Mixed Messages

We seem to get a lot of people hunting or riding ATVs on our property without permission. So I decided to put up a few no trespassing signs. Check out the placement of the one below. I’m not sending mixed messages am I?

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It’s My God-given Right…

It’s my God-given right to:

  • Empty every last little bit of trash out of my car when I get gas
  • Try every sample at Costco and walk away during the sales pitch without feeling any guilt
  • Get new sheets and towels EVERY day in a hotel and not feel guilty about the environment
  • Look at all the hot chicks I want to. If they’re displaying it, I can look as long as I don’t touch. The Wife and I have an understanding on that.
  • Rudely end a sales call…particularly if they won’t take no for an answer when I’m nice
  • Pee outside. I live on a 20-acre ranch. I can find plenty of places to fulfill this primal need without exposing myself to the public.
  • Get 27 refills of my soft drink if the restaurant offers free refills

It’s my God-given right.

Lights Out

We had a major thunderstorm last night. It took our power out for a couple of hours. Having the power go out really messes me up. You’ll find me stumbling around the house searching for flashlights and candles. We have plenty of them, but I think that they have some secret evil pact in which they hide from me when I actually need them. Plus, there must have been at least a dozen times that I walked into a room and thought to myself “Hey, it’s dark in here…I need to turn the light on.” And I actually tried turning it on before realizing that…duh…it won’t work.

After the rain passed, we grabbed some lawn chairs, a few brewskies, and headed out to watch the storm. We just love watching thunderstorms at night. It was in the distance, so it wasn’t that risky. We had some nice conversation and enjoyed the nice breeze. Good times.

Eggcellent

Our hens have started laying eggs! Of course, they are overachievers. They are not supposed to lay eggs until about 9 months of age and it has been only 6 months. So we have been scrambling to get roosting boxes setup so that they are not laying eggs on the floor of the coop. However, the eggs are tiny. Is this normal? I guess we’ll see if they get bigger. Sweet. With all this effort, we can now save like $1.50 on eggs per week. Watch out Bill Gates!

 

Fire on the Ranch, Part II

As you may recall from a previous post, I had a “little” fire incident not too long ago. A few days after that, I was looking over the areas that didn’t get burned and decided that I’d better get it mowed to reduce the danger of another fire. The grass was pretty tall and very dry. So I went out and spent about an hour mowing it. The ground was very dry and I was kicking up dust like crazy. When I was finished, I was covered in dust from head to toe.

I went inside and got cleaned up. About 20 minutes later, I just went to the back door to have a look outside. To my horror, I saw 3 fire trucks out in our field. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t imagine that I had started a fire while mowing without noticing it. I slipped some shoes on, grabbed a flashlight, and headed out. While walking out, I didn’t see any smoke or flames. I was puzzled.

I walked up and greeted the guys and asked what was going on. They said that they had received reports of smoke in the area and thought that maybe our fire from a few days ago had flared up. So they were headed up to check it out. I explained that I had been mowing and that had stirred up a lot of dust, so that might be what what people were seeing.

I was also puzzled as to why they were just sitting there rather than continuing on up to where the previous fire was (you know, they area they wanted to check out). It was then that I noticed that the lead truck was buried up to its axle in mud. We had done some irrigation since the fire and the ground they tried to drive across was saturated. It probably took them 20 minutes to finally get the truck pulled out of the mud.

Sheesh, now I can’t even mow without the fire department being involved. We may yet be asked to leave town. 🙂

Little Boys and Matches

It really was with the best of intentions that I set some piles of used animal bedding on fire last Wednesday. It was burning along quite nicely. Then along came the wind. No sweat though. I was ready with a shovel and the water hose. I actually spent a couple of hours dousing it. It seems that the pesky fire didn’t want to go out. Finally, it seemed to be out. However, to my surprise, it was smoldering again Thursday morning. No biggie. I doused it again for awhile. Then when The Wife got home from work, she turned the sprinkler on it.

She went to bed and asked the Older Daughter to keep an eye on things. In the mid-afternoon, the Older Daughter told The Wife that there were some flames. No problem. She was instructed to move the sprinkler over to water that hot spot. Well, thing starting going bad really fast from here. Now it seems that the Older Daughter simply had to take a shower as The Wife went back to sleep. Oh yeah, and Mr. Wind decided that this was a good time for him to blow.

The Wife was awakened to the kids screaming about the field being on fire. Looking out, she saw 5-foot-high flames and a racing fire. She called 911 and then headed out with the kids to do what they could while waiting for the fire department. She first stopped the flames heading toward the house. Then she raced over and put herself between the flames and the pasture fence to prevent it from spreading into the horse pasture.

Several hours and several fire trucks later, the fire was under control. Probably about 4 acres were charred. Here’s a small section of the burn:

Now I was at work when this all started. When I got the call from The Wife, she had some choice words for me that I really can’t repeat here. Also, I believe there was some sort of mention of homicide or something like that. Somehow, I survived and am able to report to you. (In other words, she didn’t break my fingers to prevent me from setting more fires.)

Hey, here’s something you don’t see everyday. Where else can you find a cow, a fire truck, and a fire fighter dousing flames…all in the same picture? This may by an Internet first.

By the way, thankfully no humans, animals, or property were harmed in the making of this fire.

Our New Babies

No, we didn’t go out and get any new animals…really. I just thought I would provide a quick update on our meager attempt at a garden. Behold baby cucumbers plants:

And baby pumpkin plants:

I looked at my thumb and it is still not green. However the plant are, so that’s good. I heavy dose of rain helped for the first 10 days. Now that the temperatures are getting into the 90s, I have to remember to give the things water.

This weekend we may plant another hill of cucumbers so that we have an ongoing supply through late summer and early fall.

What the Duck?

Okay, somebody needs to stop us. We can’t seem to stop adding animals to our petting zoo. Let me introduce you to our ducks:

Okay, so here’s the real story. It turns out that the chickens are not going to work out with the petting zoo. Despite the fact that we have been handling them on a daily basis to try and keep them tame, they still freak out every time they are touched. That doesn’t work so good when you are having small children try to pet them. It just so happens that these adorable ducks absolutely love attention and cuddling. They are a much better fit.

Not to worry about the chickens. We are keeping them around for the eggs.

 

Farmer Brown, at Your Service

As you may know, we have approximately 5 billion animals. Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. I believe the Older Daughter took the time to count and found that the number was 26.

Anyway, since we have so much free time on our hands, we decided to start a small garden this year. A few weeks ago, I planted a couple of tomato starts courtesy of a friend who had way too many. Funny thing is, The Wife is the only one in the household that likes tomatoes. She even asked why I was planting them. My reply was, “can’t we do something nice just for you?”

The Younger Daughter and I went out this evening and planted a hill of cucumbers and 3 hills of pumpkins. So the tomatoes and cucumbers will be for our use and any we’ll give any extras to friends. With the pumpkins, we’ll keep a couple but hope to sell the rest. You know, another attempt to make this ranch pay its own way. It won’t be any sort of huge windfall, but every little bit helps.

We have talked about having a garden for years, but this is the first time we actually followed through. So I have no idea if this thing will actually work. I mean, I took a look at my thumb and it is not the least bit green. Good or bad, you’ll see and here the results right here. Stay tuned…

A Beautiful Day on the Ranch

As if having a birth wasn’t enough, it was also just an all-around beautiful day. The temperature was perfect and we got lots of work done. Of course, I’d rather just sit on my butt, but it was a satisfyingly productive day. The bonus was the skies. The clouds were amazing. They almost appeared to be too crisp and perfect–like they were animated.

In the evening, we were treated to a great sunset:

Awesome day!

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It’s a Boy!

You may recall from a previous post that we acquired a very pregnant miniature donkey a couple of weeks ago. We had anticipated her giving birth any day, but it had drug on almost 2 weeks. Well, The Wife and I went out to feed the animals this morning and she remarked that it would be funny if we walked around the corner and saw a new baby. I poo-pooed that thought and I questioned if the donkey was really pregnant rather than just very fat–maybe we were duped by the people we bought her from.

Well, sure enough, Cleo had given birth to a bouncing baby boy overnight. Judging from the birthing scene and the fact that he was still a little wet, we think that we only missed it by a few hours. We were bummed because we really wanted to capture the birth on video. Anyway, behold the cuteness:

As you can see, he is quite healthy and already on his feet–though he is understandably unsteady on them. The kids have anointed him Eeyore. Here he is grabbing a quick snack from mom:

Our Newest Family Member

Okay, we couldn’t resist adding just one more member to our growing petting zoo family. I would like to introduce you to Cleo, a miniature donkey:

In case you couldn’t tell, she is very pregnant. She should be giving birth anytime now. I’ll post (excruciatingly) cute pictures when the time comes.

Killdeer Time

 

It’s time once again for the killdeer to lay their eggs. These are some pretty cool birds. They lay their eggs on the ground–creating a slight depression to hold the eggs. They often lay the eggs in gravel or near a dirt road. The eggs almost look like rocks and can be difficult to spot. Here is the nest I ran onto this evening:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Obviously having a nest on the ground can be dangerous and very susceptible to predators. However, the killdeer have an answer for this. As you (or a predator) approaches, mom will run from the nest. Then she will suddenly fake a broken wing (to entice the predator). As you follow her, she always stays just a step ahead, though it appears that she can barely walk, let alone fly. When she feels that you are far enough away from the nest, she will fly off.

Ah, but behold the cuteness of a baby killdeer:

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Culture Shock

We kept very busy this weekend. We started off by providing (in conjunction with another 4-H club) the petting zoo at the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Caldwell on Saturday. This was an all-day event. It was a lot of work and very little money (provided as a donation to our 4-H clubs). However, it was a huge success. I can also see that with the petting zoo business we are starting up that the pay is not going to be only in money, but in smiles. There’s nothing more rewarding than seeing a little kid be excited and smile ear-to-ear as they hug a cuddly critter.

We also got to enjoy a lot of Mexican culture. The band stage was directly across from us. This allowed us to enjoy some great music–even if it was a little too loud at times with the speakers pointed directly at us. I also learned that there is more than one way to enjoy corn on the cob. I went up to a food stand to order corn in the cob on a stick–just like at the fair. The conversation went something like this:

Other guy: What would you like?

Me: I’d like corn on the cob please.

Other guy: Would you like that with mayo, parmesean cheese, and chili powder?

Me: (scratching my head) On my corn on the cob?

Other guy: Yes.

Me: Okay, what the heck. Give me the works.

I felt bad that I had no clue that this is Mexican-style corn on the cob. But I tried something new and loved it! It was great. Don’t get me wrong. You’ll pry my butter-dripping corn cob out of my cold, dead hands. However, I tried something new, loved it, and would definitely have it again.

Big Toys for Big Boys

Here’s my newest toy–a Kubota tractor. We brought this back on our spring break trip. Some dear friends gave it to us. I guess the story was that it was given to them, so they simply passed it on. “Pay it Forward”, if you will.

Now she’s not the prettiest tractor on the block, but she runs great. Just a few minor repairs and some implements and we’re set for simplifying some of the ranch work.

Heavy Petting

As most of my regular readers know, we own a small ranch. So far, it has just been “hobby” ranching. (Translation, all of our money that doesn’t go to the oil companies goes to maintaining the ranch and animals.)

However, we have now decided to start a small business to help offset some of the ranching costs. So, we will soon be starting up a petting zoo. This will be a traveling operation where we will setup a petting zoo at birthday parties, etc. We have successfully done volunteer petting zoos through our 4-H club. However, we are seeing an unmet demand for petting zoos for hire.

We already have pygmy goats and plan to add rabbits, chickens, and a miniature horse. We may add other animals if this thing takes off.

This week, we actually picked up a couple of rabbits that we found through the classifieds. They are 5-week-old Lionhead rabbits. Take a look.

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A Porsche as a Ranch Vehicle?

The Porsche Cayenne is a luxury mid-sized SUV that was introduced in 2003. The Turbo has a 4.8 liter, 500 horse power engine than can go from 0 to 60 in 4.9 seconds. Porsche also touts it’s off-road capabilities with its amazing traction and stability systems. The “stripped-down” model starts at $43,400, while the Turbo goes for $93,700.

Oh, I forgot to mention the towing capacity–12,000 pounds for the Turbo model. I saw one in action today, and now I have seen everything. Yes, I should just close up shop with this blog because this has to be the last interesting thing I ever experience. A saw…a Porsche…towing…a horse trailer.

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