Saturday, October 31, 2009

Trick or Treat!

Happy Halloween!!! Well, it's the middle of the night and I can't get any sleep. I'm not sure if it's half the family being gone hunting or goblins in my dreams, but there will be no shut eye for me. We went to the elementary school for trick or treating last night, it worked out well that they had their night before the actual big day, this way we will get to participate in all sorts of Halloween merriment. We haven't gone to the Halloween Hall in quite a few years, and I had forgotten that's where the community takes the wee little ones, instead of the freezing cold neighborhood my kids make us go to.

It really was a great time for all. My little "dark angel" (no more cutesy little costumes for me, boo hoo!) with her ribbon wrapped coat hanger for a halo, almost broke my heart she was so cute (I'll try and get a pic on tonight's go round). Having the three sixteen year old boys with me was such a wonderful "treat". The little kids really seemed to get a kick out of the big boys and their crazy costumes that they had pulled together in five minutes from my Halloween box.

Although I had to bribe them (food goes a long way with growing boys as far as leverage is concerned), when I reminded Thomas that his beloved little sister would miss out on the haunted house due to my seizure problem (really, why do they all have to have strobe lights-ha!), he smiled and headed for the big box of costumes from years gone by, all prepared to take her. Maybe they just needed an excuse to get dressed up and act like "hooligans" (or is it ghouligans?) one last time, but they were all in the truck waiting for me, pillow cases in hand within a few minutes. The ghost and goblin teachers have known these boys all their lives, and teased them about being veterans, they know what holds the most candy. I'm just hoping the pillow cases started out clean!

Sometimes I am so proud of my family, it almost makes me cry. To watch all of those bitty babies going past in their cute little pumpkin and M&M outfits (my favorite were the twins dressed as a glass of milk and a cookie), many of them still being carried by their hot and tired parents. And the first and second graders that have moved up to princesses and tough guys, really made me think about how much my family has grown. Like I said, no more cutesy for me, as Bella (my youngest) reminded me, this is her second to last school Halloween party ever!

Aaahh... the answer to my sleep issues.

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween! Oh, and don't forget to turn your clock back tonight, yea, I get an extra hour to try and sleep tonight.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Judy's Cleaning Quandary

Good Morning! Well, after two days of having no school, and a minimum of 5 kids coming and going out of this very wet snow has really turned my house into a pig stye. So, today I will be doing some housecleaning, but I have found myself in a terrible quandary for the last eleven years as far as cleaning supplies go. I think by now you have gotten the idea that everything I do, I try to do in the most earth friendly way.

Eleven years ago we bought this ranch, and its contents, and then just a few years later we bought our cabin with all of its contents. See, both places were summer homes, and had not been used in years, so the sellers were not at all interested in retrieving any of their worldly goods, not that all of it is that worldly. I have talked about the great junk piles and old furniture that was left at both of these places, that we have turned into some really great stuff, like my 100% recycled chicken coop, or some really nice refinished furniture.

But, they also left mountains and mountains of cleaning supplies. Both the Roost and The Royal Ranch had two bathrooms in them at the time, stocked to the brim with cleaning supplies, as well as both kitchens had a set. My problem is, is that these cleaning supplies are very old, and therefore not too good for the environment. For the past decade, I have been using those same supplies and very sparingly at that. So, what to do? The products are already here, they work very well, almost too good, which is how I know they can't be good for Mother Earth (besides the scary warning labels). Part of my issue, is that I don't believe in wasting anything, and I know that the stuff has to get disposed of in some way. So far, my thinking is to use them a little at a time, then do the best I can to recycle any possible part of the containers.

I no longer use any of these products up at our cabin, because I worry about guests sensitivities, which only doubled the amount I still have down here at the Ranch. So, is it better for me to use them sparingly, or get rid of it all, and hope that me disposing of it is not too harsh on the environment that I respect and love? I know that there are places to take hazardous chemicals, but again, do I know how they are going to be disposed of? I am not sure the people who deal with hazmat on a daily basis are going to take my old Lysol toilet bowl cleaner very seriously.

Every time I clean house I am so hoping that I will finally be done with the nasty stuff, but it just keeps on keeping on! Some of the containers are so old and cool, that I will keep them as displays, as a matter of fact, look at the bottles, those are products that haven't been seen in a long time, they even have old fashioned price tags still on them! Let me know your thoughts.

Have a miracle of a day!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Snow=Big Announcment

Good Morning! I hope those of you from here in Colorado are nestled up to a fire, or at least a loved one. Colorado has been hit with a huge snow storm just in time for Halloween-Yeah!!! The early snow means that I really have to get my winter brain on, and prepare for a new adventure here at The Royal Ranch. We are going to be renting snow shoes this year!

As many of you know, our little piece of paradise is located at the bases of spectacular Mts. Rosalie and Logan, outside of Bailey, CO. There are multiple Pike National Forest trailheads within one mile of our ranch, so it seems only fitting with our "share the love of nature" businesses and philosophy to add snow shoe rental to the list. We have been collecting all sorts of snow shoes to get ready for this big winter we have ahead of us.

For those of you who can't make it a day trip, let me know, and we may just be able to fit you in at The Royal Roost! That way you could spend your days snow shoeing and your evenings in front of the roaring fire in your own private cabin. With the Roost, comes access to our own private trailhead, that is very rarely used.

Yes, this is all a shameless plug, but it is much more than that. It is an invitation to get out and enjoy and learn about our amazing environment. Snow shoeing can burn up to 400 calories an hour! The benefits go even further than that, with normal exercise a person's endorphins are released, as well as when a person is very happy and in a peaceful environment. Snow shoeing is a double whammy! So even if you can't come and visit us, get out there and enjoy Mother Nature, all the while getting a great dose of exercise.

Have a miracle of a day!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Good morning! Well, there is at least six inches of snow on the ground with another foot expected! The kids are out of school, and for some reason would prefer to go skiing than stay home and play games, ah the good old days!! So, off I go to Arapaho basin with three extraordinarily happy kids in tow!

Have a miracle of a day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Giving and Getting from Goodwill

Grandma's Chair
My second hand treasure!
(the chair not the cat)

Wow! Look at the detail on this table!

Good Morning! I've got to tell you, Goodwill is my favorite place to shop, ever! Could there be a cooler way of recycling? I think not. I have found so many treasures at Goodwill (only because that is the best thrift store near me...) that I have long since lost track of the number. I always find something unusual, and it is almost always an item that I didn't even know I needed.

One of my favorite finds is a wing back chair. It was when I was decorating my office, and even before I walked in the door, I got a tingle, just to keep my eyes open. As I'm weaving my way to the back, I spotted the chair. I had been looking for a chair to complement one that I had inherited from my Grandma, and there sitting in front of me was an almost identical match! Grandma had her chair reupholstered years ago in a crushed velvet that is rose in color, at the time, I was not too fond of the color, so you can imagine my surprise to find the same fabric on a chair the same exact size and shape. Not only that, but the chair was marked at $13, Grandma's birthday and favorite number; all of the other chairs were marked at $20, at least. Definitely, a chair that belonged with us.
Just this last weekend the kids and I went in to town and stopped into my favorite Goodwill to look for Halloween costumes. Not only did we hit the jackpot in costume pieces, but my son pointed out a cool ceramic table. It is one of the oddest tables I have ever seen, and in most houses would be gaudy as heck, but in my eclectic ranch it fits in perfectly. As a matter of fact, I was on the alert for furniture to put in my studio when our renters move out, and this table has the spiritual look and feel that I am going for.

One of my favorite "rules" I have put in place for myself, is to always try and drop things off when I go into buy new things. Donating has become a drive through affair, and couldn't be simpler, drop my stuff off, head around the parking lot, and feel a little less guilty for bringing new junk into my crowded home. Even the boys, who hate the whole wearing someone else's clothes thing, have come to love things like basketball shorts and pj pants from my second hand sources.

The best way to approach a thrift store is to have items that you need in mind, but to always keep your eyes open for the unexpected surprise find. Like yarn, decorative pillows, nice blankets, antique textiles, or antique furniture that you can breathe a little love into and repurpose into a new family treasure. Like I said, thrift store shopping is the ultimate, and funnest form of recycling that I can think of. I'd love to hear stories of great finds from my fabulous readers, so....

Have a miracle of a day.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Metaphysical Monday

"Semi vs. auto..." beeped our scanner, "Confirmed DOA", was one of the last things we heard before we went to bed. As all good small town nosies do, we have a scanner, (really, a lot of us get them in case of forest fire) and there must have been sirens earlier in the day for me to have turned it on, but it had been silent all evening. These are tragic words to hear any time, but in a town the size of Bailey, we knew that one of the families that we love and live with had lost an important part of their world. To say the least, we didn't get much sleep that night.
It was the next morning when we got the call; our dear friend Kevin had been the driver in this truck that you see in the picture. It was his son Jake calling, I could tell that the poor kid was just beside himself, and I was scared to death to ask him any questions. But, when he told me that it was his Dad in that accident last night, I didn't know what to say. Jake heard me start to cry and said "It's okay Judy, he's alive."
You see, this is a family that has been a part of our lives since our boys, both juniors now, were in elementary school together. It wasn't until a couple days later when I took some bread over to them that I finally got the whole story. I had been hoping Tina would be gone, knowing how stressed she must be, but she had just gotten up after a very long night at the hospital. The story absolutely rolled out of her, it was something that she needed to talk about, I figured.
The story really started earlier that week when she had a premonition of her daughter getting in a fatal accident, she had even seen the car and the site of the accident. Like our family, they take these sort of warnings very seriously and she'd been talking to her daughter all week about being extra careful, especially on that specific part of the highway. When Kevin was late that night, Tina knew that something terrible had happened and immediately started calling the hospitals; remember this is all before she even knew the accident had happened. She had been getting ready to head to Denver to look for him herself, when Tina felt Kevin actually holding her hand. She gently tapped her cheek, and then felt his other hand on her shoulder, she knew at that time he was gone. She immediately started pleading with him, she told him how much her and the kids love and need him and that he had to stay with them. During the ten minutes that Kevin was with her, she called a friend and told her that Kevin had been in a terrible accident and was there with her in spirit and to please have her husband (a paramedic, I believe) go find the wreck. She felt his presence leave and headed for the door, it was then that she got the call to head to Swedish hospital, Kevin was on his way there via helicopter.
The crew had pronounced him dead and were flying him to the hospital when one of the flight crew decided to check for a pulse one last time, I can only imagine the shock that man got when he felt a weak pulse! The timing is exact, at the time they "called him" is when he was with Tina at home ten miles away, and when they felt his pulse in that chopper is when Tina felt him leave her.
The accident had happened right where Tina had known it would, she had just seen the wrong car. Until the day I took her that banana bread, neither of us had known that the other had these odd abilities, let alone that these abilities brought only negative news most of the time to both of us. We both kind of laughed, it is so strange and embarrassing to talk about, I think we both felt better, knowing that this stuff scares the crap out of both of us!
I am so very happy that Tina's "gift" allowed her to save her beloved husband's life from more than ten miles away. Love is the most amazing and powerful thing alive, I will never again second guess the strength an emotion like love can have. We all learned very quickly how your entire life can change in the blink of an eye. Give your loved ones a big hug, tell them how important they are, and do so every single you chance you get.
Have a miracle of a day!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty


Once upon a time, in a far, far away place (Montrose, CO), some idiot decided that since he couldn't afford hay, he would just let his llamas loose in a far, far away canyon. Well, as llamas do, they bred and bred until my dear friend Lynley saved them. The original herd sire of the group had fought off all of the other males, who were blockaded into one end of the canyon, while he happily produced more llamas with the females at the other end of the canyon.

Lynley is the owner of Colorado Llama Rescue, and has been a great mentor to me, but even better, has become a lifelong friend. If you are from Colorado, you may recognize her as one of Channel 7's Everyday Hero's. And, the title really fits. Lynley has hundreds of llamas (and many other animals, too) that have come from all sorts of terrible backgrounds or that have crazy health issues. She even has a pig that used to be a skin grafting donor for one of the Denver area hospitals. So, to say the least a visit to her ranch is a real adventure.

Royal Llama Adventures was slowly growing, and Lynley needed a hand with all of the llamas that she had taken in from the Montrose Canyon, so we ended up with a few of them. Flash being the most impressive. He is built like a rock, huge front legs, nice large chest, and very good conformation; he is going to be a great pack llama for us. Flash is also considered an Appaloosa, so his wool is gorgeous, I'm dying to get my hands on it. That is if we can ever get the sucker trained!

I have a strong opinion (gee, really?) that animals that are born into the wild, stay pretty wild, and Flash and his buddy's that were born out in that remote mountainous terrain have been the hardest llamas we have ever worked with. Flash is extraordinarily smart and knows how to get away from us, so is difficult to get into a catch pen anyway. A catch pen is a 12 ft x 12 ft pen that you make to work with the llamas. Once we get him in there, the rodeo is on!

Llamas are very head shy, so for them to overcome that fear and allow us to put a halter on them can take quite some time, and with Flash that is proving to be years. This last Spring Tom finally got the halter on him, only to be drug around because of Flash's wild bucking and twisting and snorting. We were actually afraid he was going to injure himself. The thing with llamas is to end any training session on a good note, you know, positive reinforcement? Well, with his head laying on the ground and his butt up in the air, breathing like he was about to croak, we figured that was as good as time as any to let him loose. Actually, I don't think Tom could have held on much longer anyway. I have the easy part, just yelling instructions-ha!

So, we tried again in a couple of days, and this time it went a tiny bit easier, that was until he got out of the catch pen with Tom and the halter flying behind. One of our other llamas saw he was in distress and decided to attack him with Tom at the end of the lead. I immediately started fighting off Two Eagles by screaming like a banshee and throwing my arms in the air, all the while chasing him away from Flash. So, Tom finally got Flash to stand still for a minute while I kept Two Eagles at bay and got the halter off as quickly as possible.

That was one for the record books, too bad we didn't have video, it would've been worth the $100,000! So, needless to say, it has been awhile since we worked with Flash, I'm thinking next Spring will be here soon enough! I wonder what our neighbors think of us? LOL!

Have a miracle of a day!

Friday, October 23, 2009

It Hasn't Really Been a Decade?

Isabella Anne digging for crystals
A decade? Really, that can't be. My baby turns ten today, and I feel a tad reflective (and somewhat sad), but am so very proud of my family and where we have come in that blink of an eye decade.

It had been a terrible year, we had just lost both of Tom's parents. Wolf, Tom's Dad, had died of lung cancer in October, after a year long struggle. And then in March we lost Anne to a liver cancer that happened so quickly (45 days), we hardly knew what hit us. It was really quite odd, the two of them had each been married to someone else for over twenty years, so it wasn't the old love story; literally dying of a broken heart, just horrific timing on the parts of their children and the rest of the family.

Anne was one of my most beloved friends, I had been blessed in the mother in law department. We frequently had lunch and she was always a huge help with the boys. They always had such a great time with "Nanny", she was quite adventurous and took the boys to so many cool places. Thankfully, Thomas, my oldest, still remembers those times and holds them close to his heart. So, the loss hit us all very hard.

A couple of weeks after Anne's funeral I was very sick. I kept insisting to Tom that it was just grief, and just to give my body time to recover. That was until I got the bed spins so badly in the middle of the night that I threw up! Tom insisted I go to the doctor, and I have never been so shocked to hear the news, I was pregnant. The funny thing was that before Wolf had gotten sick, we had tried and tried to get pregnant, but with his parents dying, we were not comfortable getting pregnant at that time, so we figured we would wait until the time was right.

From that moment on, I knew I was going to have a girl. Not only because my pregnancy was so different than it had been with the boys, but I knew that this girl was a gift for a family that had been struggling to see the positive in life for quite some time. Through our fog of mourning, the entire family slowly started learning about the circle of life. The joy that Isabella Anne has brought to this family is hard to describe, it is almost as though she is literally a part of Nanny, but with her very own distinct flavor of girly self.

Tom and I had been struggling with names, we knew it was partially Anne, but nothing seemed to fit right. Two nights before our girl was born, I was at aquacize, when I literally heard (in my mind) the name Isabella Anne. The look on Tom's face when I came home and said that her name had to be Isabella was unforgettable. Remember, this is ten years ago, the name was not at all popular yet, so I had a fight on my hands convincing him. The minute he set eyes on her, he knew that I had been right, there couldn't be a more perfect name for our little queen.

Have a miracle of a day!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Coupon Clipping 101

Good Morning! Well, today is a big day for us here at the ranch, my youngest is about to enter the "double digits", she'll be ten tomorrow. So, my day will be filled with all of the duties that any good Mom has to do to prepare for the big event. Ugh....the grocery store, that will be my least favorite duty! (Every time I say duty, I have to say "Do your duty and vote for Judy", a phrase I used to get myself elected class secretary in 4th grade, it was even catchier than I thought!)

So, today I would like to give you a couple of tips about grocery shopping and using coupons. I am by no means an expert on this subject, because I'll take a sink full of dishes over going to the store any day, and if you ask my family, that's really bad. But, I have come across some great tips and learned a little bit about how to get the most bang for my buck.

This is the funny part, I quit getting the Sunday paper with the coupons in it, because I was sick of supporting such a racially biased paper, but I no longer had my beloved coupons. Problem solved, our neighbors are older and much more settled, so do not need to use coupons. It has worked out good for everybody, that way once a week they have an excuse to see my kids and I get my money saving parts of the paper I won't support-ha!

Anywho, back to coupons; it really doesn't take that much time to clip them if you stay on top of it and clip each week. Make yourself an organizer, any system that best suits you is what will work. My sister's envelope is by brand name, and mine is in the order of the store, whatever works best for you. As you are clipping get a good idea of what each coupon is good for. I think this is where people tend to get frustrated and quit. Coupons are very specific with sizes and amounts, often times you'll have to buy 2 or 3 items to use that coupon. If you don't follow the coupon exactly, the computer will beep at you at the check out stand, I don't know about you, but $.39 off just isn't worth making everyone in line mad by going back to get more or another product.

Also, I will not use a coupon (or even buy the product) until it is already on sale, the savings on these items can be drastic. The sister that I mentioned before, is organized enough that she often gets things close to free this way. When an item that I use often is on sale and I have a coupon-watch out, in all of my excitement you might even hear my "Right On!" from across the store. I think this is great advice, turn it into almost a game, the more you play, the more you save, and it won't take you long before you are loving the results.

Now, I am signed up on a few of those sites that put the coupon right on your card. The problem for me, has been to remember what is on my card and how would I keep the correct sizes and amounts straight if I don't have the little piece of paper in my hand telling me what to buy. So, for now I just keep clipping. There are also some great sites that help you learn how to play the game even better, like when the stores have their rock bottom prices, and so on, but that was just taking too much time. The trick is finding a balance between saving money and not costing yourself time doing it.

I had to laugh last time I went to the store with my kids. We were in a big hurry, so I had them helping me. I don't know about you, but leaving the kids in the candy aisle could be a dangerous thing, but because they know my coupon system so well by now, I handed them my pouch and told them if it was on sale and I had a coupon, go for it! I was so very impressed when they met up with me and had everything exactly right, BOGO or whatever, my kids know the system!

In my opinion, there is no longer a stigma involved with using coupons, especially if you have followed all of the rules. Thanks to bar codes the checker just scans the coupons and off you go! It took some time getting used to people looking at my huge stack of coupons, thinking "oh geez, this will take forever", but like I said, it only takes a minute or so. I save at least 20% off of each grocery bill, and actually that is a low number, it is usually closer to 30%! In just one month, the savings can be huge, and I don't even enjoy going to the store without this fun little challenge anymore!

Don't forget your reusable grocery bags! Save the earth and save trips to and from the truck. These bags hold much more than those nasty plastic bags, plus we get a $.05 credit for each bag we bring in. Using coupons and reusable bags are wonderful lessons for your family, a great way to save money, and an even better way to buy necessities without feeling ripped off! I would love it for anyone to chime in with your money saving ideas at the grocery store or anywhere else for that matter!
Have a miracle of a day!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I Graduated!!!

Good Morning All. Well, I did it, I have graduated from "Beginner Stained Glass"! As you can see, my project turned out pretty good, better than I had expected. Stained glass is something I have always wanted to learn, and now I am hooked (not to the lead I inhaled, the hobby!). It all started innocently enough last year with some "simple" Christmas gifts for my family that ended up not being so simple. Maybe they knew to get their gifts finished they'd have to send me to school, because the gift certificates I got as gifts last year were what paid for this class.
I was continually reminded of Jeff Foxworthy's "You might be a redneck if..." comedy routine, I think I would've given him enough material for at least one show. So here goes:

  • You might be a redneck if you walk into a stained glass shop with an old tackle box for your tools instead of the pricey art supply containers that everyone else has.

  • You might be a redneck if your truck is sitting in a parking lot full of BMW's and Audi's full to the brim with recyclables.

  • You might be a redneck if the tools you use are from a different century, like the grinding stone and soldering iron that my instructor really got a chuckle out of.

  • You might be a redneck if you fill the entire class room full of thick smoke because you tried to get away with using the husbands flux and solder (believe me, there is a big difference between plumbing and glass supplies)!

  • You might be a redneck if some of the glass that you use is the oldest thing in the building- and that's pretty old (I took the class with some very nice "retired" ladies) LOL!

Actually, I used the old glass on purpose, my repurposing self likes to have a piece of the ranch in all of my work. We have replaced many windows in this old house, and using the glass in new, fun ways has been a real pleasure for me. It feels as if I am putting a little bit of history into every craft I make. The thick smoke on the other hand was a little embarrassing, especially right after one of the ladies had been asking questions about the health safety of doing stained glass. I still can't figure out why she changed work stations!

But, the bottom line is that I did it! I took myself out of my comfort zone, learned something new and taught those old ladies a thing or two about ranching (I'm thinking they did not leave chicken poop from their barn shoes in the parking lot, I wasn't leaving it in my beloved truck! JK!!). So, even though we came from very different backgrounds we all had one thing in common and that was enough!

I have always been one to just teach myself anything new that I wanted to try, but stained glass is a very difficult art. I learned more than just how to cut glass though, I learned that I don't always have to learn things the hard way. It was kind of nice learning from someone else, and not struggling through just because it may save a buck or is out of my comfort zone. There are just things in life that are easier learned in a class room type situation, it made the art much more fun for me.

I would highly recommend all of you to take some sort of continuing education. Whether it be something for work or just to broaden our own minds, there are classes out there for everything, and can fit almost any one's schedule. It is worth the satisfaction, even if you look like a dork doing it!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Dog Got Skunked!!!

Good Morning! For those of you that missed Metaphysical Monday, it will return, maybe even later this week. I have a story that I want to share with you, but it is not my story, so I need to make sure I get all of the details and permissions to share. it is only Tuesday and I'm already a day behind-Ha!

Sunday morning as I was sitting in front of our wonderful wood stove, I got a whiff of the unmistakable skunk smell. I quickly jumped up to run and let Rosie in, but I was too late! Why they like to chase those things I have no idea, but she got it full force. She smelled soooo bad that I couldn't even let her into the house.

We have had this happen once or twice before and have tried every method that we had ever heard of, to no avail, but I had to do something. So, the only thing I had on hand was a can of tomato soup, I grabbed it and got ready to give old Stinky a bath. One important suggestion, do not wet the animal until you have rubbed the soup in; if you think wet dog stinks, wet skunk is about ten times worse. I'll never forget many years ago I was in Iowa visiting family when my Uncle John hit a skunk, he thought it would be a great idea to take the car through the wash, which only amplified the smell! With both him and my aunt Jaris in the car smoking like trains, I preferred that smell to rolling down the windows!

After dragging the poor wretched dog to the tub, the tomato soup got rubbed in as well as I could possible stand (just to give you a mental picture; I am a gagger and this happened at about 5 in the morning, so my family woke up to the warming sounds of me dry heaving!), and then shampooed her with her regular doggy shampoo (just an animal lover warning here, never use products meant for humans, on your animals!), all the while praying that the smell would come out of the clothes I was wearing.

The good news is that Rosie smells almost back to normal, so the trick I'm pretty sure is to get the dog before the stink has time to settle in! Now, for my clothes and her collar and any towels that I used on her, I used good old vinegar. I washed them all in one load with a ton of vinegar and detergent, I can still smell it very slightly, but at least it is better! So, my best advice is to get to the stink quickly and act aggressively!

Have a miracle of a day!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty

Harry & Gary
Gary and Lucy
(I don't like that look, Gary!)


Good Sunday Morning All! It's a good thing I have a lot of animals around here, because I really can't believe how quickly these Sunday posts roll around! Today, I am proud to introduce Harry and Gary. Although they are brothers, and look very similar in many ways, their behavior (and weight) are very different. It's probably been a few years that we have been calling him "Fat Gary", and I swear he swaggers away, belly flopping side to side, proudly when we say this. It reminds me of the old show "Fat Albert", Hey, Hey Hey! (Oops, am I aging myself there?)

Tom and I have always had a thing for Orange Tabby cats; they are very intelligent, seem to have good genes, are good "talkers", and match my redheads-ha! Anywho, many years ago our renter (turned out to be not a very nice guy) took in a pregnant cat (actually it was his girlfriend at the time, but...), well, of course when we heard there were some orange kittens we had to have a look. A couple of hours later Harry and Gary were ensconced in their loving, if not chaotic, new home!

Harry tends to really raise a ruckus around the neighborhood. We have done something with this cat that we have never had to do before, put a collar with a bell on it on him! I mean this cat hides in culverts to sneak up on the neighbors bird feeders, he has even gotten a Magpie. Now, I don't know if Magpies are a familiar bird or not, but they are just a little smaller than a crow. Remember, I am a huge bird lover, so this is very upsetting to me, as I know it is to the neighbors, because they have even complained (rightly so) about him; we've seen them chasing him away from their beloved feeders. If you know much about taking in wild cats, even generations down, there is no way to keep them indoors, so poor Harry jingles when he walks!

Gary, on the other hand, would just prefer to spend his days napping. If you happen to be the unlucky soul that walks by and interrupts his nap, you get a very loud "mreow", yes, I swear he adds his own "r" to it, as if he's almost growling at you. And, god forbid you walk by him when the cat bowl is empty. The cat food of course has to be up off the ground, away from the dogs, so they have their own little feeding cart. Well, Gary will sit there and grab your elbow as you walk by, if there's not enough food in his bowl.

All in all, they fit in perfectly here at the zoo, I even have one of those metal signs above my front door that says "Welcome to Our Zoo!", I'm wondering if that should be a warning sign instead of a welcome sign?!?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh, For the Love of a Grandma

This is Mom, with most of her Grandkids,
Tom, myself & my sister, Kelly.

I have mentioned that my family has had a very hard time this flu season. Well, my daughter Isabella has been hit the hardest. She was home all week long, just feeling rotten. She is quite a happy little girl normally, so to have gone a week without a peek of her beautiful smile was getting very concerning as her Mom. I had checked back with the doctor's office even, which is rather unlike me, I normally tend to like to let these things run their own course. But, as every parent that hears of the terrible deaths of the kids that get this nasty flu, I couldn't help myself! I must say, I'm glad I did, I feel much better, but it didn't help my Bella at all.

So, like grandparents do, Mom and Dad called to check on her and see how she is feeling. Mom and I got to talking about her birthday plans for next week. Isabella wants to go to a local bead shop and take a class in how to make jewelry (how fun for me, right up my alley!), so I asked her Grandma if she'd like to join the class. Well, when I went upstairs to tell my girl that Grandma was coming to her birthday party, she absolutely beamed. The first real smile I had seen in what felt like forever. She even got up and wanted to call Grandma back right away!

Now, I don't know about you, but most of us will do just about anything to get our kids feeling better when they are down, if I knew that there was a "Grandma pill" I would've given it to her a lot sooner-thanks Mom!!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Judy's Spaghetti from Scratch

I am always a little hesitant to use my recipes on this blog since they just come out of my head, and are not at all exact, but that is really the way I would like to teach people to love to cook, with your heart and senses. When I ask you to use so much of an herb or spice, use a little more or less, if that is to your liking, that is how most of these recipes came to be. Also, I have not figured out exactly, but this spaghetti must cost cents per serving, it is VERY cheap to make and it is one of my family's favorites; I get a request for it at least once or twice a week! So, here goes:

1-1.5 lbs. ground meat (whatever is on sale beef, turkey, wild game)

1 can tomato paste (cheap is fine, organic is better)
1 can diced tomatoes w/ peppers (again, I buy the cheap stuff, or organic when it is on sale w/ a coupon, and then I stock up, this goes for the paste as well, I use them in a lot of stuff)

Garlic salt


Chili Pepper

Italian Seasoning

Place thawed meat into a deep skillet on medium high heat, and sprinkle with spices, I'm guessing here, but I use at least a tsp. each of garlic, pepper and Italian seasoning, and then half that of the chili pepper. Again, this is really to your specific taste and smell. If you are on a low sodium diet, you may want to do your salt and garlic separately so that you can have a little more garlic taste without adding too much salt. My ground meat usually looks pretty well covered with the spices when it is still pink, that way I can see what I have added, and the flavors are cooked all the way through the meat.

I have the coolest trick to open those nasty tomato paste cans! (I wish I could remember where I read this so I could give due credit!) Open both ends, and remove one lid; when the meat is finished browning, just push the paste through with the other lid right into the skillet! Add the tomatoes, and since your rinsing the can for recycling anyway, put the first couple cans of water into the skillet to dissolve the tomato paste. Let simmer for at least 20 or 30 minutes.

I usually do the sauce, because it goes very quickly, and then get the water going for the pasta. Here is another one of my favorite tips, especially for us high altitude dwellers; always put a lid on your pot, it will help the water boil faster. It takes less energy, and less time, and at 9,000 feet if you don't want to wait a half hour for a pot of water to boil, it is a necessity.

Back to dinner, make a quick salad and maybe some garlic toast and you've got yourself a quick, easy, budget friendly meal that your family will love, I hope!

Have a miracle of a day!
PS I will try to take pictures as I am making some of these things, I know that would probably be helpful, are you getting sick of clipart?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day '09

Good Morning! Well it seems my week of recycling posts was just the beginning, I didn't even know it until last night, but today is blog action day. I was sent an e-mail from a group that I am associated with called the 350 challenge (you see the green badge on the left of this blog). It started as a group of people just trying to get 350 bloggers together to promote climate change, but it has grown to much larger than that, and as you can imagine, I was happy to join. I was also quite excited to get the e-mail about blog action day, which is leading up to International Day of Climate Change on October 24, 2009. This is a portion of the note I received from the people at

The number is 350, and it's now the most important number on the planet. 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, measured in parts per million. Since we're at 390 ppm now, it's a tough number, and getting back to it will require remarkable efforts.The good news is that people all around the world are mobilizing around 350 in a unique and beautiful movement to solve the climate crisis.

On Oct. 24th, the International Day of Climate Action, people from over 150 nations will come together in creative climate actions to take a stand for 350 and a safe climate future. There will be 1000s of creative on-the-ground actions everywhere from the slopes of Mt. Everest to the underwater reefs of the Maldive Islands to the streets of our biggest cities. All designed to drive the 350 message into the human imagination -- and help our leaders realize we need a real solution that pays attention to the science.

Yes, I am very happy to share all of this information, and I was really happy when I went to the site to help us bloggers get started on today's posts and it was not all gloom and doom. As a matter of fact they compared our climate problems to being overweight, and most of us can understand that. We go to the doctor, find out we have high cholesterol, need to lose a few pounds, okay quite a few pounds, and get more exercise, eat right, all of the things we know we should be doing and do them! That is the whole point is that we have a choice to take action here people, we can, and we are. That is a very important word; action, and that is the part that I will participate in.

It gets a little sticky for me when we start talking about the next big happening:

This December, world leaders are meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark to draft a new global climate treaty -- one that has the potential to turn the tide on global warming and get our planet back on a brighter path. The problem is, most world leaders and their negotiators aren't getting it. They're not planning to do enough to to avert the climate crisis.

While I agree that not enough is being done about our climate crisis, some of the things that are being discussed in these political arenas hit very close to home and heart for this little ranch sitting in the Rocky Mountains a long way from Copenhagen.

Although I tease and make light of Tom's "day" job, it is something that we are both extraordinarily proud of. Tom runs a precision machine shop, that make the parts that are currently in space and many medical, aerospace and other technological machines that make this country "tick". He is VERY good at what he does and he, and his entire shop take pride not only in a job well done, but doing it by the book. They have gone to great pains (and I do mean pains!) to become ISO 9001 certified, a very complex certification process that they go through to work with these very high tech (and high dollar) companies. This certification is very strictly enforced here in the US; Tom's shop has frequent audits and stringent policies that they must abide by. The problem is that not all countries that are certified are even audited let alone held accountable for the very same standards. Dad, if you want to jump in here about your trip to China, we'd love to hear it! (Dad did jump in, and his comment is below, better yet, his blog has very interesting pictures and details of a very different culture!)

So, this starts bringing up a few of my concerns, we start talking about fair pricing and things like that, it makes Tom and I very nervous. We do understand that other countries may not be as industrialized as we are, and that we have made our share of the mistakes, but those countries have also had the benefits of learning from those same mistakes along with the huge strides we, as Americans, have made in the mean time. This cap and trade thing could be a little dangerous also. From what this one little ol' blogger can gather, it appears as if companies that have nothing at all to do with energy can gather up "credits", that they would not even need, and hoard them to sell back to the companies that do need them. Again, it boils down to extremes, while I am all for saving the planet, I think if there is any one group that is going to get rich quick off of it, something is not right.

So, for Blog Action Day, that is my advice, always take action, do something about it. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and whatever else feels right to you to help make this planet a better place to live and thrive.

Have a miracle of a day!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Rethink Recyclables

Good Morning! I know I just did a post on recycling yesterday, but I thought I'd keep the ball rolling today. I am doing my Spring cleaning a season late, and it is bringing up a lot of recycling opportunities that I haven't thought of before that I would like to share with all of you. Maybe it will give you some ideas to use, and maybe it will give you some ideas of things to share...

The following is a list of items that are in my truck waiting to be hauled to the big city to various recycling facilities. Keep in mind that I do separate any metals and plastics only because I get paid for the metals. The can $ that gets collected from the schools I can then give back, and the $ from here at home I figure covers my fuel for the trip down the hill and buys my one weakness, fast food. Living in, and growing up in the mountains has turned me into a fast food junkie. Thank goodness I live so far away from it, so it is unavailable to me, my hips and thighs!!!

  • multiple five gallon buckets, we have used and reused these until they are no longer usable

  • an aluminum chair frame that is bent, of course I removed the pad and will use it on a different project

  • a few old children's toys that have a triangle on them (recyclable triangle on the bottom)

  • styrofoam packaging that came with my printer; until recently I was unaware that styro was at all recyclable, but I have found a few things, like a few egg cartons, this packaging, etc, that do have the triangle, so look closely.

  • steel poles from an old tent, steel is bringing pretty good $ right now, so take in whatever you can, plus it feels great to get it out of my new barn area!

  • boxes, yes, I know everyone knows cardboard is recyclable, but I see boxes blown around in the wind all the time, just a reminder!!!! Flatten them, reuse the ones you can and recycle the ones you can't. They are also wonderful containers for your recyclables as you can then just toss the whole container in the recycling bin-DONE!

  • Flower pots, like those beautiful hanging pots that have died off and you don't know what to do with now, really, are you going to replant them next Spring? If not, recycle them now before the winds take them to your neighbors who may not recycle at all.

  • Automotive products, now I say this very carefully. These are just the containers for the products, like the EMPTY bottles from the oil changes my husband does on my truck, etc. If they have ANY product left in them, please check out

As I said before, this is just a few ideas, and I would love to hear if you have ideas of some other recyclables that people may not think of on a daily basis. Let's save the world people, one little blog at a time!

Have a miracle of a day!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Good Morning, well, it looks like I'm almost back on schedule!!! You know, the wonderful thing about networking? Sometimes your loved ones do your work for you, and this is one that I just couldn't pass up. As many of you know by now, my Dad is a very talented guy who built a bus that him and my Mom travel around the country in. He has designed a fire suppression system for these high dollar motor coaches that attend the rallies that M&D go to and teach their various classes. His background is as a mechanical engineer, but he has been building "odd" cars and other vehicles my whole life, and when I say odd, I do mean odd. When we were growing up, we would take our family vacations each year in a different vehicle that my Dad had cooked up. One year it was a VW bus that had a Porsche type engine in it, no AC, but by George we got to California quickly-HA! Another year it was a four door truck, and this was way back when four door trucks were unheard of, so his three girls were just mortified! It is really ironic how much I love my four door truck now, don't you think?

Anyway, Dad uses many chemicals in his shop and has always been very careful about the disposal of said chemicals, but I like to think that I have had a little bit of an impression on him and he has gone a step further and is now recycling everything he possibly can. So, you can imagine my joy when I got an e-mail from him the other day about this great website, The site is chock full of information, my favorite was an article, The 8 Must Do's of Being Green. But, most importantly it has resources to recycle some of the very hard to find things like chemicals, batteries, cfl light bulbs, computers, etc, for any zip code! This site is so full of information it was a little slow to load at first, so be patient, it is definitely worth the wait. Thanks, Dad!

Have a miracle of a day!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Metaphysical Monday

My Guardian Angel (the tattoo I got in memory of my Grandma)

I'll never forget the look on Tom's face or the little eye roll I'd get over the head of one of our children after they had just gotten in trouble when they were toddlers. He always gave a small chuckle, and a loving grin along with the eye roll, but none the less, I saw it all the same. No matter how much trouble (and of course there were some whoppers!) they had found themselves into, I would do a bit of scolding, and then say, "and did you get that feeling in your tummy?" A tiny little, hiccuping voice always replied "yes, mommy", and that is when I always went into my spiel about listening to their intuition and how important it was. "That is your body telling you you knew it wasn't right to do that sweetie, you need to listen to your self. That's called your instincts." I would then wrap them in a hug and make sure they understood. I think this is such an important lesson, at the time I told myself I was mostly teaching them because of sexual predators and other childhood dangers, but really, looking back on it, it was the most important life lesson I passed on to them.

Call it intuition, call it instinct, call it your inner spirit, or your spirit guide or even call it God, but it is there for each and every one of us, in our own way. Although I got only 1 comment (thanks Tiffany) from my last metaphysical post, I have decided to continue them, possibly on a weekly basis. As you know from previous posts, I do not like to make any promises, so I will not, because I am still struggling with all of this myself, but am very confident (oh,really?) that this blog is part of this journey, so, my intuition says to keep on sharing.

I really can't believe that it has only been a week since that last post. I have absolutely devoured three books in that time, and have had countless odd happenings. One can read into them whatever one wishes, but for me, it has been a road to some pretty wondrous discoveries. Some very personal and deep soul searching and some very touching and almost humorous events and "coincidences".

I no longer sleep very well, so much (or so little?) so that my family teases me, Tom says we're going to be out of firewood soon since I'm up burning the fire at all hours of the night! But, when I do sleep, I have very vivid dreams, that leave me with very vivid impressions of things I should be doing. All of which I do, and come to find out, they needed to be done. It started with urges to do things, like check out my local used book store, which turned out to be almost entirely metaphysical, then things started to get more specific.

For instance, I was told in my dream to start preparing the ranch. We soon found out that our renters are remodeling a house nearby to buy and will be leaving in the Spring. Actually this is wonderful news for everyone, because I was preparing the ranch like I was told, have big plans for that house, and we are ecstatic for our renters! If any of my dreams bring up questions about the new things that I am learning about, first thing in the morning, I will find the answer in the first book that I pick up. I am reading multiple books at one time right now, which I rarely do, and will go straight to the answer, or at least something that leads me to the answer.
I have known my whole life that I have a "calling" here on this earth, and I say that with no ego, as a matter of fact, until recently I would've said it with a sense of regret, fear, and duty. I am still very unsure of what it is, but at least I am now no longer afraid and am ready to face it head on. Many years ago, when Tom's grandma was dying, I was told by the minister at the hospice, who I had made quite a spiritual connection with, that I had a "way for helping people Pass", and at the time it did not seem like a compliment at all, because we had just lost both of Tom's parents as well. It wasn't all that many years later that I helped my Grandma through her struggle with cancer, that she subsequently lost, so that preachers' words have really stuck with me.
So, for now, I am following my gut instinct and my inner guides with all of my strength. I am meeting the new, wonderful people that are being put in my path, and learning all that I can about this new strong, colorful energy coursing through my body. I'll see where it all leads me from here.

Have a miracle of a day!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty

This is a pic we use to advertise The Royal Roost,
people always ask if the dog is included!
Our three girls
Rosie, Lily and Gigi

Good Evening! I think this is the first time I have ever written that! I didn't want to miss out on my weekly series, introducing all of you to one of my Royal Ranch Royalty. Since I have mentioned her so many times in this blog, I figured it was high time that Gigi was Royalty of the week.

Gigi is a Papillon/Sheltie mix that we inherited from my Grandma, who all of the great grand kids called GG (for Great Grandma). Actually we bought Gigi for Grandma, and then when she became ill with cancer and was no longer able to take care of her, we brought her here to the ranch to live with us.

It is quite a funny story as my Grandma had already been diagnosed with the cancer, but had great hopes of beating it. We were looking for rescue dogs, but as lots of elderly people are, Grandma was very particular about her dogs. I was looking for something older, and she was not. When she kept insisting on younger dogs, we bought her the papillon pup for Valentine's Day. I didn't want her getting a puppy with someone else's bad training on top of it! She named her Heidi, and the love that blossomed was immediate.

I went down often for training sessions, so Heidi and I became fast friends. It was not long before we realized that our papered Papillon puppy was no purebred, but we all loved her so much, we didn't care. Sadly enough, Heidi only got to live with Grandma for 4-6 months before she came to be a ranch dog, so her bigger size worked out for the best.

The kids were so saddened that GG had to lose her friend that they changed Heidi's name to Gigi, with GG's permission, of course. It didn't take long for her to settle right in and learn to love life here in the mountains. Even from the day we first picked her up, she has had a strong attachment to me, and it has grown stronger every day. There is not a moment that my Gigi is not by my side (unless of course I can't take her with me!).
Have a miracle of an evening!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ziploc Bags

Good Morning! Although I have missed writing terribly, I have not been sleeping much and therefore am unable to work on the computer. Feeling much better today and am wanting to tell you about my latest trip to the grocery store. As I have mentioned many times in this blog, it is hunting season, which blessedly for me, means it is also time for game processing here at The Royal Ranch. Yes, people, I do my own game processing. After a couple of years of paying a premium price for a sub premium product I decided that I could do a better job myself-gee what a surprise!

As you can imagine, to package that much meat takes a lot of bags/paper. It has been a long time since I have purchased any ziploc bags; as a matter of fact, the last time was probably a couple of years ago when I bought some at Costco. Well, as you know, those last a long time, especially for someone who hates to use them! So, I have been out for quite some time and have not needed to replace them as I have found bread and tortilla bags to be a wonderful alternative to them.

So, you can imagine my dismay when all this time later I go into the baggie aisle, that I rarely visit at my local King Soopers, excited to be blown away by all of the new green biodegradable, eco-friendly bag options I would have to choose from. Guess how many choices I had? That's right, NONE!!! The only eco-friendly bags in the whole store were trash bags, and it didn't seem too green to use a trash sized bag for a roast. There was also no alternative to wrap my meat in. So, my only option was to go with the Hefty bags, and the only reason I chose them was because part of my purchase would go to breast cancer research.

As I left the store, I was even thinking about going to the elementary school and getting butcher paper from there, but I wasn't sure if what the kids use might have different chemicals in it that could leach into our meat. In hindsight I should have asked the meat department for some wrapping paper, I have asked the bakery for fondant before, and they were happy to help. So, we as consumers need to let our needs and wants known. I know that I am not the only one that feels guilty each time a one time use baggy is thrown away!

Have a Miracle of a Day!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Wonderful Surprise

I had the most wonderful surprise yesterday. After a long day of battling traffic to and from the city, learning a new craft (which is really quite fun, but hard on the old noggin), and an advisory council meeting thrown in the mix, I came home to a gift from one of our great neighbors. Amy and David may be familiar names to some of my regular readers as they are very dear followers and have been more than supportive in this blog and any other endeavor this crazy ranch takes on! They are a cool little family unit, both extraordinarily intelligent parents, a son who loves all of our critters and a happy little girl whose playful screams make me grin every time I hear them come across the winds, god I miss those days!

Anyway, as dogs will do, their dogs got out of their invisible fencing system and got in a fight with my Gigi. David was already out in his truck looking for the dogs and heard the fight start and me yelling at the dogs, so no damage was done. Actually, that's not true, because the fight started when I was up feeding so it was up behind the barn and my renters house. So, in the middle of the initial dog fight, my renters pit bull, who we have very strict rules for, got loose. It could have been a very dangerous situation with six dogs all at the ready to fight, but David was willing to be right there in the middle of it.

The problem was that once we got the dogs separated, Isabella and I, and our two dogs (Rosie and Gigi) were then stuck up at the barn because the renters dogs were loose and blocking our usual route back to the house. I hollered to David and of course he came ripping down the road to our rescue. He put himself and his truck in between us and the dogs so that I could run Rose and Gigi home a different way and run back up to get Bella who had done the smart thing and run back into the barn as soon as she saw the dog fight break out. He stayed here until he knew that we were home safely.

Amy and David know how I am about Gigi and were absolutely horrified! So, as I said, I had a wonderful surprise when I got home last night. They had left a huge bag of goodies for the dogs! All sorts of dog treats, a chew toy for Gigi, which is now Tia's favorite (sorry Amy and David), and even freshly baked treats for them. But, the real treat is for Tom and I, a gift certificate to a fancy local steak house, that of course on our tight budget, we have not tried. From one parent to another, a night out is a very thoughtful gift.

To be honest, I hadn't even thought twice about the dog fight. Gigi is quite a pain in the butt to the other dogs in the neighborhood and lets it be known that she can squeeze through any fence and gets to go places every dog wishes to go. What a superb example of special neighbors!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Quit the Paper Towel Habit

I have a terrible, naughty, secret that I don't tell very many people....I use paper towels. Okay, I feel better coming out of the closet into the green, eco-friendly world! No really, all kidding aside, I quit buying paper plates and napkins because I could use other things to replace them, you know like real glass plates? But, the paper towel habit has been a hard habit for this green girl to kick. There are just certain things you don't want your kitchen towels (or any towel or rag or hand or stick or..) to touch, living on a ranch, but I think I may have come across a close second!

My friend and blogging mentor Lena, at Over Coffee, The Green Edition, is doing a giveaway for Skoy cloths. When I first started reading about them I was figuring they were a Shamwow imitation, which I already have, and love for cleaning, but again is too thick for some of the jobs I have here. I was pleasantly surprised when I went to their website and found out they are actually an eco-friendly replacement to 15 rolls of paper towels, for $6. I think these would work great here because I could use them for the yucky, disgusting messes, rinse them out and nuke the bacteria right out of them. How wonderful that I wouldn't have to feel guilty about throwing half a forest away on any given day for a ranch filled with animals, kids and a love for the environment.

Maybe there is hope for my secret addiction!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Winds of Change

The air is cool and crisp, there is a thick layer of frost on the ground and the leaves have all but disappeared due to last week's strong winds. The winds of change are blowing through my spirit as well, and I have decided to take you all on the journey. I've got to tell you, I have internally debated about this post for weeks, my extended family, friends and neighbors along with my dedicated readers are privy to parts of my life and thoughts through this blog that I'm not sure that I was even aware of until I put them in writing. Many things can be difficult or embarrassing to discuss, but as I have said before, I would not be a good author if I don't deal with a few tough issues.

Where do I begin this odd little story? A few months ago? A lifetime ago? With my epilepsy diagnosis? I am positive now that it is all tied together, but I am not sure how, and I am also somewhat sure that this blog is tied in. Which is why I am asking for your open minds as you read my story-if anything catches your eye, please comment or pass along to someone who may have a comment. That is the whole reason I am putting this out there; to share my journey and to connect with others on a similar path. Okay, down to business.

So, I believe that this story really heats up a couple of months ago when I had one of my dreams; and I say it this way because I have had these dreams my whole life. I'm pretty sure I can remember the first one because it was so upsetting; I had been sleeping with my Mom, couldn't sleep well and had dreamt that my Dad had been killed in a car accident. You can imagine my young girl screams when I answered the phone later that morning to find out Dad really had been in an accident, luckily he was fine. Another very memorable one was from middle school when all I could see was blood and later that day my friend was goofing off in the hallway and tore hiss bottom eye lid off on a door hinge, I'm pretty sure my Mom had to pick me up from school that day. Recently I had one that Tom and I crashed in the bus that my parents travel in so I had my Dad check all of the brake systems, only to find out it wasn't the brake systems, but another much more extensive (and expensive) one. So anyway, I'm pretty used to the dreams by now, and they never come all the way true, that is to say, the dreams are much worse usually than what happens in real life. Which is a good thing, because the dreams are very traumatic for me (and whoever is in them with me!).

The dream that I had was that Tom was leaving me, and if you know us at all, you know that that is as far a stretch as we could get, even in the dream I knew it wasn't right. But, this one was different, I could not get control of myself; not during the dream, not after the dream, and not for quite some time that morning. As usual, it was my morning chores and my critters that finally got me somewhat pulled together. It was up at the barn when I ran into our neighbor that I rarely see, Don King, no not the one with the crazy hair. We had quite a nice visit, he was always so happy to hear news of the latest llama rescue. I was very sad to hear that Don had a massive stroke later that day, and died the next, but was happy to have given him a few grins that day.

This was only the beginning of a very strange series of events for me, my sister in law was in a very serious accident, we had foreclosure papers in the mailbox (that same day) although our mortgage had not gone into foreclosure (not even a missed payment, just a misunderstanding), we lost a llama; to be honest, I can't even remember it all now. I kept saying to myself okay, so this is why I had the dream and it will stop now, and things have calmed down a bit. But, since that dream, there have been changes to my other odd abilities, like knowing who is on the phone, or who I will see when, nothing important or life changing, actually quite irritating, but quite persistent.

Around the time that I had this dream, I had a booking at The Royal Roost, and the way things had been going, it was not at all surprising when they cancelled and asked for a return of their deposit. Being the cheap ass that I am, I normally will only return half of a deposit, but because I was so mentally drained, was not prepared for a battle and simply mailed the entire deposit back. The gal was so appreciative of my kindness that she offered to do an astrology reading for me for free. I must say, a chill ran down my spine, and I got the feeling I get in my stomach when it is connected with my dreams, I felt strongly that she had been put in my path for a reason. I checked her out as best I could and somewhat reluctantly agreed. I had to go through a little bit of a hassle to get the information she needed, but I knew it was something I had to do, because at this point I needed a little bit of guidance.

She called me last Monday morning for our appointment. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was excited, anxious and very afraid for unknown reasons. Her name is Sajit, and she really did a great job, jumped right in, while not getting too overly technical she did not get too over the top either, stayed on a playing field that did not scare a somewhat normal person like me away. Here I am writing an article like this, calling myself normal, okay maybe I really have lost it! Anyway, an astrology reading is much more than what sign you are, it involves things like houses and moons and suns and things that I would never even consider myself qualified enough to talk about, but it can really paint a picture of what you "bring to the table" with you, so to speak. She made very clear that she is not a psychic or anything and that this reading was just something to learn from. Boy was it ever!

I shouldn't have been surprised when she brought up psychic abilities, I knew that's why she had been put in my life, but I really don't like to talk about my oddities, so of course I burst into tears the minute she mentioned it. Dead giveaway, here I was trying not to give away any information-ha!!! She had already pegged my every personality trait and idiosyncrasy and had asked if I was ready to look further into my spiritual guides and gifts-oh, is that what you call it?

Let me take you back just a bit. Last year for Christmas my parents got me the book The Secret for Christmas (thanks Mom and Dad) and it literally changed our lives. It was funny, because it was on back order and I happened to get it at a very low time in my life. I had just been fired from a job (shoveling manure for a vet that I was unhappy with anyway) that I hated and was over checking on their place while they travelled when it arrived, right after the new year. Well, that book was the start to my children's book, Naked~Nure and this blog, again, thanks Mom and Dad. I bring up that book because it is a huge part of the "spiritual" journey that I find myself on now, as well.

I say that because after I got off the phone with Sajit I no longer felt the dread, duty and fear that always came along with my "abilities". I now am starting to feel a little more excited and open to them and feeling as if obviously there is a strong reason for them. Any of you that know me, know that I will start any problem with research, and at this point in time, I have done very little. Some very interesting things are coming up, which is why I chose to share with all of you this early in the ball game. I have decided to use this blog as part of a diary and as a connection. Since it is strongly involved in the roots of this experience, I believe it will help it grow, with help from those of you who wish to share.

Back to my minuscule research; when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy I got a book called Epilepsy: A New Approach. Another time when my "abilities" were on the red alert and bothering me, I bought a book called The Gift, Understand and Develop Your Psychic Abilities and then recently after my chat with Sajit I bought a book called Opening to Channels; and as you know my favorite book ever is The Secret. Well, what do all of these books have in common, absolutely nothing, but me, of course! That's not really true, as I got to reading the newest one that Sajit had recommended, it was almost as if I had read it before. I could take a sentence from any one of those books and replace it with one of the others, it is almost uncanny. The subject matters are really quite different in all of them, but take bits and pieces of information and they fit together perfectly and make one Judy Jeute-ha!

Many years ago, when I was seeing doctors often about my seizures, I remember asking them if there was a connection between paranormal activities and epilepsy only to have them mumble some sort of non committal answer. That was ten years ago now, and sad to say when I typed it into Google, it was only other people asking if anyone else had that connection or if they were crazy. I did find one good article here, but would love to find some responses to some of those questions posed on the medical sites that are years old now. I will not bore you with a bunch of technicalities, but my epilepsy related problems are based in the right temporal lobe, which is also the lobe which is said to be related with paranormal activity. I also know that there is a connection because on my bad brain days my "abilities" are much more in tune, and vice versa, when my abilities are strong, it is very draining on my brain.

Okay, so I've said it a few times in this post, but it's very important for those of you that have anything to say, good or bad to say it. We have the Marines, engineers, scientists, moms, gardeners, teachers and everyone in between reading this, so we should have all sorts of spiritual opinions and I am open to anything. If you have read this blog at all, you know that it is important for me to say what I mean without offending anyone, so with that said, from now on I will use the tag Metaphysical when I am posting about this odd little subject! That way if you think this is all a bunch of hoo-ha, you can still enjoy the blog and skip a day or so here and there! Have a miracle of a day!

P.S. I wanted to add that if you'd like to get in touch with Sajit Greene, MA, LPC, just let me know. She is a counselor that went into astrology to get a better understanding of her clients.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Royal Ranch Royalty

Rose, digging for rocks
Rose, waiting for rocks to fall out of the sky.

Rose is Time Out for bringing rocks into the house,
I can't remember what Rusty the Rabbit did,
but I'm sure it was naughty!

Rose, Lily, and Gigi

Tom, Lily and Spike (no longer with us)

Rosie and Lucy

Lily and Harry at nap time

My Babies!!!

Good Morning!! It is time to introduce you all to one of our wondrous creatures here at the Royal Ranch, and today I have chosen to do a Two for One, since that seems to be the theme for the week! Meet Rose and Lily, or better known around the neighborhood as Heimer and Hammer. That is short for Rosenheimer and Lillehammer, the town where the winter Olympics were held in 1994, for some reason the nickname stuck for Lily, so Rosenheimer was not a stretch for her look alike sister, Rose. They are Bullmastiffs, but are much smaller than they should be, so we lovingly call them our midget mastiffs.

We got the sisters for Christmas in 2003. We had lost our beloved Great Dane and were only planning on getting one puppy. It was really quite a crazy way to get a dog, we met the gal on the side of the highway at a Krispy Kreme, nice way to pass the time while waiting though! Anyway, she showed up with a crate full of beautiful female pups and Tom and I each grabbed one that we knew we had to have. So, of course, we left with two. Good thing the kids aren't as bad as we adults are-ha! The girls are some of our only animals that we actually paid for, and this is an important point for me; we did this because we were working with a large breed of dog and had young children. We could not take our chances with having anyone else's training in the background of these dogs' thinking, and as you can see from the pics, we don't have to worry about behavior issues with them too much.

It really is funny how things work out though, Tom had grabbed Lily, who now is more his dog, and I had grabbed Rosie who now follows me around, to the bathroom, to the barn, to the truck, to the office, to the laundry room, to the..., you get the idea. They are quite famous, as they have a peculiar habit that they started as bitty babies, they love rocks. They'll even play with rocks that are almost as big as they are; but they're favorites are about six inches in diameter and when they get into the forest or the beaver ponds, they'll dig up plants to get to the rocks underneath! I think that the UPS man looks forward to winter time when their rocks gather snow and it looks as if they are making snowmen. Only at The Royal Ranch!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Today is a Two For One!

A snapshot from that day!
Hi Again! I just wanted to let you know that I put a video up on YouTube finally! It is of the bikers from last weekends ride in support of our kids that went through that terrible tragedy three years ago now. It was so great, because Tom has always been on the ride, and this time decided to see it from our perspective, and as you can hear in his voice, it is rather touching! Keep an eye up the highway, towards the top of your screen, the bikes go on and on for miles, even this video does not do it justice, it literally takes them hours to get from Columbine High School To Platte Canyon High School, usually a 50 minute drive! This video is worth checking out and passing on! Thanks devoted readers and friends~Judy.