Why?!
Me: Because the moon isn't up.
Thane: Oh. Okay.
Wait. What?! How is my second explanation more logical than the first?!?!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday, Sunday

     I just might have the answer for blogging. At least for my blog. For now, I will be posting once a week. Life is too crazy and our internet is too slow. Also, don't forget, I have four children. And a husband. And forty-some odd animals. But I miss putting into print all the funny/interesting/sad/crafty/insane things that make up our lives. Like Thane telling me that I am his best friend. And Iris crawling and getting two bottom teeth. Spencer discovering so many things about himself and this crazy world. Maycee being Maycee and taking up near permanent residence in La La Land. Matt volunteering for our local fire department that is run strictly by volunteers. And as for myself, crafting and sewing and cleaning and thinking, as usual.

Maycee in all her glory.

Me and my little buddy.

Spencer B.

My handsome Hubby. Hubba Hubba

Iris enjoying some air time in Ouray.

My four lovelies on Thane's third birthday.

The purse I made for myself.

And last but most certainly not least, this video of Thane that makes me laugh every time I watch it. Just so you know, his shirt says,"I am definitely up to something." I've never seen a shirt suit someone so perfectly. 

**This post took me 4.28 hours to complete. Yea, our internet is that slow. And I needed a snack break. And a breastfeeding break. And I had to break up a couple of rainy day arguments.**

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


 If I had no children to take care of, this would be my desired activity for today:

 pros·trate verb

\ˈprä-ˌstrāt, especially British prä-ˈ\

Definition of PROSTRATE

transitive verb
: to throw or put into a prostrate position
: to put (oneself) in a humble and submissive posture or state
: to reduce to submission, helplessness, or exhaustion


adj \ˈprä-ˌstrāt\

Definition of PROSTRATE

: stretched out with face on the ground in adoration or submission; also : lying flat
: completely overcome and lacking vitality, will, or power to rise
: trailing on the ground
Just for one day. Maybe two.  

Chicks and Turks

We received our new chicks and turkeys today. Or turklets as Spencer calls them. Seven Black Australorp hens, one Black Australorp rooster and eight Black Spanish turkeys. The turkeys are a straight run, which means that they are an unknown mix of toms and hens. We are hoping to get a breeding pair out of this mix. We will see how that goes. If they end up being too pricey to feed over the winter they will have to become sausage. Both the chickens and the turkeys are heritage breeds. This was a really important feature for me. I did a lot of research before ordering birds this year. Our neighbors ordered with us so that we could reach the correct amount for shipping. These same neighbors live in a solar home, which makes it somewhat hard for them to maintain the heat lamps for the chicks. Since we will have a heat lamp running for ours, we offered to keep theirs for a while as well. Let the brooding begin!

Why hello little turkey.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


        Maycee asked for doughnuts this morning. When I told her no (only because I don't want to make a 32 mile round trip for doughnuts.), she said, "That's okay, I'll just have apples and peanut butter instead. It's just as good." Makes me laugh.
And on that same note, does anyone have any good (somewhat healthy) recipes for doughnuts?

Saturday, May 5, 2012


       Okay, I know I said I would be catching you up on our lives. And I'm still working on that. Unfortunately, (for you anyway) there are dozens of other things for me to be working on as well. Here are a few, in no particular order:
Walks, where we pick wildflowers and trash.

 A dresser and mirror being refinished for the girls.

Irises being planted on the hill of our garden to help stop erosion. And the accompanying sunburn.

 A dog that wounded himself in a way we still can't figure out. (Let me just say that an eighty pound dog with a cone on his head makes a very efficient bulldozer. Especially for children.)

 Sewing endless projects (on the dining room table, which means we haven't been eating there...). Seriously, I think I will never be done sewing. I miss my sewing room...

This picture sums a few things up:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Animal Recount ((pictures now added))

          So, update on our animals. Many updates, actually. Let's start with the goats. I wanted goats so bad. Milk from our own goats sounded so homey and romantic. Then I ended up on bed rest with Iris. And suddenly milking goats didn't sound so fun. And then we moved in July and while we love our home up here on the mountains, fences are few and far between. This is good except that goats really shouldn't free range. At least not near homes. Goats free ranging equals goats on the deck. And goats on the hood of your car. And goat droppings everywhere. EVERYWHERE. Which is only exciting for the dogs, who eat them like they are milk duds. Don't misunderstand me now, we put up a pen for them. Free ranging goats were not our intention. But our goats thought they were above being penned in. We would pen them in, turn around to head back to the house and before we could get halfway there, the goats were at our sides. Right before Iris was born, we took them to get bred. They were being bred by the couple that we get our raw milk from. The plan was to leave them there a couple of months to ensure that breeding occurred. And after a couple months we had decided that life without goats really wasn't so bad. So we made a deal with the couple for them to keep the goats and for us not to pay for milk for a few months. Which worked perfectly. So no more goats for us. Maybe sometime again in the future, but not even the foreseeable future.

Who's that hillbilly with goats in the back of his truck?! Oh wait, that's my hillbilly.
        Next comes chickens. Chickens, chickens, chickens. Where do I start? We have had a weird winter with chickens. We lost one early on due to cold. Poor thing got smothered by the other chickens laying in a pile trying to keep warm. We lost one for undetermined reasons. We lost one right at the coop by a predator. At first it was a toss up between a dog and a bobcat. Seeing a bobcat twice, once on the property, once just down the road, made us really think it was a possibility. Until we lost a second one right at the coop. And Spencer and I tracked the predator through the freshly fallen snow. To the neighbor's house. Yea, it was their dog. Had a talk with the neighbors who were already aware of the problem (a dead chicken shows up on your porch and you don't have chickens means trouble. What I don't understand is why they didn't come to us first. Oh well.) Four chickens down leaves us with eleven. Did I mention we have a wandering chicken? She disappeared and we chalked her up as a goner. Fifteen days later she shows up. Just shows up! All is well and she hasn't wandered again. Yet. In March we got guineas. I had called back in September in response to an ad in the paper and had never heard back about them. I forgot all about them. In March we received a phone call from the gentleman. He had saved my message all of these months and had more guineas to sell. Five guineas joined the flock and provide us with entertainment and annoyance, sometimes simultaneously. In about two weeks, we will be getting our order of more fowl. Eight turkeys, six hens and a rooster. We'll see how long the rooster lasts, but hopefully we can keep him to breed and be a little more self-sustaining.
Chicken and rabbit house exterior

Chicken and rabbit house interior
        Now on to rabbits. When we moved here we had one little black female lionhead, Flower. We now have five rabbits. I already introduced you to Dobby, I believe it was back in September. She is an agouti lionhead cross. We also have Jack, our buck, who is a purebred Californian. He is very handsome. Our females are Jill, a Florida White, and Astrid, a New Zealand. I think. I forgot and am being too lazy to go check. Anyway, the ladies will be bred to Jack around the middle of the month which will hopefully lead to fresh rabbit meat in another four months.
Astrid and Jill getting sunshine and fresh grass
       Our kitties have stayed the same, with the addition of Figaro. He was a poor, starving fella when he showed up on the deck in late fall. I tried not to feed him, I really did. But after about a week of him staring in at us, I relented. He fits right in, so he's staying. Crookshanks (who's one now!) loves him. Hazel and Autumn aren't so sure about him, but he leaves them alone, even when they growl and hiss at him.
Thane and Figaro. This cat is so happy to have a home that he even puts up with Thane dragging him around.
       Our last subject is dogs. Jessie is almost thirteen now and getting deaf and slow. We love her so much and don't like thinking about the eventuality of her not being with us. Mollie will be twelve this summer and is as ornery as ever. She hears just fine, but ignores me almost as well as the kids do. Neither one of the girl dogs enjoy being with Ranger as he's such a bundle of energy. His tail is like a whip and stings like one when he whacks you with it. Which happens way too often. Poor Jessie's face is right at tail level and she is too slow to get away from him. So the girls have their own yard and rarely have to deal with him. Ranger is getting better at listening and once his energy has waned (after about twenty minutes of chaos) he is quite content to just lay by my side. We had adopted him from Black Canyon Animal Sanctuary and this spring we decided to become a foster family for them. Three puppies came into our home. After just a couple of days one of the females was adopted. The other female went back to the sanctuary when we went to Fort Collins and quickly found a forever home. The male stole our hearts and now lives with us permanently. His name is Abraham and he is about three and a half months old. Him and Ranger are becoming best buds. He loves the kids and follows them wherever they go.
Maycee, Ranger and Abraham


Mollie, up close and personal
        So to sum things up we have four dogs, four cats, five rabbits, five guineas and eleven chickens with more on the way. Wow.
I really didn't realize just how long it had been since I posted on here.My Aunt Louise pointed it out to me the other day. And I realized that at the beginning of April, when we were in Fort Collins, it had been pointed out as well. And then another month went by. March and April flew by. I don't even know how it is already May. And May is going to be so busy that I figure I should take this day to play catch up. I will most likely do this in a couple of posts so make sure you read them all. All of them I say.

Yep, this just about sums it up. Thanks Spencer

Today is the Day

 Okay folks, today is the day that I will catch up on my blog.
 After I finish my pancakes and coffee.
 And get Iris down for a nap.
 But then I will definitely be catching up.
 As long as no kid or animal related chaos occurs. Stay tuned...

My "assistant"