Friday, June 15, 2012

A BIG finale!

Hello Dear Rebels, I feel as though I fell off the face of the planet and have been vicariously plunked back on.  Although we only moved 2.2 miles up the road, I am playing a whole other ball game up here in the forest!  Our first visitor to the Double J Homestead (and Yes that is its official name) was a yearling mountain lion.  And how do I know it was a yearling?  Because it hissed at me from only four or five feet away so I got a VERY good look at it!!!
When I left you all last I was really up in the air about what I am going to do with my online presence and I think this post has answered many questions for all of us.  It is a final farewell to The Royal Ranch, but at the same time it is a new dawning of the era of the Double J; after all what has happened to my family in the last few months and how passionate I am about my field (natural agriculture, animal rescue and permaculture) there is really no way I can NOT continue to share the adventures of my world with those who will listen.
Transparency in the field of agriculture is something that I feel needs to be talked about more and that is where my Double J blog will head, along with the adventures of our homestead, of course.  When I wrote of being afraid that Wells Fargo had taken our home faster due to the fact that I have a business and fought the system; I am serious, and I have many reasons to think this.  As a matter of fact they are currently being investigated by the Attorney General for such actions and I plan to be a part of that suit (this link is just one example of many!).  But my point with all of this is that I am not going to be afraid, I am going to be a part of the solution instead.  I have always been a very careful business person and therefore should be a great example on the internet for people to follow, just sayin’.
 Okay, so now that we got that straightened out and you are all linked up for The Double J, let’s talk a bit about what has been going on in my world the last few weeks.  We kicked off this big move with an End of an Era sale for The Royal Ranch; and it was a huge success.  We had so much support from our community and friends it really was unbelievable!  I went from laughing to crying the entire four days; it really was an emotional roller coaster that I could not wait to get off of, but on the other hand I would not trade for the world, you know?
Then started the big push to get out of the house in time, by then it no longer felt like The Royal Ranch; we had sold all of the history pieces (except those we donated to the Park County Historical Society, which we are proud members) to one man right up the road which made us quite happy.  At the same time Hubs was building us a bedroom in the barn at The Double J; so the moving fell to the kids and I for a few days.  I know, a bit hard to follow, but even harder to organize!
So, we have a partially built master bedroom in the barn; that when finished will have the pot-belly stove that was in my parents’ house when I was growing up so I love the “warmth” this will bring to the room in more ways than one.  The cabin itself is teeny tiny, but we are making it all fit just fine.  I got my Grandma’s china cabinet in and that was a big deal for me, so you know the things that really matter when downsizing and you go with it…
After the visit from the mountain lion I knew I could not bring my beautiful sheep, Buttercup, up here; it broke my heart indeed.  She was the sheep I had been breeding for and over the last few weeks I had really been working with her to prepare her for this move and created a strong bond with her.  But, I was not going to let her be mountain lion bait either so I did the best thing for HER and called the gal I originally got my sheep from and she was more than ecstatic to have such a pretty black wooled girl.  She lost almost her whole herd of sheep last summer to a mountain lion herself and now only has two white girls left and keeps them locked up at night.  My Buttercup was a wonderful addition to her herd as she is BIG into felting, etc.  As a matter of fact, you can read about her in the Canyon Courier doing her wool art; her name is Julie Demaree.
That brings us to the llamas; we had the pen set up and everything.  But it is just not appropriate for my herd, what with a mountain lion passing through and the home of a lifetime waiting for them.  Yes that is right folks, my pack string is gone.  My God, I can’t even type that without bringing tears to my eyes.  But, let me continue, because they are in seventh heaven and I have done my job, so although I can’t even read what I type, I know I did the right thing.
A friend of ours recently bought a magnificent piece of property; and to keep it agricultural (zoning) needs animals on it.  He started asking me a few weeks ago, but obviously I had a few things on my mind.  Well, he kept offering and Hubs kept pushing, and before you know it my lifetime of work (just for melodramatic effect) was sitting in the driveway of Heaven….  They have 35 acres of lush green pasture to graze, a beautiful barn, actually multiple barns to choose from, and are doing great!
But the kids and I joke that I got out of the llama business against my will and I still got stuck with the crappy llamas, because I have two llamas that I would never place with anyone.  One is just plain crazy (overhandled as a youngster and has vision issues) and the other is on the verge of having Berserk Llama Syndrome, and yes, that is a real thing and very few of us in the Nation are trained to deal with these types of animals….
So, my dreams of agriculture/permaculture are, well they are still happening just a bit slower due to a move of the homestead, but you know me and I won’t let me keep things down.  Actually, my animals have simply amazed me with this move, again and again.   One day we went back to the other house to get one of the cats, and we got so worried that we couldn’t find him; we all called and called for him and then made one more load.  When we came home he was laying on the hanging clothes that we had laid on the bed to take with the next load!
My poultry have also proved themselves as “part of the family”.  As we were moving the homestead, a few animals at a time, it had affected their laying and the chickens had quit laying eggs at The Royal Ranch.  The morning that they, the chickens were here and we were all back together as a family they all got back to laying on their daily schedule.  The turks started laying eggs in their new home as well!  It was funny for me to see how deeply us being apart could affect even the lowest animal on the totem pole.
Well, that is enough for now, and my turks are calling for their breakfasts; so take a minute to hook up to The Double J, cuz I won’t be coming back to this blog anymore….  I can’t tell you all how much I have enjoyed this blog and you all….Oooops here come the tears again!!!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Lemonade anyone?

Well hello Dear Rebels, it is actually me, Judy writing this post.  Although those were very interesting and relevant topics, I must admit I was hiding a bit behind those linked posts.  I have not made it a secret that we have lost our home, The Royal Ranch; and I have not made it a secret that we have struggled greatly with bills and health and the rest of what America is struggling with.
But what I have been secretly doing is making lemonade, and lots of it.  I have plenty to share because I have been handed lots and lots of lemons lately.  Our dream was to sell a piece of property and start fresh with a new 40 acre piece that was entirely off-grid; well that did not happen in the amount of time that we were given by the bank, and NO we were not willing to try to slow down our foreclosure, we have given them enough of our time, money and energy.
As usual God has a plan for us and we decided to quit fighting the flow and take another look at what we already have; and that is the piece of property that we were trying to sell.  Although it does not fit my dream acreage, I am studying to become a permaculture expert and this land will definitely fill the bill for teaching me patience and skills to work with Mother Nature!  It is 10 acres attached to Pike National Forest with beautiful Camp Creek running through it year round, so believe me we have no complaints, it is just not quite as flat as the piece we were going to buy.
But, it is OURS and it has power and a shower.  And to FOUR teenagers those things were pretty important; even if the square footage of the main building is about the size of my current living room.  So, watch what you ask for because for the last few years I have been saying that I want a teeny tiny house and boy did I get it.. :)  We have all sorts of cool plans for trundle beds and handy storage ideas that have been in my head for years that I will now implement; all those years of watching HGTV will pay off somehow, ha!
I had to laugh because I have sat down in front of my computer a hundred times to write a post on this and of all people to get me moving again to post it was a camper.  I know that many people read my blog to find out about The Royal Ranch and the surrounding area to see what is going on; and yesterday my husband spoke with one of our regular campers who was concerned that he would no longer see my Tom's friendly face doing the camp hosting duties this year since he had read of our "troubles" on my blog.  Well, we are still in the area, and we are still doing the campgrounds this year...  Woot Woot!!!
But that brings me to my next point.  I am no longer going to represent Royal Ranch as of a couple of weeks from now, Dear Rebels.  I have not completely decided what I am going to do about my online identity to be honest with you all.  I am VERY, very gunshy at this point in time.  There is not ONE DOUBT IN MY MIND that my online presence, and let me say that again, I am absolutely positive that my business and the fact that I fought the system are what got us out of our house as quickly as we are.
Our new ranch is called The Double J; months ago I started a blog about it and also a website for it, those were in the days when I thought I was getting the larger piece if you want to take a look at it before I get a chance to change it...After what has just happened to us I have thought long and hard about how or even if I will conduct business in the future.  The Double J may just be a self-sufficient homestead that lends a helping hand to it's friends and neighbors by teaching them how to become self-sustainable themselves; and if they need a bit of our property to do so then we can figure something out-like a growing plot or whatever.  I don't know.
My point is that right now I am totally in limbo and just enjoying my lemonade and making more with each passing day.  My first priority is to take care good/Godly care of my family.  We are praying each day and enjoying our time with our college sons so immensely I can't even tell you.  It was a bit rough to start I won't lie; it was hard for them to come home to a mess like this. 
My children have shined like the stars that they are throughout this mis/adventure.  Each and every one of them in their own way.  It has made me even more appreciative of the special relationship I have with each individual person that they are; it truly has been an amazing experience to see how they deal with such a traumatic event themselves, but also to watch them be protective of me.
It is funny because as I take the time to write this oh so long post my oldest came home and said that the day before he and my other son and a friend of theirs had not wanted to leave until my Sophomore son got home from school because "they knew that as soon as they leave I was going to do something I was not supposed to do."
He also talked about why everyone tries to bring him down about this move.  I had to ask him more about that one.  He said the day he helped our neighbor move fish another gentleman had been telling him how sad it was that he was losing his childhood home and memories etc.  And do you know what that smart 19 year old kid said to me and that nice man?  He said that he had been planning on moving on anyway and this is just a step in our lives; we can take memories with us....
So we are not looking at this as an ending; we are looking at this as a new beginning.  It may be the end of an era, but we are just getting started with a new one.  An even better one at that.  So yes, we are still in the area, and yes, we are still taking care of the campgrounds.  For now I will leave this site up until I decide what to do with the Double J sites; I will let you all know what I intend to do.
I can't tell you all how much it means that some of you hung on and continued to read through all of these ups and downs.  I know that many of you read this blog to stay current on what is going on in this area and to keep in touch with the ranch and our critters; that is what I DO intend to do with the Double J, information only at this time (no business).  So, thanks so much for sticking with me, you all ROCK!!!  And if you were here, I would offer you a nice big glass of ice cold lemonade.

PS  If you live in this area we are having an "An End of an Era" Sale on Memorial Weekend.  Should be quite a party, er garage sale, if you want to come by and say hello!

Sunday, May 13, 2012


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

Moving 101, Royal Recycled Style (packing and storage tips)

 Well, as you can all imagine we are on the countdown to the big Homestead move.  It officially started on April 6, 2012; when we have just 2 months left at The Royal Ranch.  But, leave it to The Jeute's to get the scheduling all messed up.  My daughter went and broke her arm; and like we do everything, she did it BIG!

So, on the day we were to start our countdown and I was to be packing I was instead in the ER having this fixed on my beloved Baby Girl; who also just happens to be my "right hand girl", pun intended.  (Although thank God it was her Left hand as you can see on the X-ray!!!)

Anywho, the main reason I wanted to post today is that I have some brilliant packing ideas to share with you guys.  And you don't have to be moving to use packing ideas; anyone that stores stuff (which is pretty much every single person I know) could use these tips!

The first may seem quite obvious to some, but on a big move one must really think it through; grouping like things!  Take for instance my china cabinet, that is one of the places that I have started and will use for example here today.  Now, we are moving to a MUCH smaller place so a lot of my stuff is going into storage; but I would like to consider it a couple of different kinds of storage.  One that is a bit more accessible and one that may be gone for a few years.

So I started out by emptying the china cabinet and grouping all my like items:

This may look like a huge mess, but actually it is organized chaos.  I am gathering things from around the house and deciding if they are going in storage 1) Needs to be accessible within a few months time (please, oh please God!) or storage container 2) May be gone for years, so I best have my poop in a group!  And don't forget the donate pile; always keep another box handy so that you can just toss items into it and then take it to a drop off location near you as you pack.  Even up here in the mountains we have places that will take all sorts of items, just do a bit of research; someone would love your gently used stuff; if it is more than gently used it might be time to recycle/trash it.  I am also making a sell pile which is turning into a sell house, our rental house will be a yard sale for the last couple of weeks we are here...  More on that later!

As you can see in the front of the picture, I have Grandma's china.  That will go in storage area 1 of course in case I ever get to host Christmas or Thanksgiving again.  Which I love to do, so I will be doing it for at least my family by next year, so the china needs to be accessible.  Anyway, these are the kinds of things that will help you decide what is important to YOU.

Grab a good sturdy box, make sure and tape the bottom a couple of times for heavy items like china and books and grab a marker.  Try and do some of the labeling before the box gets so full that you have a hard time maneuvering it around, trust me on this one, you will appreciate this tip after a few full boxes.  And don't get lazy when it comes to labeling; remember by the time you are done with this thing you are going to have A LOT of boxes that are all going to look similar.  Label all four sides and each flap that will be the top; that way you will be assured that no matter what side is showing when it is set in your storage area; the one that is out will show it's contents.

For fragile items now is when we can finally bring in our recycled materials; if you haven't already used a recycled box.  I used egg cartons in the bottom of the box, because of course everybody and their Mother has brought me egg cartons and now I can use them up!  The point is, take something that you have a lot of, that will be good for packing material, like old socks or underwear or the husbands old OP's, yes, I know they are out there because I have a drawer of them myself, LOL!; and use them/it for something more useful than just a space taker.

As you can see in the picture, I then wrapped my large platters in used paper bags and chicken dinner bags.  I did the same with the gravy boat, sugar and creamer containers as well as they could then be labeled since I rarely use them and won't need to unwrap each piece sifting through them looking for the ones I want when I am running late next Christmas; not that that ever happens to me.  I did the same with the million tea cups that came with this beautiful white and silver set of china.  What is up with that?  Anyway, I individually wrapped them in newspaper and then put them in two plastic grocery bags (finally a use for these horrific things!!) and tied them up and labeled them too.

Once it was all labeled and secured another layer of egg cartons and it was ready for tape.  This box was at the way top end of the heavy range for what I would want to do to any mover let alone two movers with bad backs as we will never ask for help with moving our personal belongings....Now as for moving the rest of the farm we just may be looking for a few good volunteers.

Anyone?  Is that crickets I hear????

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Rebels!  I got the most amazing Easter present ever!!!  My second hatch started a bit early on Thursday, with Royal Ranch's first chick; we were so excited, especially since the chicks were pre-sold.  The poults started coming the next day, but too slowly for the sake of the chick.  She/he was getting DARN hungry and wanted OUT of that incubator.

So last night we very quickly opened up the incubator (you are not supposed to open the incubator mid-hatch due to dropping the humidity level), and grabbed out the one chick and five, YES FIVE, poults!!!  I was concerned about the other "babies" picking on them, so we put them in a box in the brooder.  If you all remember, we have four chicks and poults that were hatched/purchased in late February; so I was not sure how they would all get along.

I know it is hard to see, and that is because the poults that are just babies themselves already have the instincts to take care of the itty bitty babies!!  The new ones are safely tucked under the wings of the others.  Mother Nature truly amazes me!  Happy Easter and God Bless.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Well, call me "blushing"!

Dear Rebels,
I am an ASS.  I did not read that entire article before I linked to it, and if I had I would have known it was bogus.  There are a couple of ways to tell if your pieces are any good or not and the first is to do your research; secondly is to go with your gut and see if the article makes sense and is not too over the top.  This one was.  As I got closer to the bottom and the Author got more and more angry, I knew I was in trouble.

I have no excuses, but I will explain what happened.  It is Spring Break around here, but for only half of my children; we have a case of unexpected Chicken Pox (and yes we were vaccinated) and things are nutty; I saw that article come across my email and it REALLY scared me, more on that in a minute.  I started reading it, I swear I did....and messing with the "link to" buttons, and lo and behold there was one for Blogger.  So I thought, what the hell????  Something distracted me, and that was that.

So, let's tackle this thing shall we?  First and foremost, my apologies if I offended anyone (which I did).  Period.  Secondly, I truly am sorry for linking to bullshit; no other way to say it.  I really try to pride myself on being an honest and up front writer with you all and that just really put a chip in my "armor" so to speak so let's just forget it happened, "K"?  I could have just pulled that piece, but it still would have been cached, and it would not have been a reminder to myself of my mistake.  As you see I did make a correction on that page.

Okay, so I tried to think through why I fell for this and it is because I truly feel that this is not far in the making.  Through CREDIBLE research I have been reading all about raids on homes, yes homes of FAMILIES, that are being raided with guns abalazin' all at tax payers expense because of milk, eggs or cheese.  This to me seems really quite incredible when our country is in such a time of crisis; like a foreclosure epidemic, a couple of possible overseas situations, starving residents, dirty oceans, my list could go on and on...  Food that people are literally begging for does not top my list of things to prosecute people for.

I mean it really has nothing at all to do with what I do here on my own Ranch.  Even if I did not sell my own products of this nature I would think this is total "you know what".  I talked to a friend of mine, and this comes first hand.  He had another friend that had a customer for three years.  That customer talked him into harvesting some chickens for them; they begged him to do it, even after he explained the law, etc.  Well, he went ahead and processed the chickens for the customers; because he had had a relationship with them for so long...BIG MISTAKE.  He is still going through court battles.

See, it was all a sting operation.  The whole three years!  For that whole time these folks had been in the area befriending the locals, buying eggs and then just waiting to ask them to process their chickens and then BAM! they'd bust them for being neighborly!  Which, yes, technically is against the law, but I mean really, I kinda wonder how many murders went unsolved during that three year time-frame???

And as far as health concerns go, well you are never going to win that argument with me.  The whole reason we are having outbreaks of bacteria these days is because of commercial farming, not because of organic farming.  IN MY OPINION, what has happened with CFO farming is that they have robbed the ground of all the nutrients so they have to spray it all back on, therefore using all sorts of chemicals, pesticides, etc. and that is what then causes the outbreaks.  Overcrowding of animals is also a HUGE, I can NOT say it enough, HUGE problem of bacteria in CFO farms!!!  A person can follow the CDC (Center for Disease Control) paths for themselves of any outbreak of any food at ANYTIME by going to the CDC website.

Now, as you will notice I did not take the time to link to anything with this first piece as I am a bit link shy right now.  I have been looking at the great Cantaloupe breakout to see if I can use it as an example, but again the CDC didn't show it's findings very quickly and I really wanted to get my apology out there!  But, from what I can gather, they were NOT organic farmers.

So, the bottom line is I screwed up and I'm sorry.  And you will continue to see more of my REBEL side, just a bit more toned down! :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Obama seizes control over all food, farms, livestock, farm equipment, fertilizer and food production across America


Dear Rebels,
Please excuse this break in our normal programming for this very important message:

Obama seizes control over all food, farms, livestock, farm equipment, fertilizer and food production across America

Thank you!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Checking In!!!

Dear Rebels,
Hello, from your long lost Author, Judy Jeute, :)!!  I am so sorry this going to be a quick little post to let you all know that we, The Jeute/Prentiss clan are "Keepin On, Keepin On" so to speak.  Actually, we are doing quite well.  My poults are growing like weeds; and as you can see by the photo, they have some company.
 (Aren't they adorable?  The brown one looking at the camera is a poult and the black and yellow ones are chicks!!  Too sweet for words, really.)

I have learned that what is an instinct behavior in chicks, oh you know silly little things like eating and drinking properly, are learned behaviors in poults.  So one day when I was at my local Big R store (man do I love that place) to get the babies some vitamins to help perk them up, I heard some peeping and thought the sound had followed me from home in my head or something and lo and behold they had their own brooder full of chicks so I took a couple home to teach my turk babies how to eat and drink and within five minutes of me putting those chicks in there my poults were all standing around the waterer!!!  It was amazing. 

So, although my hatch rate has totally sucked, and I lost my favorite poult; we have figured out exactly what we are doing wrong so far.  And that is all a person can do, right?  Learn from their mistakes and go forward from there.  And that is exactly what I intend to do.  So we have more eggs going in the incubator today since we know what went wrong; poor air flow.  That just means more excitement in another month!  And even more exciting some of these will be sold for profit, what's that, actual money????  But I believe this is where the saying might apply.  Don't count your chickens before their hatched.  LOL!!!

Okay, so yesterday I think I might have had one of the craziest days.  I started it out with negotiating our new property single-handedly.  Thank goodness Tom is working overtime again, and we really need to get this property business taken care of.  As soon as the snow melts...we need to be moving our livestock up there.  Period.  We have fencing to do, barns to build, water to acquire, electricity to figure out, did I mention we will be off grid???  Oh yea, and a minor little thing like shelter for four?!?!?!

Oh wait, got a bit side tracked with my panic attack, JK! No, I talked with our friend who owns our dream property and yesterday I made sure... it is The Double J!!!!  I do believe that he, Tom and I will be sitting down this afternoon to finalize everything.  Whew.

And then....The High Timber Times arrived.  No kidding.  Yes, I knew they were coming, but I don't think it all really hit me til the guy with the monstrous cameras got out of his car and told me and Bella to act normal while doing our daily chores.  She joked that she wanted to go inside and hop on the couch-ha!  Anywho, the reason they were here is that they are doing a story on the Mountain Resource Center; and as I mentioned in The American Tragedy, I went to MRC for help with my electric bills.

I really have no idea how this story will turn out and to be honest, we were really nervous about doing it.  Could they make us out like the poor kids on the block???  This is a local paper, all of our family and friends are going to see it... they are ALL going to know now that we are in FORECLOSURE and that we have had all of these issues.  But you know what else they are going to know?  They are going to SEE me and Bella.  And I hope they hear the pride that we have in our ranch and our area.  But mostly in ourselves and our family.

Yeah, we have been put through the wringer, and yes, we have made some mistakes.  But we are being responsible for them now and moving right along.  Yesterday when I was being the pied piper and the turkeys were following me across the road as Bella gently herded them and the photographer snapped away I couldn't have been more proud.  I don't care about our mistakes or my pain or whatever, it was the smile on that girls face.... I could see the pride in her heart.

I also learned yesterday that Judy means praiseworthy.  And for some reason that really came at a nice time; when I'm negotiating deals and being a public figure and a proud mom.  So maybe this post was not as short as I intended, as I am behind in my schoolwork, but I needed to let my dear Rebels know....We are here, we are good, and we are doing what needs to be done.


PS "Our" edition of The High Timber Times should come out Wednesday March 14, 2012 barring a local news emergency.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The American Tragedy Part 2

I was feeling really terribly that I left you all with such sad news and with sort of a negative post; the one about Shasta.  But, to be honest, that is sort of how life has been around here...But that is sort of how life has been for MANY people, for a VERY long time; so I am still smiling and laughing each and every day.  And knowing that many of these things are a natural part of any ranchers life; and that I would not be a good rancher if I did not take them so DEAR TO HEART.

So it is time to get over my pity party and get back to work.  I don't have many months left here at The Royal Ranch and I need to make every minute count.  I don't know if I have made the point enough times, but I am a full time student at Ohio Christian University now also; so life is a bit hectic, what with eggs in the incubator, kids running to and fro, new turkeys adjusting to our ranch routine and of course online studies to be done.

I am orchestrating the move of an entire ranch/family that will also entail a huge downsizing (which is a good thing in my book) and still taking on new projects.  Yes, you heard that right.  Why?  Because I feel that this particular project is one that will help my family, my new homestead and my community.  I will get further into it in another post, because I have really used my negotiating skills to get this project off the ground!

Today I want to talk a bit further about the banks (and bank bailouts).  Simply because I said I would.  I am not going to spend much of my energy on them because frankly they don't deserve much of my energy anymore; but what I do want to share is some useful tips.  I told you all our story in the first post of The American Tragedy.  I also told you all in that first post that our belief is that this foreclosure mess in America is due to the bank bailouts.

Okay, so I am no financial genius.  From here on out you are going to assume some of your own risk.  But I mean this country has a financial epidemic on it's hands.  We went to our county's Public Trustee's website to figure out about foreclosures in our county and did you know that only banks buy up foreclosures?  Not one has been sold to a private person in the last year.  That's right they take them, buy them back and then sit on them.  Why?  In my opinion, so that they can tell us tax payers that it is a loss and then when the market gets better they will put them all for sale; which by the way will be no good for the recovering market.

I mean, I just went to go pick up the links for this story and started getting a damn headache  from reading it all.  I can't do it Dear Rebels.  So if you want to do some reading on what all is happening to folks, have a go at this article (don't forget the comments, that is half the story!).  Or this one, because it is where I got a good piece of advice.  Well, I hope so anyway.  I filed a complaint with the OCC (Offices of the Comptroller of the Currency); which so far hasn't shown to do anything, but at least I feel like I am doing something and they are not just going to get away with this scott free.

Next, if you are in this or any other legal issue for that matter; make sure and read every line of every piece of paper that you are sent, and even more importantly do it in a timely fashion as their are "due dates" on many items.  Now, this may sound like common sense to some, but it simply is NOT.  When a person finds themselves in a place like I have the past few weeks, and that is simply inundated with work and pretty much grief stricken; common sense does not play a role.

I got a mailing from the attorneys that are foreclosing on our homes, and of course this mailing pissed me off.  So, being the Rebel that I am I had set it aside and not thought much about it.  Well, it just so happens that it was The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act that they are required to send me and it actually had some really helpful information in it so if I hadn't read each and every little bitty, and they do make sure it is little bitty, line of it, I would not know that they have to provide me with quite a bit of information before they can just foreclose on my home.  The catch of course is that you have to ask for this information, in writing, within thirty days.

So they are of course hoping you, as a dummy don't read the tiny writing and won't do the awkward wording of how in the hell am I going to ask them for all of that stuff and make it sound just so?  And within their time-frame no less?  Well, at least I was.  So, lo and behold my class right now is Intro to Computers and we are learning Microsoft Word; can you believe that in that program is a template for exactly what I needed?  I mean this letter even quoted The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and a court case that supports it and everything.  So there is help out there for us dummies folks, don't despair.

Lastly, we got a delivery from a Deputy of an affidavit that has some helpful information on it that we are following up on as well.  This program is something called Deferment; and I don't know much about it except that it goes through the Colorado Foreclosure Hotline and it gets you set up with a HUD counselor if you are approved.  I must admit I am a tad bit leery of this program as it is another government plan (gee, we've had such great luck with those so far...) and they are for people who intend to keep their properties as their PERMANENT RESIDENCE.  Which I am not sure we can commit to.  Wink, wink Big Brother.

You know that anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law...or something like that.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Ode to Shasta

Shasta and Shade

Please Lord, wake me up from this nightmare that I am in.  Oh wait, I am fully awake and this is my real life.  Last night I went to put my daughter to bed and our Baby Girl Shasta was lying peacefully on her bed like she had been all day.  When my daughter grabbed her to cuddle up for the night she made an odd sound and her mouth sort of fell open; I tried to act normal and finish putting My Bell to bed and took the cat out of the room to my husband.

She was gone within minutes.  She made one more noise, a loud meow and then she was gone.  My husband and I just stood there in total shock, our beloved Raggedy Ann Doll Kitty was gone forever!!!  She got this reputation from years of being carried around like a rag doll; literally being tossed over the shoulder of many children with her arms on either side of their necks.  She would hug them as if her little life depended upon it and let them take her wherever they were headed off to play...

Although most visitors to the Royal Ranch did not even know that we had Shasta as she was very shy, but she had a soft spot for the children, especially our son Austin.  She was drawn to him from the very beginning of his and our oldest son Thomas' friendship so many years ago; and she would sleep on him whenever she got the chance!  Their next visit home will not be the same without her...

In loving memory of the best Raggedy Ann Doll a girl could EVER ask for.  We love you dearly, Shasta.

PS  When I clicked on the link to find it for Shade, I re-read that post and thought GEEZ, if I only knew then what I know now....  Yes, the loss of Shade really was an indicator of times a changin'; I have lost my herdsire, Marcel since then, which to be honest really made me lose my passion for llamas...  Now the loss of my beloved Shasta.  The loss of The Royal Ranch is taking its toll on us all it seems; it is most definitely time to move on and get a fresh start.  When we told our kids about the foreclosure, my son Nathan said that it was okay because he thinks that this place may be poisoning us and after what has been going on I'm not too sure if I don't agree with him.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Silver Lining

Okay, so just moments ago I posted about our foreclosure, literally.  But I am going to let this post sit in my drafts folder for a few days for a couple of reasons.  First and foremost so that my first post in this series gets it's full amount of time in the spotlight so to speak; and secondly because this part of the story, too is one that is unfolding daily and will be the fun part to share.

You see, when I made the decision to go public with this Foreclosure deal, I talked to my family about that decision and how it would affect each and every one of us.  Not that I am like famous or anything, but word will get out a little faster this way....  Specifically, I asked my parents for feedback on the first article I wrote.

Well, Mom felt obligated to tell the family before it hit the airwaves, which I entirely respect.  What I didn't expect was for my family to react the way they did.  My Uncle and Aunt will be arriving this weekend with a large bale of hay and my Grandpa is making a tuition payment for us!

Which brings me back around to one of the reasons I wanted to write this piece.  I wrote in The American Tragedy about us making decisions, not mistakes, throughout this process and I would like to clarify that a bit.  We have chosen to pay for our boys to go to school as much as we can instead of them going into debt.  Yes, they have taken on debt for themselves, but we are paying for as much as we can.  Some people may say that is a mistake; I for one was not willing to start my kids out with a pile of debt.

Another thing that I think a family needs to really and truly look at when they get to a point that we are in is if they are living above their means.  And we are to the point that we know we are, and we are done with living that way.  The hard part for many families, as it was with us, is that we weren't living above our means at one time.  With the change in economy and the added medical expenses it happened slowly over time.

We are so excited to be moving on and ready for the next phase in our lives.  Although it is scary to be downsizing at this stage; it is a necessary evil.  I will share some of these tips and tricks with all of you too, if that is what you want, give me some feedback here...  So far, one of my rules is if it isn't antique or in isn't going!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

An American Tragedy

     Every day at 5:30 am my favorite radio station plays our National Anthem; normally I look forward to this and if I have a hat on, I proudly toss it off and place my hand over my heart (even if I am driving) and belt it out!  And I am sure whenever the Pledge of Allegiance is said, my voice can be heard ringing out clearly above the rest; that was until yesterday, and ironically I had to lead both of them in one day.  Yesterday, I slowly took off my hat, and I sang, but more with a dutiful song in my heart; my daughter was with me, we must teach them respect.  And when I led the Pledge of Allegiance at my meeting in the afternoon, my voice was the same as the others; I just didn’t have it in me.
      This is a very difficult story to share because it is so very personal, but if it were to help another family or two from making the same mistakes, no decisions that we made then this is a well worth it piece.  Where do I start?  With the loss of 1/3 of our income?  Maybe I should start with a real bang and try and explain those pesky medical bills, you know the almost $30,000 worth (even though we are considered well insured)?!?  The loss of our home?  No, to be honest I want to start with my family, because that is what really matters to me…bottom line.
      Well, if you haven’t met me, my name is Judy Jeute.  Up until last week, I was probably the most proud American you could meet.  My husband Tom (who is a machinist by trade, biker by choice) makes parts that go up into space (!) and for all sorts of medical parts; all of which are proudly stamped with Made In USA.  Together we have so very proudly raised the most amazing family; we now have two sons in college, a sophomore in high school and a sixth grader!  And I truly don’t mean to brag, but everyone tells me that they are the most respectful kids you’ll ever meet.  :)
       I’m really not sure what came first, my back going bad or the loss of income, it really all seems somewhat of a blur now; but in 2008 I started feeling hip pain.  It took my organized health care company two years to find a severely ruptured and herniated thoracic disc.  In October of 2010 I had to have emergency surgery after I had to write a letter to said organized health care because my doctor was literally joking and betting my husband a "nickel“ about the size my disc would be in the MRI he incorrectly ordered.  I now have permanent and severe nerve pain, but I am blessed to be able to walk.
      The loss of income is the same old American story, I’m afraid.  The bottom fell out of the economy and then our President decided to not support our space program which directly affected any company sending parts into space (!).  But I had also been working on building our small businesses; building our dreams.  We have been living on our little ranch here on the mountain and sharing our passion for it with the rest of the world.  That is really hard to do with a broken back…but I am the type of gal to roll with the punches, so I kept our website up.  Hoping that someday I would get better, and not only that, but I am always changing my business plan to adjust to my life changes.
       The first time we almost lost our home it was because of the HAMP program.  We had a heck of a time getting on that darn program in the first place, but I did it; all the while fighting for my life practically with an organized health system that would not listen to me.  Anyway, we finally got accepted into the program, did all of our trial payments and then less than a week before our first permanent payment was due they told us that our payment would be raised more than $450.  I don’t know many families of six that have a spare $450 in a week’s notice and we started off on the bad foot, and it all went downhill from there.  We ended up paying over $10,000 to pull it out of foreclosure.
       Right away we started getting calls from our mortgage company (Wells Fargo) that they could help us with a lower payment and a new in-house modification.  Although I was suspicious, we proceeded, thinking what could it hurt?  I got really concerned in December when our Home Preservation Specialist told us not to make a payment as it would “skew” her numbers.  In January we were told we had a good deal going and were even given preliminary terms, although they were terrible; they would have us automatically upside down in our home, we had dreams so it didn’t really matter.  We were told we would hear back by the 27th of January.
       On the 31st I was on the phone with a really nice representative from our second mortgage, which also happens to be Wells Fargo because it was one of those fancy deals where they “roll part of our mortgage into a second” thing…  Anyway I decided to tell this nice lady my concerns; like how Tom and I had each been leaving multiple messages and not hearing back and that we had been told not to make payments and that now I was afraid we were in a position of foreclosure again.  This wonderful gal finally got through to someone who just coldly told me that indeed our home is lost.  We have been denied our modification and we are in foreclosure.
                The sad thing is how we were denied.  They used my own hard working drive against me; the fact that I kept my website up and intend to not take this back injury lying down and want to still be a contributing member of society.  When we told them Tom had lost his overtime due to the bad economy, they saw that he gets 2.5 hours each week opening up the shop (on each and every paycheck that we sent, probably 12-14+) because he is the foreman, they took that out of the equation because it is not “reliable income”.  But what really concerns me is the dates of everything; our house was being taken back much faster than this modification process was working.  If we are lucky it looks like we have four months left in a home that we brought our youngest home to.
Which brings me back to my spectacular family; we actually only started out as five.  We officially grew to six when we adopted our oldest son’s best friend due to a tricky family situation.  His father wouldn’t fill out the paperwork to send him to college and we needed to get his cleft pallet fixed before adulthood or there is no fixing it at all.  We thank our lucky stars each and every day that he accepted us as his family; he is an amazing kid and will make us very proud parents when he graduates alongside our other son at college in 3 ½ years.
But our three boys are active; and alongside my multiple MRI’s, surgery, etc. for my back injury (that we never will find out exactly what injured it, I have severe Degenerative Disc Disease as well which may have caused it along with ranching and the good/hard life) we have had broken bones, head injuries and concussions.  All of which really add up when a family is called co-insured; with very high deductibles, co-pays, etc. but even higher premiums for both us and Tom’s employer.  It adds up to almost thirty grand of debt.
When I applied for Social Security Disability like my doctor encouraged me to do, to try and help out with some of these crazy bills they called me before they even had all of my documentation and literally laughed.  Laughed because I had been self-employed for all of those years before this happened, I was not entitled to any government income.  I went for help at our local resource center; if you have ONE child and an income under $75,000 you are considered in the high-risk category; but somehow with Tom’s income we simply didn’t match the criteria for one assistance program.  It was so very kind of that resource center to pay one of our heating bills with their own local money; a one-time deal.
I am not concerned about my family; we are a strong, well bonded unit that can withstand any storm that is tossed our way.  As I said, we have a plan and we have dreams; although as I write this I am totally shell shocked and in mourning for a home that is so full of memories and the markings of a family being raised; but the memories we will carry with us.  In a few days we will recover, strap on our boots and begin to pack up a lifetime.
My concern is for our country.  This, my proud family of six and the situation we are in, is a prime example of bank bailouts and organized health care.  But, we are one family in hundreds of thousands that this is happening to; and I for one think that is criminal.  As I said, this was a difficult story to share, but one worth getting out there if it will stop one more family from losing their home.  So where do we go from here?  Stay tuned.  I intend to talk more in the upcoming posts about the hows and whys of why I believe this was due to bank bailouts and why I believe that organized health care is a terrible idea.  I also will give some specific examples and tips as we go through the foreclosure process.  Again, if it can help another family, I am all for it.

Judy Jeute

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Crocodile Tears, from a Llama

20 years old
dressed to impress for a wedding at The Royal Roost

That is the only description for what I saw and cried in the last two days.  My Marcel slipped away peacefully in his sleep last night.  Yesterday when I went up to do the morning chores I knew he was dyeing.  He was down; just quietly eyeing me from the corner of the barn.

I just chatted with him while I did the turkeys and fed Hunter, the llama that I thought would die sooner than Marcel as he has been ill....but he never got up to greet me.  And when I went over and saw the single Crocodile Tear escape from his eye....

Many of you may know that Marcel is my lead llama, but what you may not know is that Marcel is also my very favorite llama ever.  He has saved me in the forest (from a cow, but he thought it was a real danger LOL) and been on every single pack trip that my business ever took!

So it killed me when I had to leave his side for a bit to celebrate my husband's birthday, but he made it until we came home and we all got to say goodbye to him.  My daughter saw him cry too; it was only when we talked about saying goodbye.  This was an amazing animal, with amazing instincts and emotions.  He will be missed dearly here at The Royal Ranch.

Thank you for your Leadership Marcel; you were the kindest Leader I have ever known.

Love Forever,
Mama J~