Friday, June 15, 2012

A BIG finale!

Hello Dear Rebels, I feel as though I fell off the face of the planet and have been vicariously plunked back on.  Although we only moved 2.2 miles up the road, I am playing a whole other ball game up here in the forest!  Our first visitor to the Double J Homestead (and Yes that is its official name) was a yearling mountain lion.  And how do I know it was a yearling?  Because it hissed at me from only four or five feet away so I got a VERY good look at it!!!
When I left you all last I was really up in the air about what I am going to do with my online presence and I think this post has answered many questions for all of us.  It is a final farewell to The Royal Ranch, but at the same time it is a new dawning of the era of the Double J; after all what has happened to my family in the last few months and how passionate I am about my field (natural agriculture, animal rescue and permaculture) there is really no way I can NOT continue to share the adventures of my world with those who will listen.
Transparency in the field of agriculture is something that I feel needs to be talked about more and that is where my Double J blog will head, along with the adventures of our homestead, of course.  When I wrote of being afraid that Wells Fargo had taken our home faster due to the fact that I have a business and fought the system; I am serious, and I have many reasons to think this.  As a matter of fact they are currently being investigated by the Attorney General for such actions and I plan to be a part of that suit (this link is just one example of many!).  But my point with all of this is that I am not going to be afraid, I am going to be a part of the solution instead.  I have always been a very careful business person and therefore should be a great example on the internet for people to follow, just sayin’.
 Okay, so now that we got that straightened out and you are all linked up for The Double J, let’s talk a bit about what has been going on in my world the last few weeks.  We kicked off this big move with an End of an Era sale for The Royal Ranch; and it was a huge success.  We had so much support from our community and friends it really was unbelievable!  I went from laughing to crying the entire four days; it really was an emotional roller coaster that I could not wait to get off of, but on the other hand I would not trade for the world, you know?
Then started the big push to get out of the house in time, by then it no longer felt like The Royal Ranch; we had sold all of the history pieces (except those we donated to the Park County Historical Society, which we are proud members) to one man right up the road which made us quite happy.  At the same time Hubs was building us a bedroom in the barn at The Double J; so the moving fell to the kids and I for a few days.  I know, a bit hard to follow, but even harder to organize!
So, we have a partially built master bedroom in the barn; that when finished will have the pot-belly stove that was in my parents’ house when I was growing up so I love the “warmth” this will bring to the room in more ways than one.  The cabin itself is teeny tiny, but we are making it all fit just fine.  I got my Grandma’s china cabinet in and that was a big deal for me, so you know the things that really matter when downsizing and you go with it…
After the visit from the mountain lion I knew I could not bring my beautiful sheep, Buttercup, up here; it broke my heart indeed.  She was the sheep I had been breeding for and over the last few weeks I had really been working with her to prepare her for this move and created a strong bond with her.  But, I was not going to let her be mountain lion bait either so I did the best thing for HER and called the gal I originally got my sheep from and she was more than ecstatic to have such a pretty black wooled girl.  She lost almost her whole herd of sheep last summer to a mountain lion herself and now only has two white girls left and keeps them locked up at night.  My Buttercup was a wonderful addition to her herd as she is BIG into felting, etc.  As a matter of fact, you can read about her in the Canyon Courier doing her wool art; her name is Julie Demaree.
That brings us to the llamas; we had the pen set up and everything.  But it is just not appropriate for my herd, what with a mountain lion passing through and the home of a lifetime waiting for them.  Yes that is right folks, my pack string is gone.  My God, I can’t even type that without bringing tears to my eyes.  But, let me continue, because they are in seventh heaven and I have done my job, so although I can’t even read what I type, I know I did the right thing.
A friend of ours recently bought a magnificent piece of property; and to keep it agricultural (zoning) needs animals on it.  He started asking me a few weeks ago, but obviously I had a few things on my mind.  Well, he kept offering and Hubs kept pushing, and before you know it my lifetime of work (just for melodramatic effect) was sitting in the driveway of Heaven….  They have 35 acres of lush green pasture to graze, a beautiful barn, actually multiple barns to choose from, and are doing great!
But the kids and I joke that I got out of the llama business against my will and I still got stuck with the crappy llamas, because I have two llamas that I would never place with anyone.  One is just plain crazy (overhandled as a youngster and has vision issues) and the other is on the verge of having Berserk Llama Syndrome, and yes, that is a real thing and very few of us in the Nation are trained to deal with these types of animals….
So, my dreams of agriculture/permaculture are, well they are still happening just a bit slower due to a move of the homestead, but you know me and I won’t let me keep things down.  Actually, my animals have simply amazed me with this move, again and again.   One day we went back to the other house to get one of the cats, and we got so worried that we couldn’t find him; we all called and called for him and then made one more load.  When we came home he was laying on the hanging clothes that we had laid on the bed to take with the next load!
My poultry have also proved themselves as “part of the family”.  As we were moving the homestead, a few animals at a time, it had affected their laying and the chickens had quit laying eggs at The Royal Ranch.  The morning that they, the chickens were here and we were all back together as a family they all got back to laying on their daily schedule.  The turks started laying eggs in their new home as well!  It was funny for me to see how deeply us being apart could affect even the lowest animal on the totem pole.
Well, that is enough for now, and my turks are calling for their breakfasts; so take a minute to hook up to The Double J, cuz I won’t be coming back to this blog anymore….  I can’t tell you all how much I have enjoyed this blog and you all….Oooops here come the tears again!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lemonade anyone?

Well hello Dear Rebels, it is actually me, Judy writing this post.  Although those were very interesting and relevant topics, I must admit I was hiding a bit behind those linked posts.  I have not made it a secret that we have lost our home, The Royal Ranch; and I have not made it a secret that we have struggled greatly with bills and health and the rest of what America is struggling with.
But what I have been secretly doing is making lemonade, and lots of it.  I have plenty to share because I have been handed lots and lots of lemons lately.  Our dream was to sell a piece of property and start fresh with a new 40 acre piece that was entirely off-grid; well that did not happen in the amount of time that we were given by the bank, and NO we were not willing to try to slow down our foreclosure, we have given them enough of our time, money and energy.
As usual God has a plan for us and we decided to quit fighting the flow and take another look at what we already have; and that is the piece of property that we were trying to sell.  Although it does not fit my dream acreage, I am studying to become a permaculture expert and this land will definitely fill the bill for teaching me patience and skills to work with Mother Nature!  It is 10 acres attached to Pike National Forest with beautiful Camp Creek running through it year round, so believe me we have no complaints, it is just not quite as flat as the piece we were going to buy.
But, it is OURS and it has power and a shower.  And to FOUR teenagers those things were pretty important; even if the square footage of the main building is about the size of my current living room.  So, watch what you ask for because for the last few years I have been saying that I want a teeny tiny house and boy did I get it.. :)  We have all sorts of cool plans for trundle beds and handy storage ideas that have been in my head for years that I will now implement; all those years of watching HGTV will pay off somehow, ha!
I had to laugh because I have sat down in front of my computer a hundred times to write a post on this and of all people to get me moving again to post it was a camper.  I know that many people read my blog to find out about The Royal Ranch and the surrounding area to see what is going on; and yesterday my husband spoke with one of our regular campers who was concerned that he would no longer see my Tom's friendly face doing the camp hosting duties this year since he had read of our "troubles" on my blog.  Well, we are still in the area, and we are still doing the campgrounds this year...  Woot Woot!!!
But that brings me to my next point.  I am no longer going to represent Royal Ranch as of a couple of weeks from now, Dear Rebels.  I have not completely decided what I am going to do about my online identity to be honest with you all.  I am VERY, very gunshy at this point in time.  There is not ONE DOUBT IN MY MIND that my online presence, and let me say that again, I am absolutely positive that my business and the fact that I fought the system are what got us out of our house as quickly as we are.
Our new ranch is called The Double J; months ago I started a blog about it and also a website for it, those were in the days when I thought I was getting the larger piece if you want to take a look at it before I get a chance to change it...After what has just happened to us I have thought long and hard about how or even if I will conduct business in the future.  The Double J may just be a self-sufficient homestead that lends a helping hand to it's friends and neighbors by teaching them how to become self-sustainable themselves; and if they need a bit of our property to do so then we can figure something out-like a growing plot or whatever.  I don't know.
My point is that right now I am totally in limbo and just enjoying my lemonade and making more with each passing day.  My first priority is to take care good/Godly care of my family.  We are praying each day and enjoying our time with our college sons so immensely I can't even tell you.  It was a bit rough to start I won't lie; it was hard for them to come home to a mess like this. 
My children have shined like the stars that they are throughout this mis/adventure.  Each and every one of them in their own way.  It has made me even more appreciative of the special relationship I have with each individual person that they are; it truly has been an amazing experience to see how they deal with such a traumatic event themselves, but also to watch them be protective of me.
It is funny because as I take the time to write this oh so long post my oldest came home and said that the day before he and my other son and a friend of theirs had not wanted to leave until my Sophomore son got home from school because "they knew that as soon as they leave I was going to do something I was not supposed to do."
He also talked about why everyone tries to bring him down about this move.  I had to ask him more about that one.  He said the day he helped our neighbor move fish another gentleman had been telling him how sad it was that he was losing his childhood home and memories etc.  And do you know what that smart 19 year old kid said to me and that nice man?  He said that he had been planning on moving on anyway and this is just a step in our lives; we can take memories with us....
So we are not looking at this as an ending; we are looking at this as a new beginning.  It may be the end of an era, but we are just getting started with a new one.  An even better one at that.  So yes, we are still in the area, and yes, we are still taking care of the campgrounds.  For now I will leave this site up until I decide what to do with the Double J sites; I will let you all know what I intend to do.
I can't tell you all how much it means that some of you hung on and continued to read through all of these ups and downs.  I know that many of you read this blog to stay current on what is going on in this area and to keep in touch with the ranch and our critters; that is what I DO intend to do with the Double J, information only at this time (no business).  So, thanks so much for sticking with me, you all ROCK!!!  And if you were here, I would offer you a nice big glass of ice cold lemonade.

PS  If you live in this area we are having an "An End of an Era" Sale on Memorial Weekend.  Should be quite a party, er garage sale, if you want to come by and say hello!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Moving 101, Royal Recycled Style (packing and storage tips)

 Well, as you can all imagine we are on the countdown to the big Homestead move.  It officially started on April 6, 2012; when we have just 2 months left at The Royal Ranch.  But, leave it to The Jeute's to get the scheduling all messed up.  My daughter went and broke her arm; and like we do everything, she did it BIG!

So, on the day we were to start our countdown and I was to be packing I was instead in the ER having this fixed on my beloved Baby Girl; who also just happens to be my "right hand girl", pun intended.  (Although thank God it was her Left hand as you can see on the X-ray!!!)

Anywho, the main reason I wanted to post today is that I have some brilliant packing ideas to share with you guys.  And you don't have to be moving to use packing ideas; anyone that stores stuff (which is pretty much every single person I know) could use these tips!

The first may seem quite obvious to some, but on a big move one must really think it through; grouping like things!  Take for instance my china cabinet, that is one of the places that I have started and will use for example here today.  Now, we are moving to a MUCH smaller place so a lot of my stuff is going into storage; but I would like to consider it a couple of different kinds of storage.  One that is a bit more accessible and one that may be gone for a few years.

So I started out by emptying the china cabinet and grouping all my like items:

This may look like a huge mess, but actually it is organized chaos.  I am gathering things from around the house and deciding if they are going in storage 1) Needs to be accessible within a few months time (please, oh please God!) or storage container 2) May be gone for years, so I best have my poop in a group!  And don't forget the donate pile; always keep another box handy so that you can just toss items into it and then take it to a drop off location near you as you pack.  Even up here in the mountains we have places that will take all sorts of items, just do a bit of research; someone would love your gently used stuff; if it is more than gently used it might be time to recycle/trash it.  I am also making a sell pile which is turning into a sell house, our rental house will be a yard sale for the last couple of weeks we are here...  More on that later!

As you can see in the front of the picture, I have Grandma's china.  That will go in storage area 1 of course in case I ever get to host Christmas or Thanksgiving again.  Which I love to do, so I will be doing it for at least my family by next year, so the china needs to be accessible.  Anyway, these are the kinds of things that will help you decide what is important to YOU.

Grab a good sturdy box, make sure and tape the bottom a couple of times for heavy items like china and books and grab a marker.  Try and do some of the labeling before the box gets so full that you have a hard time maneuvering it around, trust me on this one, you will appreciate this tip after a few full boxes.  And don't get lazy when it comes to labeling; remember by the time you are done with this thing you are going to have A LOT of boxes that are all going to look similar.  Label all four sides and each flap that will be the top; that way you will be assured that no matter what side is showing when it is set in your storage area; the one that is out will show it's contents.

For fragile items now is when we can finally bring in our recycled materials; if you haven't already used a recycled box.  I used egg cartons in the bottom of the box, because of course everybody and their Mother has brought me egg cartons and now I can use them up!  The point is, take something that you have a lot of, that will be good for packing material, like old socks or underwear or the husbands old OP's, yes, I know they are out there because I have a drawer of them myself, LOL!; and use them/it for something more useful than just a space taker.

As you can see in the picture, I then wrapped my large platters in used paper bags and chicken dinner bags.  I did the same with the gravy boat, sugar and creamer containers as well as they could then be labeled since I rarely use them and won't need to unwrap each piece sifting through them looking for the ones I want when I am running late next Christmas; not that that ever happens to me.  I did the same with the million tea cups that came with this beautiful white and silver set of china.  What is up with that?  Anyway, I individually wrapped them in newspaper and then put them in two plastic grocery bags (finally a use for these horrific things!!) and tied them up and labeled them too.

Once it was all labeled and secured another layer of egg cartons and it was ready for tape.  This box was at the way top end of the heavy range for what I would want to do to any mover let alone two movers with bad backs as we will never ask for help with moving our personal belongings....Now as for moving the rest of the farm we just may be looking for a few good volunteers.

Anyone?  Is that crickets I hear????

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Rebels!  I got the most amazing Easter present ever!!!  My second hatch started a bit early on Thursday, with Royal Ranch's first chick; we were so excited, especially since the chicks were pre-sold.  The poults started coming the next day, but too slowly for the sake of the chick.  She/he was getting DARN hungry and wanted OUT of that incubator.

So last night we very quickly opened up the incubator (you are not supposed to open the incubator mid-hatch due to dropping the humidity level), and grabbed out the one chick and five, YES FIVE, poults!!!  I was concerned about the other "babies" picking on them, so we put them in a box in the brooder.  If you all remember, we have four chicks and poults that were hatched/purchased in late February; so I was not sure how they would all get along.

I know it is hard to see, and that is because the poults that are just babies themselves already have the instincts to take care of the itty bitty babies!!  The new ones are safely tucked under the wings of the others.  Mother Nature truly amazes me!  Happy Easter and God Bless.