Friday, December 23, 2011

My Christmas Notebook

Yesterday in my journal blog I mentioned my Christmas Notebook and I realized that maybe everybody is not familiar with that concept; so I decided to do a post about it here, for you Rebels.  My Christmas Notebook is an old spiral that I have kept my Christmas notes is since the kids were tiny little creatures.

At the top of the page I simply put what year it is.  I then make a column for each child; blessedly this year I got to add a whole column for our new son Austin.  In previous years that was always a bit tricky as I had to buy him the same thing I bought the other "friends".  Anyway, underneath each column (which takes up less than a third of the page in my family) I have plenty of room left to make a list of nieces and nephews.  Underneath that goes all of the couple gifts to my sisters and parents.  Lastly I have a list of neighbors and friends that I either bake for or have the kids make stuff for.

Originally, I just started the notebook out as a way to keep myself organized while I was shopping.  And also to avoid the embarrassment of giving the same gift 2 years in a row (or more like I did with the wreaths a decade or so ago, I got really into wreath making and gave them away 3 years in a row and totally forgot about it, lol!!!); but I have now found that is a wonderful trip down memory lane each year when I pull it out to prepare for Christmas shopping.

See, I keep all of the kids' Dear Santa letters in there paper clipped to each year that they wrote them as well.  So for instance the other day as I was going through and making my list and checking it twice, we found a couple of those old letters and now that the cat is out of the bag completely at my house; we pulled a few of those Santa letters out and read them as a family (well poor Dad was working, but the rest of us were here and boy did we crack up!).

The first one we read was so sweet from my daughter saying that she wanted a play pony (thank God for the "play" part, eh?) and something nice for her brothers.  And then we open up one from my oldest son, whom of course by this time knew that I was on the receiving end of these and had only sat down to write one to humor my daughter.  It said:  Dear Santa,  don't bring my sister or brother anything, not even coal, as they have been TERRIBLE this year.  Also, I will leave plenty of Lima Beans for your reindeer so they can fart their way across America.

Well, all righty then.  Merry Christmas to me.  I mean we all sat here and laughed until there were tears rolling down our cheeks.  Some were tender and sweet, okay only those from my daughter....  And some were funny as all get out, but they were all ones that I am so happy that I have in one place.

So make 2011 be the year you start your very own Christmas Notebook because it is so well worth it.  You will never have another repeat gift again, you will have wonderful memories to look back on and it doesn't have to be anything special.  Mine is an old spiral that one of the kids didn't use all of the pages in  in school.  Recycled!!!!  Oh, and don't forget the secret column up in the corner for stocking stuffers and Santa gifts!!!  That way even if the kids get ahold of your secret notebook, they will never know who S (for Santa) is....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Crazy Turkeys

I know I have mentioned my Yahoo! groups before, but my very favorite is my Rare Heritage Turkey group.  To be fair, I don't follow that many, but these folks don't have (or at least adhere to) too many rules, and they aren't stuffy and they really seem to have a great sense of humor,er, senses of humors?!?

Anyway, recently one of the gals, who really adds a lot of "color" to the group posted asking for stories about turkeys.  On a different post, I had responded to her, accidentally misspelling her name which has started a name battle ever since.  So, I felt bad that not many people were responding to her pleas for stories and in my oh so smart alecky way I responded to her.

It appears she has forwarded my silly story to a friend and that friend would like to post the story on his site; so I figured I had better share my story with my very own readers first!  So here my letter to my e-friend is in it's entirety:

Okay DoRENE,
I have a story for you. I have a chocolate hen who is a bit, well....schedule oriented (spoiled). The other day my parents were up for dinner and were absolutely fascinated with the turkeys, who of course had surrounded their car upon their arrival with chortles of delight. That was until the turkeys realized that this company was going to interrupt their own dinner.

Mom and Dad had been just full of questions; the typical ones like how much do they eat, etc. But the very last one before we headed in as the turkeys followed us up the stairs and hopped up onto the railing of the second story porch was "turkeys don't fly do they?". They were quite concerned for their safety up that high (this of course is their favorite roosting spot as it looks over the whole valley, the road, the driveway, you get the point).

So we headed inside and started our pizzas and got busy with our visiting. The turkeys did not like the fact at all that we ignored their preening and pruning and gobbling and chirping on the front porch so they trooped down the stairs in a line. And I'm thinking to myself, "finally!!!"; as I figured they were headed back up to their pen to start their dinner without me like they sometimes do.

I'm standing in the middle of the living room telling a big story, flapping my arms about when suddenly there is a VERY LARGE THUD against the picture window (right behind where my Dad is sitting on the couch)!!! And there trying to balance on the 1/2 inch lip of the window is my beautiful chocolate hen calmly looking at me. When she realized there was no room for her she just gracefully swooped down to sit on the snowmobile with her Bourbon Red boyfriend (turkeys know no prejudice) to the utter amazement of my parents. It looked as if the two of them were threatening to ride off into the sunset (literally with the sun setting behind them) if I did not hurry up and feed them! And she had just nicely knocked on the window to make sure I knew that they were going...

Needless to say, they trumped my story so my Dad and I happily got our chore gear on and headed out to lead the pack up the hill for dinner. What the heck had I been thinking to feed company first?


Santa, do you hear me, now even OTHER websites are requesting photos of my amazing animals???

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I wish I may, I wish I might....

Whenever Tom or I see a shooting star we think of one of our lost family members; his Mom or Dad and my Grandma.  His Mom with the contagious, oh so loud laugh and his Dad with the quiet smile and German accent and strict ways.  And my beloved Grandma that was such a part of my heart it is hard to put into words...

But we never fail to make a wish upon those shooting stars as well; knowing all the while that it may be a childhood fantasy, but we do it all the same.  So when I heard this song it reminded me how truly blessed we are to live in a place where seeing shooting stars are a common occurrence; but that I still wouldn't mind the opportunity for a few more wishes...  And that we are in a time right now, where everyone needs a wish or two.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Royal Ranch Royalty

Not knowing exactly how much longer I will be representing The Royal Ranch has made me a bit melancholy, I guess you would say.  There is a good chance that this could be my last post in this series as the official owner of The Royal Ranch; therefore I really wanted to make it one that counts and one that really gets the point across of what I am trying to do with my livestock and my homesteads, yes I say that in the plural.

As I have NOT made a secret of, we are adding to our homesteads with The Double J; and of course I will continue with my heritage breeds.  I hope to even expand my heritage poultry business, raise pork for my family and anyone else who is interested and of course by now you Rebels know I am adding Yak to the mix.  But what I have been secretive about is what we are going to do with The Royal Ranch, and for another week or so, that is still going to be kept close to home (until I have cleared everything with all parties of course).

For now our plans are to continue to live in it, probably as caretakers, while we build our new dream home on the Double J.  I am spending my days learning everything I can...for now unofficially, but that may change.  I may go back to school officially if I think a GC (General Contractor) and Mother, and Rancher, and Volunteer and other hat wearer can also be student....  But right now I am a student on a quest for knowledge of all things heritage breed.

Meaning any breed of livestock that this country (and many others for that matter) was founded on to put it quite simply.  I am taking my homesteads back to their roots.  With their animals and with their supplies and with their needs.  I have told you I am going off-grid, and I'm not kidding, so I'm learning a lot about that too.  So I go to bed at night with my head swimming with ultra-capacitors and old-fashioned pigs; all wrapped up in one image.  How in the world am I going to make all of this work????

Well, I am going to make it work with websites like American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and Earthineer.  Those are today's Royal Ranch Royalty's; I bet you were wondering how I was going to get around to that weren't you?  Well, Rebels, it is very important for me to get my facts straight, and in one or two convenient, intelligent stops.  And I have found that in these two sites.  I can look up information about animals and capacitors and make new friends all at the same time.  So if you are living a sort of mixed up crazy weird life like me right now...check 'em out; more than useful!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Turkey Day, a bit early

My Beautiful BBB Turkeys;
now THIS is how a turkey is supposed to look!
(If I do say so myself, lol!)

Amongst the recalls and rumors, here it is almost Thanksgiving and I don't have too much nice to say about the turkey industry, I'm very sorry.  I know that the poultry industry really started out with good concepts, but it truly has gotten out of hand.  Antibiotics were once used to treat infection; not prevent it.  Hormones are a dangerous thing no matter how you look at it.  If they are medically called for as is sometimes the case in the aid of recovery for human beings and they should be scrutinized very carefully.  But who in their right mind wants to eat that stuff???  Not me.

The more I read, the more it convinces me that I am doing the right thing by raising our own food (or even hunting) , trying to buy local whenever I can and to really notice where my food comes from if I do have to buy it from the grocery store.  There are a lot of ways to go local folks; even at 9,000 feet in elevation.  You don't necessarily have to grow the stuff yourself.

You can buy direct from the farmers, at a drastically reduced price.  You can go online and buy from someone like Door to Door Organics; which obviously brings the stuff right to your door.  Or there are a couple of great websites dedicated to the eating local movement.  Eat Local Challenge is "a group weblog focusing on the importance of locally and sustainably grown food".  But the best one to get the whole family involved in is Eat Local.  It has a great animated feel to it that the kids will love and a down to earth way of explaining why it is so important to buy locally.

So come on Rebels and GSO readers, let's send those government cronies a message and tell them we chose to eat locally and sustainably.  Let them hear your message through your purchases, tell your friends to do the same, that is where we hit them the the wallet; quiet and peacefully.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clearing out the house!

Good morning Rebels!  It feels like a Monday to me and you all are already half way through your week.  I have had sick family members home all week and have not been all that well myself, so today I will spend the day clearing out the house just as the title says... WHEW!!!

It actually started last Thursday with my epidural.  To be honest I really wasn't expecting anything out of the ordinary; I have had this done once before and it wasn't extraordinarily painful when I got the injection, but it was pretty wicked that first week.  So I tried to plan accordingly and you know, have myself somewhat prepared to be down for a bit.  What I was not prepared for was the horrific pain of the epidural itself. 

I am telling myself, and truly believing that the reason that this one was so much more painful than the first is because we had a bit more information this time and were really able to "zone in on" the exact targeted areas.  So I am going to be up and running in no time flat!  But what I will say is that this injection, for just a few seconds was worse than any labor pain or any other type of pain I could imagine, so if you are to have this type of thing, be prepared for that and maybe give yourself more than the 15 minutes of rest that they offer you.  When I got in the truck I did sit for a few more minutes just to catch my breath for the long drive up the mountain.

So I rested over the weekend like I was told to do and then all hell broke loose with that darn wind storm I told you about...not only did it blow down all the old trees but it blew in some nasty bug, let me tell you.  Tom, myself and my daughter all got hit with some sort of a flu bug and each of us got hit where we were the weakest.  Tom in the stomach, Bella in the chest and stomach and me in the tummy; and I say it that way because luckily mine was a lot less intense because I was still dealing with recovering-GEEZ!!!!

On Monday we took our daughter to the doctor.  And when I say we, that is something major because I can't even tell you the last time my husband took time off of work!  But, anyway, the three of us, sick as dogs, load up in the truck and head for our friendly Evergreen Kaiser.  Where they proceed to assuage my panic attack that my girl is not having asthma she is simply suffering from "flu like symptoms".  I will not share with you all the words we had to say about that diagnosis.  Awesome, is the nicest, and the most sarcastic.

Yesterday afternoon we (again, note the importance that The Big Bad Biker is still home, WHOA this is one nasty illness) started feeling a bit better and Tom filled the water troughs while I finally got some housework done around the pig sty, er I mean the house.  Yes, just enough that today hopefully I can get a little down and dirty with some citrus and de-germ this place so that the last healthy Jeute that lives here doesn't end up with "flu like symptoms".  Wonderful.

Oh, and by the way, I am no longer cross posting between here and The Double J Ranch (I reserve the right to do so if something is interesting to both blogs, or something I want to keep in my "journal" lol).  As I mentioned in my first post over thar' at the new blog, I really want that to just be a Journal for me and my family.  So, if you Rebels want to keep up on both you have to "Follow" both.  There are multiple ways to sign up on both blogs; you can sign up for me to just pop-in to your e-mail box each time I post (upper left corner of each blog) or you can click on any of the follow buttons too.  Either way your privacy is always protected with me, of course!

Have a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Great Windstorm of 11-13-11...

We went to bed the night before last to the power flickering and the wind howling.  But as I lay there in bed listening to my basement bedroom window being sandblasted by wind from a direction that the winds never blow from; I knew we were in for some damage.  I just wasn't aware of how much.

Between here (The Royal Ranch) and The Roost, our "nest in the woods" as we like to call it; are some very thick, very old forests, and even regular wind storms can wreak havoc on power lines, etc.  We learned our lesson early on upon buying the ranch and the Roost; if the power goes out, chances are there is a tree down on the lines somewhere on Camp Creek road and we can find it and let IREA (our power coop) know where the problem is a bit faster to get it fixed a bit faster.

So when we awoke in the night without power it was not a big surprise, nor was it a big surprise to still not have power in the morning.  The surprises started coming when we saw the AMOUNT of damage.  Between here and our cabin, which means our soon to be home, The Double J, there were at least 20 downed trees!  Many of them in the roadway to Camp Creek, along the power line, some on neighbors properties; like a roof and a classic Blazer.

The guys had a great day on Sunday "working" to clear trees and drink beer together.  Our wonderful neighbors Dan and Steve pitched in of course and they all three went up to Sean and Rocky's (yes that is a girl's name and she is soooo cool!) because they are the one's that had the tree on the roof and that dang cool Blazer (Dad, it is the yellow of the Jeep that I tried to talk you into giving me-ha!); of course the tree went right down the middle of the hood and roof of the beautifully lifted classic!

We must say, that we are very proud of our power coop, IREA.  Although they are not to hip on alternative power or rebates of any kind like that; when it comes to an emergency or downed lines those guys are all over it!  They had Camp Creek back up and cleaned up in just a few hours; and we are talking some big trees with some major power outages.  And each time we passed them they were always pleasant and had a smile on their faces.  We even got a robo-call saying they were sorry for any inconvenience; last time I checked IREA had no control over the wind, but it sure was kind of them to call.

I was curious about all of the trees that were damaged.  They ranged in size from about 6 inches in diameter to well over a foot.  The large ones of course were old/rotten on the inside and will make great firewood and if they aren't on private property we will make good use of them.  Many of the smaller ones Tom noted had either been damaged many years ago by lightning or something else, possibly beetles, but he didn't see many signs of those, thankfully. 

One of the most amazing things about this storm is that these trees didn't just break off and fall to the ground like they normally do.  Many of them we found multiple feet away.  The wind had broken them off and then carried them 10-15 feet in some cases, simply unreal!!!  We have walked through a lot of forests around here and not seen evidence of that kind of storm, I think this really was a once in a lifetime least I am hoping it was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meet (or is it meat?) The Meatrix....

Go ahead, I dare you to check out this funny video about modern day meat blood or gore and it really gets the point across!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Double J!

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the newest member of the family...The Double J Ranch!  You can find us at dbljdotorg (soon) and (NOW!).

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thanks Bubby!

You know your children are becoming adults when they send you things like this!!!  My son at college who always complained about my "greenness" now must remember it with a sense of fondness, I am thinking....

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Judy's Garage Sale Cookies

This is what the turkey's did while we worked at the Yard Sale; caused trouble!
(this is my chocolate hen, isn't she pretty?)
Picture courtesy of Teri, again.

Good morning!!!  Hope your week is going well; mine is just flying by!  Here it is already Thursday and I am just posting the recipe for my brilliant new cookie recipe, that I discovered last weekend.  Doesn't my modesty just blow you away sometimes?  No, really, this is a good one.  Tried and tested by the entire neighborhood; and truly loved by all.

As you all know we had our Garage/Yard sale last weekend to recycle some household goods, but even better to get some new shoes for my baby...Yes, tires for my truck!  We are leaving for Texas possibly this evening, but for sure tomorrow morning to deliver llamas and we were running on slicks.  Nothing like cutting it close, the Jeute way, of course, but I got my new shoes yesterday and we got a heck of a deal on used tires for $100.  So look around people when you shop for tires, because retail is NOT the way to go for tires, Baby.  Try a savings of over $500 and not much tread is missing from these tires, again we got really lucky with this deal, but we really shopped around!

As a matter of fact, while I waited for my tires, I snacked on the last of the delicious cookies.  Since they have oatmeal in them, I figured they were good enough for a snack food (as good as any of those snack crap items that put in wrappers these days) and packed 'em up to go!  Oh, and thanks Mom and Dad for the dried cherries, I raided them from your pantry when I got your mail the other day....couldn't resist...they were just too tempting.  But for most readers you can just get them at Costco or dehydrate them yourself; also you could substitute any dried fruit I would imagine, but the tangy taste of the cherry really added a nice flavor!

And by the way, we didn't make ANY money at all at the bake sale because some of our first customers were the local deputies, and were we really supposed to charge the badges for their cookies and lemonade?  And then of course we had to give a taste to our neighbors who just popped by to say hello and take some pictures....!!!

Judy's Garage Sale Cookies:

1 cup soft margarine
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar (I would imagine regular would work just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups old fashioned oatmeal
1 generous cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 350*.  Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy and then add eggs and vanilla and mix well.  Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl, adding oats last; then mix cherries into this dry mixture and coat them well.  Combine wet and dry mix, don't over-beat.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden, not golden brown or they will dry out too much in my opinion.  Cool on cookie sheet for a minute or so and then move to wire rack.  Makes about 4 dozen.  You can also make this into a bar cookie in a 13x9 (also ungreased) I would think and bake it for 30-35 minutes.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Please excuse this interruption to your regulary scheduled post:

 Meridian Trail

Good Morning Rebels!!!  I'm oh so busy getting ready for a garage sale; yes you read that correctly folks a garage sale in October!  We still have beautiful leaves, warm weather expected for the weekend and I have a ton of things that need to get cleaned out of this ranch house.  Garage sales are a great way of recycling and I am saving up for my tires so it is fun to have a goal in mind.  I also have a neighbor who would like to share the work; even better-a multi-family garage sale.

So, if you are a local, and you are going to be around this weekend...pop on by.  We are going to have all sorts of fun with my neighbors crafty stuff, the llamas and turkeys of course, baked goods at my daughter's lemonade stand, the garage sale....and as they say on the facebook page...The Royal Ranch driveway is the funnest driveway around!!!! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Join us Rebels, Tell the FDA to regulate GMO foods!

Good Morning Rebels!  Happy hump day; hope you are having a wonderful week; but even more importantly I hope you will join me in signing this all important petition.  It is high time we know exactly what we are eating; and that people who are not yet even aware of how deeply GMO foods are embedded into our everyday diets, become aware and knowledgeable about what they are putting into the mouths of their beloved families!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Life's funny little bumpy roads.....

":) Being a leader, especially a leader of conscience, isn't always easy."

Yes, read that Rebels and let that sink in for just a minute.  I had to.  Dear friend and Rebel, Daisy sent that to me when I thanked her for her support about my letter to Ms. McGee a few days ago.  And it was funny because I got it on a day I had also taken on another llama big wig, the day I had to have another MRI on my back.

The day had been a hellish day anyway. I must say that sometimes it is easier to just count on yourself than to have partial support.  Tom had told me he'd take me to the appointment, which is great, but then he had to go back to work....and it was almost worse than if I'd just counted on my own strength the whole time, you know what I mean????  I had had to go and pick up my daughter sick from school and that threw a wrench into the morning....

But the big tests these days seem to be coming from my so called peers.  And what I have realized is that they don't know I am their peer; and that is where things went all wrong.  I'll give you a bit of background on the story, although it really isn't all that important to my point, but over a decade ago when I first got into llamas I mistakenly bought 2 llamas.  At that time I didn't know that there were rescue llamas that needed homes.  Llamas were on the downhill slide of the fad I guess....

One of those purchased llamas is the only one that has ever given us much trouble.  He is the only llama that I have ever had to spend vet dollars on other than maintenance because I have tried to figure out what the hell is wrong with him.  He has knocked each of my family members down, he has bitten me and all of these things are absolutely NOT normal llama behavior.

In the decade since owning this llama I have learned A LOT!!!  I have also rescued more than twenty llamas; many of them I (little old me at 120 lbs soaking wet as my husband would say) have trained to pack from being not even halter broke.  I have no formal training in llama handling besides what my wonderful mentor Bobra Goldsmith taught me before she died; which was a lot.

She taught me to simply expect good behavior from my animals; and that is a theory The Royal Ranch has always had.  When I train a llama to pack it is simply an agreement between the llama and myself....I'm going to trust you and you're going to trust me.  By the time I put the pack on them I have been building a working, trusting, loving relationship with the animal for as long as I can.  I don't stand for bad behavior and I never will; that is just the way it is.

Speaking of hunting camps..

  Take for instance our first hunt camp ever.  We had been getting advice from everyone that animals are afraid of the smell of blood and that our llamas were going to freak out unless they had been trained to be around meat, etc.  We had even been told to stuff their nostril with some sort of Mentholatum so that they wouldn't smell anything; to me this sounded like abuse. 

So Tom and I headed up the mountain with our very untrained pack train of llamas to pick up a huge bull elk for a friend.  We figured since it was a good friend of ours at least if the llamas freaked, no biggy.  We got to the camp and we did what we usually do; we packed up that elk and we put it on the llamas....that was that.  They were a bit jumpy at first but when they saw that we just expected them to behave like any old job, and we weren't going to take any crap from them, it was the end of their nervousness.  They knew they could trust us.  One of them even had to wear the antlers and the cape (which is the hyde) of the elk down the mountain!  It was sort of weird to look forward (I of course am always in the caboose position with Tom in lead) and see a llama with antlers-ha!!!

But back to my point, I am no llama schmutz.  I know what the hell I am doing when it comes to these animals.  I am the Co-Colorado Coordinator (it's an awful big state) for the Southwest Llama Rescue, and not by mistake, I was voted in.  If there is an aggressive male within a four state radius of me, chances are he is going to end up at my place for evaluation and rehab if he is capable.

So it really surprised me when I called the breeder of that fat, lazy llama and had to get into a battle of wits with him over the behavior of said llama and what to do about it.  Now that my spine is not quite what is used to be, I'm not really sure I'm comfortable, or really need a spoiled, over de-sensitized llama in my yard when I have spent the last decade of my life to saving llamas that really need homes.  As I mentioned this man, like Ms. McGee is in the llama know, people that give a crap what other llama owners think of them.

He acted as if I was still some newbie, the same nobody that had walked into his yard 12 years ago looking at llamas for the first time and offered to come assess the llama for me.  Well, no thanks.  I've been assessing him and paying for him and having to watch out for my family's and visitor's safety from him for ten years now.  I gave him a very clear assessment of the situation, and simply asked if they were in a position to take him back now that my back is in such bad shape and he poses a real danger to me with his pushy behavior.

Well, needless to say, the llama will be staying where he is at.  The llama breeder got told exactly what I thought of his assessment.  And I kept thinking "Really?  Two people in one week?  My name is going to be $*@! in the llama world"  But I don't give a rat's patooty because that guy had it coming. (Well, I sort of did, I actually threw a baby fit when I got off the phone with him he had made me so mad, but it was just a natural reaction-ha!!!!)

And then I got that sweet quote from Daisy worth repeating again, "Being a leader, especially a leader of conscience, isn't always easy."; and it made me smile.  Thursday, I got a call from a gal on my rescue group who asked if I had a few minutes; I gotta tell you after the week I'd had with llama folks I thought I was really in for it now.  Actually she was calling to answer a question I had posted about; but more importantly she was calling to ask me if she could gift me a sweater that she had cherished for years because it had llamas on it.

She wanted me to have it because I have added such "vitality and personality" to the group.  All I thought I did was respond to the emails and try to help out a few llamas when I could-who knew?  It truly was a wonderful phone conversation; one of those where you really just enjoy getting to know the person at the other end of the line.  This amazing lady owned llamas from 1978 to 2008, and here I thought I was all that-ha!  But the point was, I know it sounds silly, but I felt like the chosen one, you know?

Then last night I answer the phone to the cutest little southern voice you can imagine and she is just thanking me up and down.  And it took me a second to figure out what the heck I had done.  Oh yeah, email again, I had sent a positive, reinforcing email to a newbie llama owner.  Amazing how far positive reinforcement goes, eh?  Whether it is with ourselves, our kids, our dogs, our llamas, whatever; I think in this post alone I have given you several examples!

These new folks have been SO kind to adopt some llamas from Nebraska; the issue is that they live in Texas.  Which as you all know is having a drought and heat problem.  The Colorado folks took in the Nebraska llamas temporarily until we could get them down south.  Well, somehow these folks got to thinking that our talking about expenses to get those llamas down there meant they were a burden (we should have switched to a more private Yahoo board in hind sight to avoid hurt feelings maybe!) and I tried to clear that up, right quick.  Anyone sticking their neck out to rescue one (and they are taking in 11!) of my wondrous creatures is no burden to me, that is for DAMN sure!

So my week had turned from on the attack to on the receiving end of so many blessings. I do believe strongly in everything I told those people I had to tell off, but I also truly believe even stronger what I told those people in loving manners.  Originally when I first started this post a day or so ago, it was called "Being kicked while you're down...", and then these crazy events just kept happening and I could no longer call it that, could I?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

5 years ago today...

Has it really been 5 years?  In some ways it seems like a lifetime and sometimes it seems like yesterday that our little community was changed forever by a crazed gunman.  You can read a parent's perspective here and a teacher's perspective here; either way it is a story that has affected this picturesque town in ways we never dreamed of...good and bad.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dear Ms. McGee,

You called here screaming at me last night due to an email I sent you.  You were wondering (again and again) "just who the hell I am" to write you such an email, and how dare I suggest you give away your livelihood.  Well, my dear, My name is Judy Jeute.  And it is called a tax donation.

See, readers, I had emailed Ms. McGee that she should be ashamed of herself for attempting to make money on those of us who have stuck our necks out to save the hundreds of  starving llamas from the Montana Sanctuary in the middle of winter.  She is offering half price llama handling clinics to those kind folks who rescued llamas; and I told her "Half price?  Gah!!!"

When I picked up the phone she almost immediately was on the attack and so I got the uncomfortable chuckle like humans tend to get, and that really pissed her off!!!  But what I really realized is that what she was the maddest about is that how dare some unknown llama nobody suggest that Queen McGee get off her ass and actually do something to help not only the almost thousand llamas that came off that sanctuary but almost hundreds of HUMANS that helped them!

So, no Ms. McGee, I will not apologize for my "Nasty-gram", which really wasn't all that nasty, if it gets you to thinking about folks other than yourself.  The IRS will thank you kindly.  And I would imagine it would do wonders for your business as well, those friends would tell their friends, etc.  Much better press than this!

Kind regards, er, not so kind regards,
Judy Jeute
Royal Ranch

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Recycled Garden/Small Victories


Well, this might  be one of the most confusing posts I have ever written-ha!!!  It is sort of a two part series I guess, but I didn't do it intentionally, you see.  What happened is in early July I started a garden, a completely recylced garden; and one that I am darn proud of.  But I don't have a camera right I kept putting off this post.  And for another, bigger reason; my garden is not NEAR the producer that I had hoped that it would be.  But anyway, read on; these next few paragraphs have been sitting in my drafts folder since July 5th (I do believe):

The story of the Recycled Garden really began almost twenty years ago when Tom and I broke our backs soon after being married in a rather large garden in a very muddy rental that the slugs ate every bit of.  I think we literally got three leaves of lettuce, but after seeing how many slugs had been on the damn things we weren't touching it!

Fast forward about 17 or 18 years and we try again on a much smaller scale and life and health and everything else gets in the way and not much came of the last garden we tried.  But this year is going to be different, dangit!!!  I have really thought and planned and planned and thought....

So, really it started out with a nice patch of land that we had tilled up.  Then Tom and the neighbor got a little crazy cleaning the llama pens with the tractor one day and dumped literally three feet of composting material on top of my prepared garden.  Now, that may sound nice, but this is stuff that may take a few years to break down properly...and again it is three feet deep!

But then my sister donated me these two lovely rhubarb plants that love composted material!  Well, let's get to work on that pile of sh**!  I spent the day Saturday raking it and leveling it all back out and it really turned out very nice.  But the best part is the stuff I used to make my little "raised" bed; old bricks and concrete core samples (these are perfectly round concrete, I have always liked them and waited and waited for a use for them; they are heavy as all get out!).  The bricks are kind of cool because many of them are not just plain bricks; one has a criss cross pattern in it, etc.  Very artistic.

I broke the main garden down into quadrants.  I had planted a rhubarb "crown" (we broke the original plants down into five plants) in each corner to prevent deer from coming into the garden.  Carrots, corn, lettuce and spinach each got planted into one quadrant yesterday.  Yes, it is a bit late to start some of these things, but on my organic, non-GMO seed packets it said to wait until soil temps are at 60*, which would be about now for my altitude; so between travel plans and that fact I figure I am not too far off.

At the head of my cute little garden I placed "The Gate to Nowhere" as my daughter calls it.  It's just a cool old heavy metal gate with neat decorative metal that I can let my beans grow up.  On either side of that is the head and foot board of an old baby crib that I got from a local church when I worked the food pantry;I'll have a second type of bean on those, Royal's of course.  It's funny, they just don't make stuff as cool or as decorative as they  used to it seems.

And then today I was walking around my little homestead; putting the llamas on various stake lines to finish mowing the fall foliage with the turkeys, dogs and cats all close on my heels when I realized we had a very successful harvest for our first year at 9,000 feet in elevation.  I made a salad one night from my very own lettuce and it was delicious.  My daughter comes home everyday from school and pulls a 4inch carrot out of the ground and then takes one to share with her favorite llama, Pepper.  We have two neighbors who are so happy about their turkeys they are already looking forward to next years adventures in turkeydom!

So, with or without pictures, this was a harvest that was worth sharing and a victory for The Royal Ranch and it's Rebel friends.  We didn't get much, but we did get some, and we got enough to share... And we will also use our knowledge and move on.  Oh, and MOST importantly, I proved my son wrong who said I wouldn't be able to grow ANTYHING!!!  HA!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Llamas and sheep and turkeys, oh my!!!

Photo courtesy of Kevin, our renter.

It seems that my last few posts have continually been of me sort of apologizing for not being here for one reason or another...I realize that is because my life has really been in an upheaval of sorts lately.  My sons moved on to college, my youngest started middle school, and I found out that my back "issue" is a permanent disability all at once; which led me to start making huge changes here at the ranch.

Well, this last week has really been a whopper if I do say so myself.  It started last Saturday when we place three llamas; and I must say that those boys really moved up in the world!  They now reside on 160 acres in a spectacular valley about an hour drive away; so I will be able to visit them often.  The transfer of the boys went flawlessly thanks to my fellow llama wrangler and partner in life and all things crazy, my hubby.

The very next day we headed off to the sister in law's house; as she works at a livestock auction.  I was going to take Paco, my ram, whom I was so positive would go as a fantastic breeding animal.  We loaded him and Esther, my ewe up (just for company for Paco) and headed out for eastern Colorado.  Monday was the big livestock auction, and when I say big, you must take that with a grain of salt because this really is a small town auction, but that is what I wanted for Paco and us since this was our first experience ever.

When we backed the trailer in there was commotion about our beautiful sheep and so I put Esther in the auction too; with a minimum.  They both sold at a premium price for what sheep are going for these days; I got what I purchased them for two years ago!  So, anyway, Annie (SIL), didn't have any help that day, so Tom and I pitched in and helped "load out".  Meaning that we got to load out all of the animals that were purchased at auction that day.  Some of them just a day old.  It was quite a learning experience for Tom, Isabella, Nathan and myself; but it was really cool because I was able to tell some of the new owners "hey, this one has a cough" or "this goat needs to be milked right away" or whatever.  I am hoping that maybe some of the new owners got instructions that they might not have gotten otherwise.

Esther had been one of the first to go.  I was sad to see her go, and I am pretty sure that she went to a great home.  And I say pretty sure because as the day wore on and I got more tired I saw some pretty crazy stuff.  Like a guy stuffing 16 goats and a giant pig in a trailer on top of a load of lumber that he had purchased; but we got them in!!!  All day I waited and wondered when Paco's new owner would come....and then a semi pulled up to the loading dock and my stomach sank.  That's right Rebels; my beautiful ram was headed to PA to a packing plant.

And that is also why they don't let crazy chicks like me carry guns; because when I went to say goodbye to him I literally thought that if I had had a gun I might just shoot him dead right there to avoid him having to travel half way across the country to get the old hammer head.  But I am a big girl, and I had made a big girl decision and I had to abide by it...  Think what you want of me but that is truly the way I felt.

Tom didn't think I looked to good after that little shock and working so hard all day so he took us all to Carl's Jr. after the auction; and that is when he calmly reminded me that he needed to take Tia with him the next day; she was to have knee surgery.  A dear friend was paying for her surgery and was going to care for her during her rehab so we were supposed to lose her for at least a couple of months; while she recuperated (I didn't think I was capable with my back).  I lost it!  I started choking on my all time favorite guacamole burger and was literally making a scene.  I had forgotten that the days were so close together and just didn't want to talk about one more loss at the time.

So Tuesday dawns and I have to say goodbye to Tia.  I get through that and take my son to the orthodontist and finally get his braces on.  Now this is a really big deal.  This kid has been waiting 18 years for these braces; he has a cleft pallet that has never been properly fixed and the clock was really ticking on this thing; if we didn't start now, there was no fixing it at all.  Big emotions there (this is my adopted son).  And then he's gone...back to college.  Another goodbye.

I'm not ashamed to say, Tuesday when I was driving home, I have never been so tired in my life.  I had said goodbye to my kids multiple times by now.  My back was killing me from working the auction the day before, I couldn't get the fact that my spectacular ram was on that semi headed east towards a hammer that I don't even believe in and now I was contributing too out of my head.... And my beloved Tia was gone for months!  At least, maybe more.  I got the kids off the bus and went to bed.

Well, it's amazing what a nap will accomplish; because when I woke up there was a message.  There had been a mix-up and Tia had to come home for a night....which led us to find out she really didn't need any lifting....she could still walk on three legs just like she did before the surgery!  And  do you know the most amazing thing Rebels????  My dear friend (actually Tia's breeder) still paid for her surgery!  And sent us all sorts of meds for the dear patient, like stuff for her arthritis which she is sure to get, and pain meds that oh thank the Lord that she has had because this has been one very painful surgery for the girl.

Tia and I have had a very busy week, what with all the pain and biting at her knee; we didn't even realize it was getting so close to Saturday....Turkey Day!  You know, I wasn't sure how to feel about Turkey Day, I was dreading it and looking forward to it all at once.  You Rebels know how much I loved those turkeys.  They were my pride and joy; they followed me all over the ranch, even to get the mail and when I laughed they gobbled.  But due to human intervention, if we had not harvested these turkeys, they would have gone down on their legs (their breasts are too large, the legs can't support them), or they would have died of a heart attack.

Photo courtesy of Teri, our friend/neighbor/customer!

Of course I had done a ton of research and was all ready for the big turkey harvesting and we turned it into a big party.  Check out some of the pictures on the facebook page if you want, still don't have a camera, thinking about putting on a donation button for that!  The pics were taken by a friend/neighbor/customer.  We were blessed that morning by our first visit by a big bull moose so I knew things were going to go well that day.  (I may do a post on turkey harvesting for my own records and for those that are agriculture readers, so  those that aren't beware!)

I can't believe all the changes we have made around here.  Three llamas, two sheep, two turkeys...  And we are not done yet.  But I think that is enough for right now.  My heart and head are still reeling from the loss of all the critters and kids.  And I would like to say another thing, I always say that things happen for a reason and I firmly believe that.  Like one of my turkeys getting killed by a neighbors dog and us not having one of that type to harvest for our family this year; well maybe our family is meant to have a heritage turkey (meaning not human intervened) for our first bird; who knows?  And we were invited over for the turkey dinner at our friend's house...there sure is plenty to go around!  Things always turn out the way they are supposed wait to hear what I have up my sleeve!  Please, stay tuned in!!!  I have a music clue cued up for tomorrow as to what The Royal Ranch may be up to next....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Home of the FREE becasuse of the BRAVE....

 Photo courtesy of

A day to reflect, remember and appreciate all that we have, the freedoms we take for granted and those we hold dear.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My boys are home!!!


(One of my favorite pictures ever!)
And almost that time of year again!

Here I said I was going to be back to posting more regularly and I have let my beloved blog go again; I just can't seem to get back into the swing of things somehow.  I know I will get there Rebels, have faith...But this morning I woke up with my heart bursting with happiness as my house is literally jam-packed with kids!!! (I've even got 'em sleeping in the back of my truck, yeehaw!!!)

I can't even begin to tell you how proud I am of my sons.  Thomas has been working at his job for over a week now and Austin will be starting his job as soon as his new boss gets her health in order.  They are both doing very well in their new classes....meaning that they haven't missed any with all of the partying they are doing!  Which to be totally honest with you is all I can ask at this point in time.

A couple of times when we have spoken, each of them have been doing some type of homework so that makes me feel good too.  But, I must say that most of the time that we talk they are doing some kind of enjoyable thing  and meeting all sorts of new people.  Like the roommate of one of the other boys from our little town of Bailey that is all the way from Hamburg Germany!  They tell me they're having a hard time remembering names-ha!

The changes at the ranch are still making slow but sure progression...I think that is my mental hold up here on the blog...and in my routine.  I am just not sure about this new life of mine-ha!  I am working very hard on PT for my back; but more importantly I am working on staying positive and keeping the vibes of the ranch good!  Tell me what all are you up to?  How do you stay positive during big changes in your life???

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Welcome back to the school year Rebels!

I can't even remember what song I was searching for when this old memory popped up in the sidebar, but I thought it sure was significant timing with the beginning of the school year!  So as I always say when I post a song; crank up your computer speakers and push back your chair and do a little honky tonk dancin' with Lorrie Morgan on this classic:

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Royal Ranch Royalty: Shades of Change


Well it is time to sit down in front of my computer and try to heal my broken heart with words.  See, I have been telling you Rebels about changes here at The Royal Ranch and they have all really started to hit me these last few weeks; thus my absence from this blog.  

We lost our beloved cat Shade a few weeks back and I knew it would be very symbolic of the times ahead.  Shade was our nurse and one of my best friends here at the ranch.  If any one was not feeling well, Shade was the first to let me know by laying by that animal or person and meowing insistently!  It was uncanny his ability to know that a spirit was not well before they actually showed symptoms outwardly.  I guess it was from his time living at the vet clinic for so many years; Shade had been a blood donor cat before he came to live at the Royal Ranch.

Which is how he became a character in my childrens book, Llucky Llama.  His name in the book is no other than Cuddly Cat of course.  Cuddly Cat is buried right next to Dedicated Dog; my first Great Pyrenees that was one of the greatest dogs I have ever owned in my entire life.  As a matter of fact, that spot has not been used since Marilyn (Dedicated Dog) passed.  Tom tried to bury another dog there one time and about got his head bit off by me-ha!  Sometimes there are just animals that are extraordinarily special in our lives and Shade and Marilyn were those type of animals.

As I said, I knew the winds of change were blowing; I just didn't know how hard.  That week I had gotten the news about my back.  I had gone back in because my back just isn't making progress.  It will be a year in October since my surgery and I have tried everything except chiropractic care.  And I do mean everything.  Walking, Pilates, stretching, yoga, acupuncture, etc., although it is all very good stuff it does not completely take away my pain.  I saw multiple docs in one week, one of them a specialist on the field who then sent me to another ultra-specialist who all agree; this is a lifelong issue.

The good news is is that the last specialist I saw did give me a shot in the spine that sent me into a horrific tizzy for about a week; and boy was it a painful tizzy, but I am better now.  So Rebels, please keep your fingers crossed that I can get these shots every three months for a little bit of pain relief!!!!  The timing was perfect because my back was feeling better just in time for me to deal with my next big change....

Which is losing my sons.  And to be perfectly honest, I suck at letting go.  I know that they are going to college and that they are doing the best thing for them, and that this is what is supposed to happen, but it still really hurts my heart.  I miss them sooo much it physically hurts sometimes.  And I know I'm not the only one out there; maybe I am the only willing to admit it, I don't know.

We took them to Gunnison, Co; the home of Western State College on Friday.  They will share a dorm room and will start classes on Monday.  Thomas already got a job and Austin has an interview today; so their lives are just going wonderfully!  My heart bursts with pride each and every time I get a text or a call or an email from one of them.  I really can't believe that my 2 sons are at college; to be honest I wasn't sure it could really happen.

These are two boys that come from homes that are not made of money.  As a matter of fact they are the first of both their families to ever have gone to college.  Thankfully, due to Austins legal circumstances (our adopting him) his schooling is entirely paid for with grants and loans (mostly grants-yeah!); but it really came down to the wire with our Bubby.  We have been selling things (anyone need a plow truck? ha!) and creative budgeting like no one's business.  I even swapped for some of his text books (review of book swapping sites to come in the following days, there are definite differences!).

Speaking of Austin's other home, that has been a constant source of stress this week also.  Since we have been a part of his life I have been very careful to include his other family and try to make one big happy family so that the boy does not feel as if he has to choose between the two.  I know that he loves his dad and his sisters and needs to keep contact with them; it is very important.  But this last week has just about killed me.  His Dad has let him down one too many times in my book.  As have the step mom and the sisters and the rest of them....I just couldn't take the hurt expression on my sons face any longer.  On the way up to Gunnison, I kept asking Tom what I could do to make up for the terrible week he had had, and all he kept saying is "Hon, you've got to let it go, you are already doing the best you can.  Just be who you are.  He knows how much WE love him."

I was telling my sister that I was so upset that Thursday, the last day I had with the boys had been such a stressful day because we had been running to Austins last dental appointments and needed to get their toiletries, etc.  And that at first I was wishing we had spent it differently, but when I looked back on it, I had been able to sneak in the fact that I had asked the dentist about cleft pallets and they are not related to fetal alcohol or drug abuse; a fact which Austin had grown up thinking and blaming his Mother for.  And when his Dad told him he wasn't coming home to say goodbye to his own son before he left for college; well I was there to buffer the blow and explain to Austin that it was because he just couldn't handle saying goodbye.

So, sometimes even a harried, stressful day can turn into one that is very meaningful to those we love.  That night when we got home, hours later than we had planned, our neighbors were waiting for us.  They were here gathered to say goodbye to our beloved boys.  They are the ones who truly love and respect these kids.  It's not always blood that makes a family.  We had my daughter's best friend and her Mom and sister.  The boys' best friend who is one year younger (poor kid getting left behind) and his family, who have truly become our dearest friends; and our beloved neighbors Dan and Judy over.  It was so perfect.

In the midst of all of this; I have been eluding to changes here at The Royal Ranch.  They have been a long time in the making I suppose, but it sort of came as a shock to me.  The biggest being that I have realized that I am probably not going to be doing pack jobs anymore.  There are times when my back is bad that I can't even make it up the stairs so it is a bit concerning to make a reservation for a pack trip up a mountain that is six miles one way.

Which really means that I have way too many llamas than I need.  And on top of it, I am losing my Great Pyr, Tia.  She has a cruciate tear that needs surgery that we cannot afford nor take care of after the surgery.  I am very blessed that the person who gave her to me is willing to take her back and pay for the surgery that I have arranged through a dear friend of mine and then care for her during her recovery stage....We will take it one day at a time after that.  The problem with caring for a dog that weighs more than I do, is that she will need to be physically moved, etc after her surgery.

So, I am slowly but surely placing my llamas, Tia will leave around the 13th of September, Paco my ram is going to Auction where he should pull a pretty good price and will not get eaten because Rams are yucky to eat and so I can finally feel comfortable taking an animal to auction and seeing how it all works.  I may replace the ram; the main reason he is going is because I would like to breed his daughter this year.  But the whole ghist of the ranch is changing a bit...

As a matter of fact, I had decided that I was going to do poultry.  That was until the neighbors dog killed one of my prize turkeys last week.  Yes, in the middle of my crazy week; I was in filling out paperwork with the boys which is how it happened because normally when the turks are out I have my eye on them at all times.  But this day, we were busy doing last minute stuff for the college, and I heard a ruckus and went out to find the dog eating my turkey.

Although they have offered to compensate me financially, it was very hard for me to determine a price on the first turkey.  First of all, the turkey was not harvested properly so I was unable to save the feathers which on these types of turkeys is a good portion of their value.  We, of course, were unable to save the meat after a dog had been eating it.  But what really bothered me the most was the waste of the whole thing.  I think you as Rebels know that I do not waste anything.

Let alone the amount of hard work and time and love that we all had put into these turkeys.  We knew that the turkeys were going to die; as a matter of fact we all were quite proud of the fact that these three were going to be the first animals that we actually planned on raising from the get go and eating.  Now we will not even be tasting our own hard work as the remaining two have already been sold to friends who have driven in our driveway, taken one look at those beautiful turkeys and asked if they were for sale.

So, my future business plans are as follows:  I am going to continue my writing; I think I may even finally have time to take that second childrens book out of my head and put it onto paper!  The ranch will continue to size down a bit, literally.  The llamas will find the right homes as they come along, and I will slowly grow my poultry/feather business as I feel it is safe.  The loss of my sons I guess I will get used to(?!?), but the loss of Shade....well, that was an indicator of times a changin' I'm afraid.

I would really love to hear from you Rebels.  Have you dealt with losing your children to college and if so what helped?  What about other losses and changes in your lives.....???

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Twenty years and counting...

Yesterday was our twentieth wedding anniversary.  Two whole decades.  I really couldn't believe it; it actually had kind of snuck up on both of us what with all of the changes happening here at The Royal Ranch that I promised you I was going to write about.  And I still will write about those changes and the waves of havoc they have created for this family; changes like kids leaving for college and me finally realizing that my back issue is a disability and not a back issue.  There is a BIG difference when you own, live and love on a ranch; it makes your life decisions a lot more important.

But anyway, back to our twenty years together and how something so significant can sneak up on a person.  See, we have a tradition here at the ranch for birthdays for the kids; in the mornings when they get up I have printed out their names in big letters with descriptive words of them, usually with a pic of something their really into that year.  Yes, teachers I know there is a proper term for this I just can't think of it; help a Rebel out in the comment section here....Well, it seems this tradition stuck, because on our pillows last night we found this poem from our 15 year old who had pretended to have forgotten our anniversary:

Mom and Dad you are so great
even though sometimes its like I don't appreciate
you're always there through thick and thin
so we'll be happy to the end

T*he best dad
O*ver worker
M*r. with a loving family

J*ustifiably Crazy
U*unbelievably great
D*etermined to help even when not needed (we have all laughed ourselves senseless over this one!)
Y*our son loves you

Tom and I said this was the kindest most rewarding anniversary present either of us had ever gotten.

Right back at 'ya kid:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Nuf Said!

Dear Rebels,

I recently went into my local feed store because I was entirely out of my regular organic/Non-GMO/no-soy feed for my poultry.  I have to tell you I was so totally caught off guard by the owners total lack of knowledge and even defense on the subject of Genetically Engineered feed that I even had myself wondering if this was a lost battle.  That was until I got back in the truck with my kids and my fifteen year old son said "Mom, I could tell you were getting really mad; and I understand your point.  I just don't think I can explain it".

That is when I realized that I am so passionate about this movement and how it has affected the growth of our children (really, did girls used to have boobs and bums that size?) that I have a hard time coming up with the proper words.  So, although I promised my regular readers a different post for next time, I read some wonderful news online today that really brings my point home; and PLEASE take the time to read the entire article; you don't want to miss paragraphs like this:

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto's patented materials were the trespassers at fault.


But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose "frankencrops" are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Just like the title, "Nuf Said!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Metaphysical Monday

I woke up this morning thinking how ironic that it was Monday and August 1, the day that I had chosen to make the announcement about my Life Readings and Animal Communications.  See, I've got to tell you, this has been one of the weirdest couple of months in my life; so weird in fact that I will probably split it up into two different posts so as not to confuse things much.  My next post is going to be about changes and losses here at The Royal Ranch, mostly due to me facing the fact that my back is not getting any better.

But today, Metaphysical Monday that happens to be August 1, and the day that I had committed to announcing to months ago, I want to talk about a new phase of my life.  You all know that I have a strange "sixth sense" that allows me to work with my Spirit Guides and communicate with animals.  Well, on June 15, 2011 I had sent out some letters to friends and people I have worked with over the years (no family) to let them know that I had been nudged to share my gift on a professional basis.

My letter stated that I feel very strongly that I can help my community by helping those in it.  I think there are a lot of souls out there right now who need the help and don't know where to find it.  And I am willing to barter.  We are a world that has lost it's spirituality and I would like to help bring it back one person at a time.

So anyway, back to the affects of the letter.  I got plenty of calls and responses, just like I was hoping.  And I did get to work on my "Spiritual dictionary" (I was a bit concerned that my Spirit Guides would not be able to help me enough on a professional basis; read=I was worried about charging people $$$, or bartering for my services), but the most amazing affect was on my confidence.

The letters revolved around the number 7.  Our address is 7, of course lucky seven; and then I was doing 7 free Life Readings in the seventh month.  My goal had been to send out 7 letters, but when I got to looking at addresses I coincidentally came up with 17.  My first free Life Reading decided that she did want me to do a Tarot reading on her when we were done (I am careful not to depend on tools for my readings), and of course a 7 was the first card we pulled!

As the readings progressed and my confidence grew a bit, I found that I was not quite so shy about my gift.  Like when we went to the Rivera's place to shear the rescue llamas and their dog had a nice long chat with me while we sheared away.  A while later the owner of the dog was telling me about how she was feeling guilty about an accidental breeding that had happened; and I knew why it had happened but was not sure if the people would think I was a nutcase if I told them their dog had told me why.

Being the hesitant soul that I am, I sat on it all for a few days....and remembered how they were with their beloved bird, and how they had been with those llamas that they had lovingly fostered and I took a chance and sent them an e-mail AC (animal communication) consultation.  I had written down everything I had learned while I was at their place from all those lovely critters.  And you know what?  They didn't think I was a nutcase at all, they truly appreciated the insight into their household. 

It had all been so cute because the dog (a boston terrier) had won a battle to get to talk to me.  The Rivera's have 4 Boston's and they all had come running up to greet me fighting over who got to talk first.  Growling and snorting like flat faced dogs do, and then when the chaos was all over the group in general didn't have too much to say, except they sure were proud of their swimming pool!  But one of them followed Tom and I when we went back to work and just chatted away, and when she was very adamant about something she would come over and quietly lick my leg and then go back to her corner and sit.

Again, an experience like that was one that I had to share with her owners.  Especially knowing that they carried a bit of guilt when actually the whole thing had happened for a reason.  I find that so often when I work with Spirit, which is why I have chosen to do this...there is a reason for everything, and we need to have some sort of Sprituality in our lives.

Speaking of spirituality.  I had another hunch that I knew I needed to share with a friend.  I hardly know this family; actually I really don't know them at all.  This gentle man is the man who runs one of the Yahoo groups that I follow; an organic gardening group.  He and his family recently suffered a terrible loss in their orchards, not only the loss of their fruit, but the stripping of the trees which of course means their imminent death.

He had been kind enough to help me via e-mail with a few of my very atypical and difficult high altitude gardening questions, but I still felt like some sort of stalker sending him and his wife a note letting them know that I had a very strong vibe that this was just not an orchard or fruit or $ issue like they were talking about on the group.  I felt very strongly that it was personal and that he and his family needed to take some precautions.

You can NOT imagine my surprise when I received the story of his lifetime back.  It is one I will read again and again.  As a matter of fact I asked him if I could repost it here, and he is not comfortable with that.  He did say that Creator told him to share the story with me, and I feel that it is because of the upheaval in my life at this time.  Needless to say, I was correct in my assumption and they are taking all precautions; and they did appreciate my kind thoughts.

The seventh month has passed, and I had helped people that I didn't even think I might be able too.  I will leave it up to the Spirit Guides and Creator, because obviously they have a plan for me.  Thank you for the interesting few months; it's been a trip.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Royal Ranch Visits Oklahoma

Wow!  Did we have a wild and woolly trip to Oklahoma!!!  Literally.  We started the trip off by heading to my in laws place in Matheson, CO where we spent the night and got to spend a little time with my wonderful BIL (Brother-In-Law) and niece.  My poor SIL had to work that night, but we did catch her sleeping on the ground hoping to catch a glimpse of her nephews and niece that were happily all sleeping in her bunkhouse.  They had all spent the night playing Wii and who knows what cousins do to all hours of the morning.  I just about burst out in tears when I saw my almost grown kids all cuddled up in blankets out in this barn style bunkhouse and their Aunt keeping watch over them by the fire outside, with the rooster crowing and the horses grazing in the background...

We left the kids in the very capable hands of the family for the day while Tom and I went to shear and pick up some llamas a couple of towns away in Peyton, CO.  We had such a wonderful time at the Rivera place...Really.  Here we were there to work, and work we did, but we made some wonderful friends as well.  We sheared seven llamas in no time flat thanks to their great hospitality, a fantastic chute (Tom and I have never worked with a chute before, interestingly most llama people will tell you you have to have one to work with llamas!) and the fact that they had so many helpers.

While we were there, we found out that Henry Rivera (sorry no link, contact me for his information) is a fantastic artist.  And here we had just been outside swapping sweat with the guy!  Ha!  The Rivera's treated us like Royalty; they teased us that they had gone to the website and knew that we were The Royal Ranch and must be treated as such.  Lunch was wonderful, the shearing was smooth as silk, excuse the pun, and the loading went as well as could be expected for ten wild llamas.

We headed back to the in-laws to get the kids and some much needed rest, we thought; and just when I drifted off to sleep my cell phone rang and it was the gentleman we were to meet in Oklahoma with the llamas.  He was on his way.  What????  Okay.  So we loaded up the kids, oh yes, we were blessed with all our of our children this trip, and headed for Oklahoma!

See, these llamas had been adopted by a family in Washington, OK.  We were to shear them and then transport them to Guymon, OK to meet the new owners halfway.  I guess they got a little excited and I miscommunicated, but it all worked out because I wanted the llamas to travel in the cool of the night anyway.  But, the problem with that is the storms.  And let me tell you about the storms.  I mean I thought we were in a tornado at one point in time, the lightning was crashing and hitting the fields right next to us.  We passed a cow that had been hit even.  It was crazy!  And then once it got dark and the storms were bad, all you could see was when the lightning struck it lit up everything for miles....and then back to pitch black and that howling wind!

Amazingly enough, two people coming from six hours apart, arrived in the same little sleepy town of Oklahoma within five minutes of each other.  And even better, the llamas were so tired and road weary and afraid of the storms that we had passed through (and thankfully avoided while we traded llamas), did not give us one bit of hassle.  We found a hotel with a pool for the kids and piled in.  Goodnight, ya'all.

Sunday the kids wanted to swim of course before we hit the road to who knew where (that's sort of how the Jeute's roll).  My fifteen year old son went to jump in the deep end and couldn't get his footing because the bottom was so slimey.  All righty then.  Think I'll just stay walking around to get my exercise in the shallow end, thank you very much.  Kids, please shower after this one...But we all were giving my husband a hard time because he just seems to attract the "locals", if you know what I mean; and can talk to just about anyone, including the guy who needed to wait for my kids to get out of the pool to shock it with four pounds of chlorine.

Or the guy on the side of the road in the middle of the night holding the road sign.  Tom had decided to pull forward and ask him how he liked his job and about the local economy and such.  Well, all we kept getting out of the guy was a "Yuup", and I'm thinking to myself, can we back up?  How long could this wait possibly be?  Ha!

So anyway, we leave Guymon, and again in Jeute fashion we really have no idea where we are going, but decide that we want to go home through New Mexico instead of the same route we had just come.  We see a black road on the map that looks pretty good and we take it...not looking at the legend of course.  Remember, these accidents often happen for good reasons.  I had all of my family trapped right there in the truck with me. And we were on a dirt road...I was in heaven!

We saw turkeys and deer and elk and the plants, oh I was absolutely enthralled with the plants.  We stopped at Black Mesa Nature Preserve where there was an entire ecosystem that you could just walk right up to!  Complete with fish and cattails and dragonflies,etc.  The petrified forest nature hike that we took was really cool, there were lizards for the kids to watch and all sorts of species of plants for me to guess at.

We made it to Raton, NM Sunday night and the kids gave Tom and I a hard time because of course we chose this little hillbilly looking motel across the street from the big name Hotel.  While Tom was inside the boys were in the back just complaining away saying that this place was redneck and going to suck and be small and not have wifi, etc.  Then we opened up the door to our huge room (with all amenities), and they both (the eighteen year olds) said the other place had nothing on this one-ha!  It had a nice clean pool too; and we even got a late check out so that we got to spend some time there on Monday!

It was a tad bit of a bummer that the restaurant that they suggested was no good, they took forever and I got sick.  Yeah, I got sick, and I never get food sick.  And the day we were traveling home too.  But it was quick and over, so I was pretty lucky. 

The ride home was uneventful, but I will say that we are heartsick for the parts of  the country that are experiencing drought.  The little bit that we saw was devastating.  I have been hearing about poultry houses that have lost thousands of birds due to heat stress and it makes me thankful every single day that my birds can free range to go where they need to go to adjust their own body temperatures.  And I am so blessed to have had the rain these past few weeks.  We drove past fields that were simply left because of drought...

So thank you America, for another wonderful vacation and the chance to spend time with my family. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rebels; Today is OUR Day!!!!

I pledge to start each day out listening to this most uplifting song ever:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmageddon; a great movie supporting local agriculture!

As you all know, I am very dedicated to supporting my local farmers as much as possible.  But for me, living in the mountains and not really having local farmers that is a little harder to do.  It is a learning process (one that I am very much still in the process of), Colorado may not be the biggest agricultural state, but by golly it is an agricultural state by some standards; mine included.

I am very proud to be a part of the agricultural business, I say it is in my blood.  It must have skipped a generation (my Mom is not really into the whole animal/growing thing-ha!).  See, my Grandparents were farmers in Iowa; they moved here to leave the farm life behind, I do believe.  But somehow it is just inside some of us, and I can't help myself...when I collect the eggs I am fascinated with the smooth little jewels of various colors.  And oh, my wonderful sheep that bleat for me if I am late to feed them...

And as for my packing llama string...I recently saw some pictures on Pinecam (our local gossip emag-ha!) of our ranch with Charlie Royal doing pack strings with horses...Well aren't we just going full circle?  I wish I still had that much land Charlie...But anyway, the joy that they bring me and our visitors is unparalleled; we get to teach our guests about our area, our way of life, but even better yet, how to be good stewards of the environment!

So to me, being a farmer these days is a lot more than just throwing stuff in the ground or raising organic animals.  It is about defending our rights to do so.  And teaching people about why we are doing it that way.  And why it is so important for us to raise heirloom varieties and heirloom chickens and sheep so that we don't have only one kind of corn or tomato or potato (and that there are still some nutrients in them).  No matter which way you say it; tomato or tomahto, potato or potahto, if there is no variety it would still suck.

Needless to say I was really excited to hear about this documentary:

Farmageddon - Movie Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Made by a Mom.  Check it out, there are screenings in towns all over the USA, or you can buy the DVD.  I have to wait for the movie....bummer!