Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Return of an Old Friend

Words cannot express the joy in my heart when I heard her coming down the driveway.

For years she was my trusty steed guiding me safely all over the ranch. Then she got all tuckered out and went into a deep hibernation in the shop.  For years she slept. This winter Mark started reviving her and today she roars again.  Yay!  Long live the Kubota.  

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

While We Were Away

the animals did play and we had a couple mini catastrophes.

Came home to Spring!

We went hiking for 2 weeks down in SoCal and had a fantastic time.  If you are new to our page, you might not know this, but we love long backpacking trips.   We are section hiking the whole PCT and try to squeeze in a couple of hikes on it each year.  You can check out our recent hike and other hikes at

Cheers to hiking!

People sometimes ask how we get away from a ranch.  Well, we have wonderful family and friends who regularly check in on the place and the animals.  We have also tried to set everything up so that we can be gone for a couple of weeks without too much for others to do.  We have auto water and multiple large feeders for the hens and a timed, hanging, game feeder for the barn cats.  The hogs have a feeder that holds a ton of food and this time of year they have grass and grubs to forage for as well.  The cattle likewise, do their own thing in regards to food and water, as there is usually plenty of both. 

BUT- we never plan our hikes when animals are birthing.

We thought we didn't this time.

I am new to hog farming.  Everything I read online and in my books said sows will not breed back until you wean the piglets.  Everything I read said this.  Well,  not everything you read is correct because my sows delivered a month early without us around and they must have squished most of their piglets as they only have 4 left between two sows.  Crazy.  (I usually help make sure they don't squish the newborn piglets when they are in labor as the sows can roll around a bit).  I felt pretty guilty at first and it is a financial loss, but live and learn.  Some sows will breed back while their piglets are still suckling.  They most certainly will. 

Half of the new piglets!

Another mishap this time was our goldfish and koi.  Apparently an otter came into our yard and ate every fish.  Every year we get an otter than comes in, but I usually see it and make a big fuss chasing it off, not this time.  It had a feast and all our fish are gone.  Every single one of them.  The good thing is that we need to clean out the goldfish pond and build a screen to go over the top so that the otter can't get in and it will also keep our grandsons from falling in.  We have been wanting to do this, but all the fish we had complicated things. 

There is always something to learn from fails. 

I do not fail,
I succeed in finding out what does not work. 

Tiny Calypso Orchid,  English Daisy, Wild Iris

Monday, March 21, 2016

Our Kingdom

It's currently raining, but we've had some sunny weather of late and you can almost hear the grass growing.  You can hear the multitude of tree frogs singing for a mate.  Their chirping, you can't call it croaking, is incessant.  Sort of like the media's non stop coverage of Trump. 

I blame my current obsession with politics on the flu.   I was well one moment and within an hour I had a fever, head ache, body aches and a bit of a cough.  I told Mark I think I had the plague.  He laughed at me hobbling around all hunched over and wearing sunglasses in the house because the lights hurt my eyes.  Then 2 days later he apologized when it overtook him. 

 We laid around for the first two weeks of February and had intermittent fevers and extreme fatigue.  We watched tv.  I watched too much tv and became more and more alarmed with the GOP front runner. I began online background searches of The Donald.  I was as bad as the media in my constant 'coverage' of him.  I became more and more alarmed.   I started posting a few things of opposition to him on Facebook.   All of my conversations would tend to flow into politics.  

I'm still trying to break this addiction. 

I still wonder, Who am I becoming and What is happening in America?  

You know the ranch is kind of like a mini kingdom.  Full of animals, plants and resources that have different needs and different wants.  As the King and Queen we have to keep all of these needs in mind while still trying to balance the books.  We try to be sustainable by making decisions that allow us to make a living and still maintain a healthy ecosystem that is enjoyed by all who reside here.  We also try to be good neighbors because our kingdom is just a small piece of the larger watershed.  

To my simple mind it appears that this is what is missing in our politics.  It is too much about team red or team blue winning or losing and not enough about doing what is best for the people.  All our people. People of all race, religion and creed.    It is time to not play left or right politics,  but work together to come up with solutions.  As I heard Governor Kasich recently say, it's time we put being Americans first, before being a republican or a democrat, and work together and lift this country. 

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Saga of a Wandering Boar Comes to an End

We made this short video from the far side of Salmon Creek. 

We were on a journey to find our boar, Redwood, who has been hanging out at one particular homestead a tad too long.  Wild sows were involved.  We can take a quad to this particular neighbor in about 35 minutes using ranch roads in various states of disrepair, but to take a trailer we have to use better quality roads and it takes almost 2 hours, one way. 

The first attempt,  (yes, there were multiple attempts) we took our cattle trailer and ended up having to cut a small fir tree down when a particular tight corner had it sliding off the road and getting stuck. Then a half mile from our destination we realized we couldn't get across the last bridge with our trailer.  Ugh!  We parked it and walked up to where Redwood was last seen.  I began calling his name and he ran off a hill right at us.  Yikes!  Having a six or seven hundred pound boar charge at you is kind of intimidating and I quickly handed Mark the grain bucket and hightailed it behind a tree.  He was still our friendly fellow though and we began the slow process of trying to coax him the half mile back to where our trailer and  truck were parked.  He was  happy to oblige and we were patting ourselves on the back for having such a amendable boar when he stopped, threw his head in the air, sniffed and turned around and headed back up the hill.  Mark went after him and gave him his grain, hoping that he would later remember its tastiness when we returned.

The following day, we borrowed a neighbor's smaller, bumper pulled trailer, as it wouldn't cut the corners and should be able to make it across the last bridge.  Back down the creek drainage we drove and then up the other side.  We made it across the bridge and around all the corners with no problems and arrived early in the day at our neighbor's place.  I hollered and Red came a running again and followed Mark right down to the trailer.  It took a bit of coaxing to get him in, but he did load after about 10 minutes.  This is a short video of him following Mark.

After our excursions to get the boar back home, Mark decided, no more boar.  It was either a new home or a dirt grave.  I put his photo(the boar's not Mark's) on craigslist and, luckily for him, had multiple offers.  We picked one that was fairly close by, loaded him up and delivered him to his new home and new girlfriend.  We hope it works out for him.   I kind of miss him already.  He really was a sweet boar, as far as boars go.   If only he would have stayed close by like the rest of our hogs do, but he heard the call of a stronger drive than food. 

Redwood the Redwattle/Tamworth Boar

The new owners agreed to let us use him when our sows need to bred again.  We are happy about that as he makes quick growing and tasty pigs, and I will get to see him again and give him a scratch behind the ears.