Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Recently I upgraded my cell phone to a new one. Of course I kept the phone and recycled it to a local charity. The day I got it, it needed to be charged, I used the car charger and accidentally left the cord plugged in in the car. My phone beeped and amazingly it was a message that I had left my charger plugged in. I also have a Sirius satellite radio in my truck which has a little screen on it to display songs and artists names. The screen is quite bright and glows at night.
- If each home in America would change one bulb to a compact fluorescent bulb it would equal enough power to light 3 million homes for 1 year. It would also save $600 million in annual energy costs and prevent greenhouse gases equal to the emissions of 800,00 cars.
- Only 5% of actual power used by chargers (phone, computer, etc) is to charge the device, the other 95% of its power consumption is just being plugged in.
- There are "greener" battery chargers, for instance solar (still no explanation as to exactly what traditional chargers do to the environment) available on the market today.
- Leaving your computer screen on all the time costs you about $18 per month, let alone its annual impact on good old mother earth.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
- I start by reusing a milk jug, I cut off the top just large enough to dump your powdered detergent into it; as we know most eco-friendly detergents are powders,plus you get more loads per container,saving on packaging.
- Instead of using too much hot water to dissolve the powder, let the water run into your washer (this way you are not wasting water down the drain) until it is hot, and add enough to dissolve soap while shaking the jug. You can switch back to your preferred temperature setting and dump your "liquid" detergent in and proceed loading your clothes.
- Another great tip is to use vinegar. It is wonderful at removing smells and even works as a fabric softener, it may take up to a cup to achieve the softness results that you are looking for.
- When the load is done with it's cycle, before you toss those soaking clothes into the dryer, run them through the spin cycle again. This saves dramatically on dry time, which in turn saves money on your bills and wear and tear (and rust) on your dryer!
- If you use dryer sheets, tear them in half (Thanks for this one, Mom). You will still get the desired effect for half the price and half the packaging.
- Try to fold clothes directly out of dryer, but if not and they get wrinkled, toss in a clean damp cloth and run for about 10-15 minutes and clothes should be wrinkle free!
Today's pic has nothing to do with laundry, but gives you something pretty to look at while you fold! Have a miracle of a day!
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Friday, July 24, 2009
- Child care 177 211 259
- Cleaning the house 207 246 302
- Dancing (even just around the house) 266 317 388
- Moving furniture 354 422 518
- Mowing the lawn 325 387 474
- Pushing a stroller 148 176 218
- Raking leaves 236 281 345
- Scrubbing floors 325 387 474
- Stretching/Yoga 236 281 345
- Playing with your kids 236 281 345
- Walking man's best friend 207 246 302
This list is to show how everyday activities can be a form of exercise themselves. In these busy times it is very difficult for many to get a work out in, and this list proves that you can tweak your day a little bit and still get the 30 minutes per day 5 times a week of exercise that the experts recommend. It is also okay, and sometimes best, to break it up. For every 90 minutes that a person is inactive, like sitting at your computer, break it up and do 10 minutes of one of the things I have listed above.
The benefits are twofold; first you get some great movement and benefits of exercise, second is the fact that while getting this exercise, you have accomplished another task, like vacuuming the living room or dancing with your kids. Try to mix it up everyday, this will help with muscle soreness (another reason for breaking the time up into 3 increments of 10 minutes for example), and keeping things new and exciting. I have also found this a wonderful opportunity to spend time with my kids and keeping them active as well.
As I was out burning off any frustration of the day, while accomplishing the task of cleaning the llamas yard, I was also visiting with my son who just broke his foot. I read somewhere that teenagers communicate better while he and the parent are both busy with other things, whether it be cooking dinner or shoveling poop, I'll take any opportunity to chat with my kids!
Today's picture is a reminder to stop and smell the roses (or columbines). Look closely, I even caught a lady bug!
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm a little late this morning as I have been so busy following links to some of the blogs and sites that my blogging mentors told me about. It is so wonderful to have so many resources and to see so many people doing well in their own small businesses. It reminds us that even in tough economic times, millionaires are made!
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Have a miracle of a day!
P.S. It's all fun and games 'til someone gets a finger cut off-Ha!
Friday, July 17, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
This is one of our best llama pics of all time, I use it as one of my publicity pictures as well. It was taken in December of 08, when Marcel and his buddy Jasper proudly served as groomsmen for a Royall Llama Wedding. It was such a wonderful experience for all of us. We hiked into the woods behind our cabin in about a foot of snow and married the excited bride and groom. We then came part of the way back down and thanks to the llamas served the newlyweds a luncheon of stew, bread, chocolate covered strawberries and champagne (china and goblets if the forest!) in a sunny meadow. I had made the wedding cake and the bouquet you see in the picture to match one another. Marcel sure did seem proud of himself for holding the flowers while the radiant couple enjoyed their lunch.
Marcel is my favorite, and the lead llama. He is in charge of the herd and keeps everyone in line. Llamas have a definable hierarchy, and if anyone gets out of place Marcel firmly reminds them that he will not tolerate misbehavior. In general he will start with a lift of his head and his ears go back, if the offender does not respond, the spitting begins. More often than not, that gets the job done. Marcel is a very patient and kind leader and tries to avoid physical fights with any of his charges. Our llamas do get very physical though. Male llamas can be very aggressive toward one another, especially if they are not gelded (neutered), it is really unusual to keep whole males together. But, like I said, I don't always follow the usual, so we have ten male llamas in one area and only a couple are gelded. Having no females keeps the hormones under control and geldings get awful lazy and no longer are good packers. The occasional brawl does break out, and it is a sight. Llamas run as fast as they can, chasing one another and biting at the backside of the poor guy that is in the front. When the front guy has had enough, he will suddenly turn and both llamas will stand on their back legs and chest butt each other full force. They wrestle and wrap their necks around to try and get a bite of ear, all the while screaming at the tops of their lungs. It took me quite a long time to get used to this ritual and I'm not sure the neighbors will ever stop talking about it.
Care for llamas is really pretty easy, but I say that with caution as all but two of my llamas are rescue llamas that mostly came from people who didn't quite realize what they were getting themselves into. Comparatively speaking, for a large animal they do not eat much (about a quarter of what a horse eats) because they are extremely efficient animals. They are ruminants, meaning that they have a three chambered stomach and are cud chewers. So even hours after their hay is gone, you will see them all laying around chewing. This digestion process is what makes the llama manure so valuable, no seeds pass through and it doesn't have to be dried before using directly on plants. Llama manure is second only to bat guano in nutrients.
Most people's first question is “am I going to get spit on?”, and the answer is no. If a llama is raised in a healthy environment than it will not spit at a person. Like I said, spitting is a warning to less dominant animals to get out of the way, so if a llama spits at a person he is saying that he is more dominant than that person. Animals being dominant over humans is never a safe thing. There are a few llamas that have either been over handled as babies or have not lived in a herd environment that will push the rules, and some that are even dangerous. We have two such examples at our ranch; Elway was treated like a human baby and now really pushes the limits of our patience as he has knocked all of us down at least once. Two Eagles is an example of a llama living by himself and was very aggressive towards us as humans when we first got him. He also had a rope tied around his leg that was growing in and had no fiber on his head as his halter had been on him his whole life, but that is a different story.
Veterinary care is very limited with llamas, compared to horses we see the vet at least 50% less. My personal bleief is that llamas are very intelligent and get themselves in a lot less trouble than horses do. I very rarely have any injuries and their immune system is great. Like all animals, they do need an annual once over and worming. Male llamas are born with fighting teeth, sharp canine like teeth toward the back of the mouth. Two on the bottom and one on the top that have the ability to “lock” together, they can be very destructive if not removed. We remove ours with a specific type of wire and saw them off in a quick back and forth motion. It is not painful for the animal, but they do not like their heads messed with so it can be a real chore to get done. We usually do all of this “upkeep” at shearing time in the spring. Every now and then we get a new rescue that has not had his teeth done and that has to be done before he goes in with the main herd. I have had an ear torn from fighting teeth that I wasn't aware of, and llamas ears are so striking that I hate to see one split.
Llamas are very intelligent and curious creatures, much like a cat. Most llamas do not like to be pet, until they get their halter on, and then they know it is time to show off. In the wild, llamas are prey animals which makes the fight or flight response very strong in them. They have the coolest alarm call to warn each other of danger, it sounds similar to a car alarm. I have always wondered if the car makers used llamas for their research and development of those noisy alarms. They also make a humming noise. My boys tend to hum when they want something (like food) or get too far out of sight from one another, like when Tom is kicking my butt up a mountain to drop off hunters and I am a good quarter mile behind-Ha!
Part of the reason we chose to use llamas for our packing business is because they are so low impact on the forest. Llamas (actually all camelids) have a padded foot with two toes. The pads are similar to a dogs, so they leave no trace on the trail. Ruminants are called browsers, meaning that they will eat a little of that bush and move onto this tree and back to that grass over there. It is all full of different nutrients, and they are very good at knowing what is the choicest thing for them to eat in any area. Our boys LOVE the tundra above timberline, which is helpful to get them up there! A person never has to carry food (hay that would have to be certified to go into the forest) or water with them when they adventure with llamas.
Llamas can carry about 70-90lbs of just about anything you can stuff into their packs or tie on top. Their calm nature allows hikers to put things on them that other pack animals would not tolerate. Our boys trained themselves pretty much with the wild game, and I have a friend that has evened brought out old mattresses on forest clean up days! They are also great for carrying sensitive equipment making them a favorite for wildlife photographers. Because llamas carry the bulk of the weight on their sides and not on their spine, only small children could ride a very well trained llama.
I hope that I have filled some of your curiosity about these wonderful creatures. Feel free to leave a comment and ask any questions that you still may have. Oops! There's the birds waking up-gotta run!!!
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Well, good morning everyone. As I type this, I am enjoying the sounds of Camp Creek meandering its way towards Deer Creek, that is headed to the beautiful Platte River. I think you all will find that I do a lot of my best work at about 4 am!
We spent last night here at our cabin/B&B, The Royal Roost, which brings up a very valid reminder to all of us small business owners; whatever type of business you own, use it as a customer would!! We have owned this cabin for six years and have not stayed here since we started using it as a B&B. We rarely have a few days in a row without guests (thankfully!) to do maintenance on it, so we have used this break to really go all out. In the last week I have sanded and restained the deck, “made over” the downstairs and given the front door a heaping helping of feng shui with a cool green paint job. I'm sure the green door will bring in a ton of money! As far as the basement, it looks fabulous if I do say so myself. It is built around a huge rock, as a matter of fact, the bed platform is on top of the rock. I call it Colorado's most comfortable bedrock in our advertising. Needless to say after over forty years, the rock room was a little musty. I pulled out the orange and green shag carpet and put tile down that will not collect any moisture, painted just about every surface that I could and gave some of the built-ins a really cool paint treatment.
The kids have been helping some, you know, as much as two teenagers and a 91/2 year old do. Anyway, they decided that with all of this work we are doing, maybe we should enjoy it for a night before the next guests arrive on Friday. Boy am I glad they came up with the idea! My daughter was poking around as young girls do, and found the crisper drawer in the fridge full of old food-gross!!! Then when Tom and I came downstairs to go to bed we discovered that the air mattress is freezing, even for a person who suffers from night sweats (me, of course)! It reminded me of when I first met Tom and he slept in an unheated water bed (boy, does that date us or what?) with the window wide open! I always thought he'd turn into a popsicle, I had no idea an air mattress was that cold, I was the one who was a popsicle!
As an Inn Keeper (that's what I like to call myself, it sounds fancier than cook/maid) I really strive to help our guests have the vacation of a lifetime. I'm thinking rotten food and cold beds are somewhat of a turn off. It's funny, I would not have thought to look in that drawer, so the kids HAVE been very helpful. Now the ENTIRE fridge is on my list of things to check when I have the maid come in, oh wait a minute, that's me! I am starting a new list:
1. Figure out how to get the air mattress to not be so cold.
2. Work on warming up the air mattress.
3. Do something about that darn mattress.
4. Hire a maid.
Really, it's been wonderful to spend the time here. Tom and the kids took a little hike while I made dinner last night. As is required we played a game and had some good old fashioned family TV watching time. The sights and sounds here are like no other place on earth. The Roost is nestled in a pretty dense pine forest, but because we are south facing it gets a lot of sunshine so it is quite lush for Colorado. The bird watching is unparalleled (at least for smaller birds) and the dogs are ecstatic to give chase to an occasional squirrel or chipmunk. You think they'd learn that they will never be able to catch one, but at least they get a lot of exercise and sleep well at night.
Speaking of birds, I hear them starting to wake up, I guess that is my cue to get to work. Which brings us to today's pictures. This bird has been nesting in the stairway of the Royal Roost since we bought it. From what I read when I was trying to identify her is that birds will often come back to the very same nest for their entire lives. We really look forward to seeing her arrival in spring and getting a good peak at her eggs that quickly turn into demanding young'uns. Don't I know it!!!
Stay tuned, I am going to do a llama lesson next, I know that's what everyone is curious about. I'll try to answer any question you may have in the next post, but if you have one that you are dying of curiosity to know the answer to, leave me a comment and I'll make sure to include it in my “lesson”.
Have a miracle of a day!