Thursday, June 28, 2012

Nearing the End of Season

I'm nearing the end of my goat milking season.  Truth be told I'm lazy and I've got Miss Jenny Cow getting ready to calve and I don't want to be squeezing too many teats in one day.

This beauty is my Sofia.  She had her first kid this year, Jezebel.  Shelly though Jezabel was so cute we ended up keeping her.  Sofia has proven to be a great milker, giving about a half gallon of milk at each milking.  She's part of my hillbilly tribe.  She is the daughter of Maggie who is my first and most beautiful goat.  Sofia is a Sable Saanen and gives great kisses.  She's helped feed 22 bummer lambs along with providing milk for my raw milk share program.  She's a wonderful lass.

This is Pearl, she came to us along with her sister Opal and mother Maggie.  She is about 9 or 10 years old and this year is her last for providing milk.  She will now spend the rest of her life chasing annoying sheep and eating until she can't stand another bite.  She'll probably get a chance to chase a few dogs too.  Pearl no like pooches.  She is the mother to my most favorite goat ever, Noah.  Noah lives over the hill in Guffey with a some of this year's kids and a couple of crazy women.  He's in good hands.

This is Tawny and she's a bit of a diva.  Can't have a picture of her eating!  She and her sister Ivory kidded for the first time for me this year.  They are both great goats.  Tawny is very vocal and tells it like it is.

And of course, there is Ivory!  She's got perfectly shaped teats, gets right up on the stand, doesn't ever dance and produces fine milk.

This is Chloe's baby girl who has yet to be named.  The ears just crack me up!  She will be on the stand in the next couple of years giving us her milk.  She's beautiful.

And in case you weren't sure, these are inappropriate shoes for doing chores and milking goats.  I have a yellow nail polish on that I borrowed from the kid, I don't have funky toes!  There is a little Norwegian/Scandinavian saying that goes something like:  "You know you are a Scandahoovian when.....your favorite footwear is socks and sandals."  I'm here to say that, that is more of a truism.  I love my socks and sandals.  I like my boots but would rather not wear tennis shoes unless I'm running somewhere.  Then I only run when there is food involved.

In other not so uplifting news:

The Waldo Canyon Fire continues to burn over the hill near Colorado Springs.  This evening the sad news will be delivered to 347 families, that their homes have been lost.  Please keep our friends and neighbors in your thoughts.  Flying W Ranch which has been a Colorado Springs institution and landmark for nearly 60 years burned completely.  As sad as that is, firefighters were able to save the entire herd of cattle that made the Flying W their home.  Despite being a good day on the line of the fire, I can't help but cry when I think of all those that have lost so much.  We've been doing what we can to help by donating to the Red Cross and offering our ranch to those that are displaced.  We are expecting some chickens and horses this weekend.  Still hard for me to wrap my head around what is happening.

***The three fire related pictures were borrowed from***

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Burning up!

As of this moment there are ten wildfires in my beautiful state, Colorado.  Two of them are in my backyard.  The Springer Fire had countless friends evacuated or on standby to evacuate.  It also had many friends working on the front lines.  The Waldo Canyon Fire is down the hill a bit and has evacuated the communities of Green Mountain Falls, Cascade, Chipeta Park and Manitou Springs as well as some parts of Colorado Springs. 

 Springer Fire
 Springer Fire
Springer Fire

The Waldo Canyon Fire erupted on Saturday and so far has spread to 2000 acres, evacuating many people including the entire city of Manitou Springs CO.
 Waldo Canyon Fire
 Waldo Canyon Fire
 Waldo Canyon Fire
Waldo Canyon Fire

As I type this the town of Elbert has evacuated 100 residences due to a brush fire.  

We could really use some rain.  If you have a couple of extra moments today, keep us in positive thought and practice that rain dance.

***Pictures from***

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

It was the best one yet!

Every since this--->

came home, I've been feeling the pressure!  It goes so well in my kitchen that I must win again next year.  So I've spent many, many moments thinking about PIE!   (Judy F., the previous sentence was not an inside joke between you and me...but I'm giggling anyway.)

This week has been filled with sleepless nights comprised of endless searches of all things PIE.  I looked around cooking blogs, perused punchfork until dawn, fast forwarded through hundreds of episodes of The Cooking Channel's programs.  I finally settled on a peach blackberry thing.  I spent the better part of the day with Shelly getting hay in Canon City.

The whole ride into town, she's promising me a stop at the grocery so I could pick up a few things.  Instead the closest I got to a store with food for purchase was Burger King.  After Burger King, she headed straight to Colon Orchards and loaded up hay.  She ended up with a few more big bales than she had originally planned.

Since this was Tom Truck's first haul since his upgrade (recall the blog about our trip to Denver to offload the sheep) Shelly decided that we'd better make haste and head up the hill.  For a split second I thought I'd slip a few apples into my bag when I was letting Izzy out to use the little girl's room.  The apples didn't look ready and I left my bag at home and I really don't need any negative Karma.  So I loaded my dog and my bad attitude and away we went.

Upon our arrival home, Shelly started whining about lunch.  I'm convinced it's a conditioned response with her.  We make the turn into the driveway and she starts salivating like Pavlov's dog.  Izzy and I walked to the house from the barn.  I'm supposed to be thinking about lunch but instead, I'm trying to remember what I have in the pantry so I can make a pie.  Izzy steps on me several times, as she's bounding from gopher hole to prairie dog hole.  I decide on steak, rice and broccoli for a lunch/dinner meal.  Things are going along swimmingly.  I get the food made and even manage to start some laundry.  As I finish grilling the steak and let Shelly know that she can some feed her face, I hear the buzzer on the dryer.  I set my steak on a plate to let it rest and head downstairs to fold the clothes.  I head back up the stairs when I'm done, thinking to myself, "Since I've made a large meal for lunch, I can skip making dinner and instead make a PIE."

As I top the stairs I see my lurch of a dog, standing in the kitchen licking her lips.  I think nothing of it until I see the plate.  There is no steak to be found.  The plate hasn't moved.  I know that Izzy has sucked it down.  Taco Dog and Virus Dog have not moved from their usual positions.  Not only did she inhale my entire hunk of meat but she didn't even share with her siblings.

I was so frustrated that I gave Izzy the stink eye.  I had lost my appetite.  I decided that a little alone time would probably be a good idea.  I headed down to the cow pasture to check on Jenny Cow.  Jenny Cow is expected to deliver her first calf in late July.  She's already showing signs of the coming baby with a filling udder and cocked tail.  I brought her up to the milking barn to get some extra cookies and a good brushing.  Jenny and I chatted about her upcoming due date and all the glorious milk she was going to give us.

After our time together I headed home and started baking.  I made a batch of shortbread cookies, let them cool and then smashed them for a crust.  Then I smooshed about 7.2 recipes together in my head and filled the crust with apples and some other yummy stuff.  I pull the pie from the oven and set it in the microwave to cool.  I start making a caramel whipped cream.  As the cream is getting fluffy in the stand mixer, Shelly asks me if the pie will be ready before we go to bed.  I decide to place the pie in the fridge to cool it quickly.  As I'm moving a jar of pickles to the side the unthinkable happens.  I drop the pie! 

Apparently, it was cool enough as Izzy managed to slurp up several mouthfuls before she realized that I was unhappy about the situation.  I scooped the remaining pie into the pig bucket and sulked away to their pen.  I came back to the house and realized that I had forgotten about the cream being whipped in the stand mixer.  I now have caramel butter.

I'm telling you that pie was the best pie I have ever made.  I have no idea what I put in it, what temperature I baked it at, or for how long.  It is forever lost because someone put the pickles in the wrong place in the fridge.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spa Day at Rolling Thunder

Today was haircut, pedicure, and dental day at Rolling Thunder Ranch.  Lots of pictures as I'm too pooped to write much.  Things went pretty swimmingly anyway.  We were done earlier than previous years as we didn't have too many sheep this year.  It was however, our first year for the alpacas and llamas.  We've had a couple llamas for many years.  We purchased them to guard the sheep and goats, to which they have done an outstanding job.  Since we now have alpacas, it was high time that our guard llamas got a good spa day too.  I don't recognize some of them now.  Mama Llama feels like a new woman and a couple of the alpacas went right out and had a swim in the stock tank.  Weird creatures!

 Copenhagen with a new do!

 Fowler getting his very first shear.  He chatted through the whole thing.
 Fowler and his harem after their appointment.

 Pencil neck alpacas.

 Shelly lining up the next one.
 Teeth trimming.
 No spitting allowed.
 Aren't we lovely?
 Heave!  HO!
 Maya before
 Oreo was very vocal and her sock was green when it was over.
 Oreo afterward
 Mama Llama

 The Sheep had their turn too!
 Of course Nubie!
Mama Llama was in heaven.  She'll probably stay clear of any human until next year at this time.  Nice to see her happy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Great Day!

Yesterday Shelly and I were scheduled to take a group of ewes and a ram and a few lambs to a buyer in Denver.  Where in Denver we weren't exactly sure.  I love trips that include the phrase "not exactly sure" (typed with a sarcastic font).  Shelly got the ewes and the ram loaded with no problems.  I was loading the baby lambs into a kennel when one of the ewes started rubbing on Shelly.  Shelly got a little emotional and explained that the ewe was her favorite, she was docile and would come up to her frequently and rub on her.  The ewe is about a 172 years old and would surely be taken to sale and sold off as mutton.  Shelly gave me that look.  Needless to say the ewe stayed home.  She will become a companion to Shelly's ram Nubie.  I can't say no to that look. 

The first part of the trip went fine.  Other than Izzy Dog's gas problem, it was great as far as a road trip to the city with a "not exactly sure" destination goes.  I demanded a stop in Castle Rock for cherry dip cone at the DQ.  I figured it was the least Shelly could do since I gave the ewe a reprieve.  Just inside of Denver we were able to contact the buyer of the ovine and got directions to his ranch.  The offloading of the sheep went swimmingly and we headed out as quickly as we arrived.  The trip home was going smoothly or so I thought.  I didn't need a stop in Castle Rock but as Colorado Springs neared and began to feel the pressure of the three or so gallons of ice tea that I had consumed.  I was telling Shelly that I would need a pit stop and Shelly was ignoring me.  She was ignoring me and I smelled smoke.  She was thinking about something.  When I started to say something again she shushed me.  I turned my attention to the sound of the truck.  It didn't seem to be shifting as smooth as it should.  Shelly pulled into a gas station with a large empty lot next to it.  I went to the restroom.  Upon my return, I was informed that Tom Truck had 1st gear and reverse.  My cell phone (Shelly left hers at home) has been demanding that I plug in my charger eons ago.  With what juice was left on the cell, we called a tow company.   The company's dispatcher asked what kind of truck we had.  Shelly emphatically replied with, "A really big, heavy truck."  Love her technical terms.  I would have probably said that Tom Truck was a one ton, diesel with a crew cab and a long bed.  But heck, it wasn't me on the phone.  In the next ten minutes, my cell phone received 7 automated messages from the tow company letting us know that there was a truck on the way to our location. 

The wrecker arrived in about 20 minutes.  I was impressed, for a moment.  The driver got out of his truck, looked at us, looked at Tom Truck, looked at us again and shrugged his shoulders.  He asked Shelly if she told the dispatcher that she had a big truck.  Shelly nodded and said yes.  He walked around the truck several times.  Then he backed up and loaded Tom Truck up.

As the rollback came into position, the wrecker bobbled about and gave my heart a bit of a jump.  The driver then walked around the two trucks several times.  He then went to the front of the wrecker and stared at the front tires.  After a few minutes of staring, he called his dispatch and requested a different truck.  The driver pointed out to Shelly that the front tires were not putting enough tread on the ground.  Tom Truck was too heavy and in my opinion too long.  The driver unloaded the truck.  While we stood waiting for another driver and wrecker, our rescuer Moe Moe showed up with our Tahoe.  The wrecker driver assured us that they would get Tom Truck to the shop we requested so we hooked up the trailer, with our dogs in the back and headed up the hill.  We had giggles on the way home and made it home in time to enjoy more giggles at dinner with friends.  The whole event with the tow truck made me miss my father.  Pop operated a towing service for several years, in fact he was loading a car onto his own wrecker in Florissant when he had his first heart attack.  Pop went into the gas station he was at, told the clerk he was having trouble catching his breath, requested that she make a phone call to 911, and went back outside and finished loading the car.  He said he had just finished when he noticed the fire department and a Flight For Life helicopter landing on the highway. 
Today we had planned a trip to the zoo with friends.  Thankfully!  This last week has been a whirlwind.  Jolene finished school for the year.  She was voted the most likely to appear on Fear Factor.  This was something I was not surprised by.  We also jetted to Pueblo on Thursday evening to watch Jolene's first softball games of the season.  I was very excited.  Shelly was cranky and Jolene was full of worry.  Thankfully it all ended up just great.  Shelly only consumed a bag of sunflower seeds, three tacos at Chipolte, two hot dogs at the game and three bottles of Gatorade. 

The kid is playing 3rd base and Shortstop this year.  It's a huge change for me.  Jolene played catcher most of the time last year and I REALLY enjoyed taking pictures.  Maybe it just these particular games, they won by 18-0 and 16-2, but I find watching her play 3rd base really boring.

The zoo was a great distraction from the hustle of the last week and the upcoming plans for this week.  Shelly and are members of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs.  We haven't been able to go as much lately as I'd like.  Occasionally we just stop by and feed the giraffes.  They are Shelly's favorite and they are right inside the entrance.  Today I purchased a frequent feeder card for her.  According to the website you can save 25%, and I'm all about saving the green.  I figured she's use at least half of the punches today and it might be incentive to get away again soon.  I thought wrong.  Shelly used up the entire punch card today.  It was well worth it though.

Each time we go I debate as to whether or not I should take my camera.  For some reason I think lugging it around is way too much work.  I'm glad I took it today.  I only got pictures at the giraffes but reliving Shelly's facial expressions is always good fun. 

Okay I lied.  I did get this picture of Shelly and Jim enjoying the mist machine.  It makes me giggle too, and you can't beat that. 

We are scheduled to have the sheep, alpacas and llamas sheared on Wednesday.  I'm hoping that I will get a frantic phone call from someone and that someone will require that I leave the ranch for the daylight hours.  I hate shearing.  Uncle Dario has been giving the haircuts the past couple of years and the only reason I hung around was so that I could visit with Uncle and my Aunt Lori.  This year Uncle came to his senses and scheduled a fishing trip or something so we have a new shearing company coming. 

Other than that things are about the same around here.  We continue to have a long list of  "To Dos" and not enough days in the week to get them all done.