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!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Chronic pain and The Spoon Theory

I read this "theory" a long time ago; it's been floating around the blogosphere a long time.  But it took me some time to apply it to my own life.  See I try and act like my life is perfectly fine all the time.  And then it all catches up with me and my daughter will sleep on the floor in my room and catch me crying in my sleep...

So, it doesn't take not having Lupus for this theory to apply.  Or any other label for that matter.  Many of us need to live spoon by spoon; and that needs to be okay with us and the ones that love us.  And here is my spoon to you, dear Rebels, because you mean a lot to me! 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Don't throw away that old garden hose!

While in the process of finding and then getting my camera to cooperate, I thought I would do a quick post on how absolutely brilliant I am.  Oh wait, I thought this post was about soaker hoses.  That's right.  See, this has some background to it, because the men in the family said I couldn't do it...So I, of course had to try all that much harder-ha!

For some reason this has been the year that a few of our hoses have decided it is their time to go.  Take for instance this last hose.  I was trying to water my new garden and was wondering what was wrong with the water pressure, when oh my, I turned around and my hose looked like Popeye!  I didn't even want to get near the thing in fear of it exploding!  Well, Tom had already insisted that one just like this was junk so I quietly set it aside until all the men were gone....

That is when the real fun began.  My daughter and I got up early one morning and got a nail and a hammer and we went to town on that hose.  I mean we just put holes in it everywhere, it was really a pretty cool project because there is no right or wrong about it.  I then just hooked it up to the water and watched it go.

By this time the boys were up, so I had to do my happy dance....Too bad Tom wasn't here to see it, but believe you me, he heard ALL about it-ha!  And we all got to be in on the fun of making little adjustments to the dripper system while it was running and add a few holes here and there and get sprayed in the face when we removed the nail.  We had a ball.

PS:  When I went online to look for pics I remembered that I needed to tell you that I had a sprayer nozzle that I used to cap the end of my hose, but I do intend to get some sort of more permanent cap.  When time and money permit....get things as you can is my motto, and make do with what you have.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Rebels, You've only just begun....

 Photo courtesy of Northside Living

As I was doing a bit of "catch up" reading around the blogoshpere this morning, I happened along a song that really fits my life right now; what with the boys going off to college, a bit of a Spiritual/physical shake-up going on in my personal life, etc.  The timing was great.  Sorry folks, they wouldn't let me embed, but it is definitely worth the click on this link.

And have a wonderful, safe and food filled holiday; try to make it a recycled one.  We are making a recycled garden...more on that next week when I can find a camera.  What are your plans?