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 now....so 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 to...now 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 tattoodesign.me

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???