Friday, December 31, 2010

This was the year...

This was the year I took a trip to Seattle, Costa Rica and of course a few trips to California to see my family and friends. 


This was the year more healthy babies were born.

My good friend Aubs and Maris had beautiful baby boys and my handsome nephew Siley was born! 

This was the year that good friends came to visit me in Colorado!

This was the year our family of two grew by one furry dog,

hundreds of sheep...

some goats and horses...

and 11 working dogs!

This year started and ended like any other year; trips were taken, babies were born and memories were made. 2010 however, will hold a special place in my heart. This is the year my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer, the year we quit our jobs and moved to the ranch. This is the year I became a Sheep Rancher's  Wife.
For 2011 I'm not going to make any New Year's Resolutions or make a 2011 To-Do list because if I've learned anything this year it is that plans don't always go as planned. I can make a list to do a million things but in an instant my priorities can and will change. Instead I am making a vow to enjoy the moments in 2011 and to simply roll with the punches.

I look forward to what 2011 has in store!


A Rancher's Wife

Thursday, December 30, 2010

just an update.

Welp, I quit the job I absolutely hated and started a new one! woo hoo! This one I think I will really enjoy.

The job switch allowed me to take a trip home to California for ten days. Ten days! I spent Christmas with my family which was such a wonderful gift.

J wasn't able to make the trip since the sheep needed to be moved to Aztec, NM (the winters are milder there). This is a trek they make every Christmas so we decided after this year we will try and spend Thanksgiving in CA and Christmas here, on the ranch.

Meanwhile back on the ranch things are covered with lots of snow and I have a snow day today! J is out plowing, the rams, goats and dogs are trying to stay warm while the ewes are in NM getting good feed and hopefully all pregnant! :) The ranch got two new Border Collie pups, but no names yet. Jiggy is doing well and playing hard, as always.

It was a great visit with the family and a wonderful holiday season but I sure am glad to be back just in time to ring in 2011 with my little, happy family.

Ready for some cuteness?!
Here are our two new pups!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Evening prayer.

You know those people that are afraid of their own shadow? Yeah, that's me. So you can imagine when J said he would like to go to a sheep industry conference and he'd be gone two nights how stoked I was.

That was a joke. 

I did o.k. running from my car door to the front door of our home. Let Jiggy inside and locked the door behind me. Phew! Is it always this dark out here in the country?!

I did o.k. after I threw the bedroom door open in an attempt to scare off anyone who may have been hiding underneath my bed. Nothing jumped out at me. Safe. 

I did o.k making dinner with my back against the wall so I can see if anyone was sneaking up behind me. Hah! That'll show any robber trying to sneak up on me! 

I did o.k. sitting on the couch not moving, in fear that my own quick movements would scare me. That's okay..I'm always this still. ;)

I did o.k. throwing back the sheets on the bed to check for spiders. This I do every night anyway. 

I kissed Jiggy on the nose and said goodnight to her like I do every night and crawled in bed. Cozy. Warm. Tired. One night down, one more to go. I did o.k. today.

I say my evening prayer and thank God for this beautiful, wonderful life. I thank him for all we have and the opportunities he's given us. I am so grateful and happy. Content. 

Just as I am drifting off I hear scratching. In the wall. We have mice. The first night I am alone. The first night of two! You have got to be kidding me. NOT o.k.

It was a test and I passed. I passed last night because I brought Jiggy in the room and she guarded me from those monstrous, murderous, dangerous mice. Yes, this is the same dog that runs from deer and she too is afraid of her own shadow, but I believe that she will protect me if I were in danger. 

Okay, maybe not so much, but it helped.

I tucked myself in the covers (burrito style) like I used to do when I was 5 years old and scared. I squeezed my eyes shut and went to bed. Or at least tried to besides it was too late to call over to my in-laws and ask if I can come over.

I will pass this test again tonight, I'll do o.k. even if it is because I will sleep just down the road at my in-laws.
Jigs, the guard dog.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter Wonderland

It snowed over the weekend and everything looks beautiful including our pups!

The dogs looked fenced up here, but don't worry your pretty little head, they aren't. The dogs stay in the large pens with the sheep but jump through the fences when they want out. I'll work on getting video of this. It's pretty impressive. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Country Living 101: Country Plumbing

What the hell is a septic tank and aren't there city officials that take care of the underground plumbing when there is a problem? 
Oh, riiight
We aren't in the city and we have a septic system. ::sigh::
Over the holiday weekend the bathroom saw a little too much action. The septic tank clogged. For my friends in the city that don't know what a septic tank is, it is an underground holding tank for waste which is broken down by naturally occurring bacteria, destroying the pathogens aka 'crap'. Literally. 

J and our brother-in-law went out to try and "un-clog" the clog. I asked the stupid question, "Do you need any help?" What the heck was I thinking?! Out I go, to hold the flashlight as they stick a long hose up the pipe. Did I mention it's cold, dark and snowing? I walk out to the tank and not knowing what I was looking at, I is that mud not covered by snow? Well, it wasn't mud and I was looking at the inside of the septic tank. My brother-in-law opened the tank and was stepping over the opening of the tank jamming hose up the pipe. I just kept thinking to myself "please don't fall in, please don't fall in and if you do please do it when I'm back inside." Then I was thinking of a clever way to help get out of helping. I just couldn't stand to look. 

After about thirty minutes of 'helping' I went inside and kept envisioning one of the guys falling into the 'mud'. Three hours later it was decided that they will call a septic tank professional in the morning. 

$100 dollars later, turns out it was hair and toilet paper that clogged the system. 
So, what have I learned from this experience? Many things, but one is NEVER ask to help when the situation is an unfamiliar one or involves a toilet. 

By the way the septic tank "professional" says he clears $100,000 a year. After I thought about what he did all day, every day I had no problem believing it. He deserves every penny.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Gringo vs. Sage

Speed vs. Size.

Do you notice Jiggy wagging her tail at the back door? All she is worried about is getting inside.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Twas the week of Thanksgiving, but I just couldn't sleep.

I tried counting backwards, I tried counting sheep. - author unknown

The holiday season is upon us and a depression cloud with my name all over it is working it's way over the rockies because the holidays just won't be the same for me this year. The new j-o-b isn't very generous with holiday time-off and we'll work Wednesday and Friday which rules out a (long) weekend trip home to Southern California. Bah-humbug, right? Right. Oh, but we get a ham and beer as a thank you! um. okay.

This year I will stay on the ranch with the hubby, in-law's and Jiggy. I will stuff my face with ham and beer and try not to be to grouchy because after all I do have tons to be thankful for this year. The ham and beer being one. 

On a more serious note, I am truly grateful for so many things this year. Things that weren't in the 'plans' but happened anyway and changed our lives drastically. People that stumbled in my life and are now my best friends. Trips that were taken and memories made. Health of friends and family that faltered but got/is getting back on track. A job I don't like one bit but is paying the bills. I'm grateful for it all. We've given up lots this year but gained so much more because of it. God really does work in mysterious ways. Life and all of it's trials is a blessing. 

I leave you with a picture. 
The Rams got out onto the county road. 
Anyway, this picture cracks me up. I love how Jigs is running the opposite way...some days she just couldn't care less about the sheep or working. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

(Not) Getting Jiggy With It.

Jiggy doesn't seem to care that Will Smith has written a song about her. I played it and she fell asleep. Guess she's heard this tune before.

This was her response. 
*Please excuse her dirty paws...she plays hard. 

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's winter time.

Before we quit our jobs and moved here my husband was living his dream. Literally.

There were three things he just knew he wanted to do when he grew up.
1. Go to CU Boulder and major in Film. Done.
2. Work for Poor Boyz Productions and make "sick-ass" ski films. Done.
3. Work for Warren Miller Entertainment, one of the most highly respected winter-sport action film companies in the US. Done.

By the age of 27 he had accomplished his goals. Pretty bad ass if I don't say so myself. When his dad was diagnosed with cancer there wasn't a moment of hesitation, we knew we needed to leave our jobs and help out on the ranch.

If there was anyone who enjoyed his job more than he did it was me. I say that because I LOVED talking about what he did and how much he loved it. He grew up on the slopes and wanted to make a career out of it. I never had big dreams growing up so I guess you could say I lived vicariously lived through him. I loved telling people that he was off on a film shoot in Iceland, Utah, Washington, SW Colorado, Northern California, and so many other awesome places.

So, winter is upon us and this will be the last Warren Miller Film that will have his name all over the credits. He's going out with a bang though folks because his cameo in this year's film Wintervention is the best part of the entire movie if you ask me, but then again I'm a bit biased.

It's bittersweet for both of us, but obviously moreso for J. He told me that he already misses it and in the same sentence he also told me he is happy to be working for himself and knowing that his hard work is going right back into his own business.

Skiing is his favorite pastime and when he started filming on the slopes for work (which meant carrying heavy packs and tons of camera equipment, skiing to get a shot and not that awesome line) it became just I'm excited for him to get out and ski with his childhood friends again for fun this time and so is he.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

She did it!

Jigs surprised the heck out of us this Saturday! Remember how we thought here that she just wasn't going to make it as a working dog? Guess all she needed was some time because look who rounded up a small bunch of the sheep this weekend?!

Oh Jigsy-poo is a working dog after all! Three days later I'm still beaming with pride.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Beautiful sight.

This was Sunday evening's sunset. What a wonderful way to end a wonderful weeked.

In the Doghouse

I thought I would tell you about the run in we had with our neighbors dog. A few days ago his dog got into our sheep and attacked one of our lambs.

This lamb, out of the hundreds we have has a special place in my heart. He was an orphan lamb (these are called 'bummers') and he has to be bottle fed milk replacer daily. He's come to love people and will walk right up to you. It's really the sweetest thing. He's a lot smaller than the other lambs and this is because he didn't get the nutrition he needed to grow properly from his mama. OK totally digressing, but I hope you have a picture of a sweet, cuddly little lamb in your mind.

Now imagine this helpless lamb being approached by a crazy dog! This dog came over, into our land and the little bummer, now called 'BD' for Bummer-Dude was probably ready to play, but the dog had dinner on his mind and ambushed Bummer-Dude's hind leg. Our herder Alberto found him a bit later, he was limping and obviously in a lot of pain.

Alberto has been doctoring him daily and Bummer-Dude is healing well, but that dog better watch it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

What grade are you?

Yes, I've joined the Parent-Teacher-Student-Association. No, I'm not a parent, teacher or student.

Some parents look at me weird since I don't have any children, some give me unneccessary praise. I tell them that I am just a community member wanting to get involved. They still look at me like I have three eyes but I enjoy volunteering and as long as a crazy PTSA mom doesn't scare me out I plan on sticking around for a bit (especially because my best friend is on the PTSA too)!

I helped with the Fall Carnival this past weekend and it was a huge success! My immune system however completely FAILED and I woke up Sunday with a terrible head cold.

So, I'm keeping busy and meeting folks! It's fun.

Here is a picture of me and my best friend, A at the carnival.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Worse Shape Than Sheep! Part Deuce

I promised pictures from my Sheep Trailing adventure.
Here are a few for your enjoyment!

These are our three herders. Hardest workers you will ever meet.

They'll be coming down the mountain when they come!

home home home!

It's beautiful here.
Original post here.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Worse Shape Than Sheep!

A week after running with the sheep, er, I mean, sheep trailing the pain has subsided and my legs are working again. Thank goodness!

Last week I mentioned we were bringing the sheep off the mountain and back to the ranch. Let's just say I unintentionally ran/walked a half marathon on Sunday. No one told me the sheep would run for the first few miles and keep a fast paced walk the whole time. It wouldn't have been a big deal if I wasn't in worse shape than the sheep and if I didn't have to stay ahead of 2,000 of them! That's a lot of pressure!
J drove the truck and this trailer behind the sheep.

After mile 3ish, the sheep started to slow down. I took this time to catch my breath and take in my surroundings. It's really beautiful in this part of the country. While on my (power) walk I thought of lyrics to a song I heard recently, If God wasn't born in Colorado, I'm sure he spends most of his time here. 

While walking down the highway, flagging oncoming traffic to let them know there view is about to look like this:

Deer would stop to check me out. Once they realized I was just an out-of-shape female they continued to eat their greens.  Horses in nearby pastures ran up to the fence to see what was going on and what all the baa-ing was about. Cows began moo-ing as the sheep passed and dogs barked and barked. It was as if they were talking to each other it felt like I was in an episode of Babe.

Around mile 12 I saw the open fence at the ranch. It was open and ready for the sheep! It was so neat to see all of the sheep file onto the green grass and eat. It's as if they knew they were home. These animals live such a great life.

Flagging was fun and I've already (been) signed up for next year. I'll make sure I'm better prepared.

Saturday 1pm

Everybody is home! Sunday 1pm
Happy everyone made it home safely,
A Rancher's Wife

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sheep On Road!

That's right!! Keep a look out folks - the sheep that make this ranch whole are coming home from the high country!

All 2,000 sheep (mama's and their little babies) will be home on Sunday afternoon. Why am I so excited?! The sheep, 4 dogs and one herder, Alberto have been away all summer. It will be nice to know they are all safe and sound here, at home. No bear to worry about and more guard dogs to scare off the coyotes at night.

To add some icing to the cake - I will help bring the sheep home! It's my 'job' to stay about 100 yards in front of the (very large) herd and make sure oncoming traffic slows down. It's a dangerous job, but somebody's gotta do it!

Wish us luck that everyone (furry and human) makes it home safely!

Believe-you-me - there WILL be pictures. Lots of 'em.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Our family of three!

Some fun news to share!

Our newest Border Collie, Jigs was brought home a few months ago from the humane society in hopes she would herd sheep since a few of our Border Collies are getting old and soon won't be able to work. After weeks of working with Jigs and the opinion of a sheep dog trainer it's been accepted that Jigs won't be a herding dog. She just has no interest in the darn things!

If I were to play by the 'rules of the ranch' we'd find her a new home, but I have decided that instead of finding another family for her J and I will keep her as a companion pet. I'm thrilled to adopt her into our family! I think I'll only be allowed to keep and get attached to this one so I hope our next pups want to 'work'!

So, I introduce to you Jigs! Isn't she beautiful?

Friday, September 24, 2010


I am so blessed to live in a town where people ask you how you are that don't even know you.

A town where people bring over baked goods when they know you have had a tough week.

A town where chivalry is not dead.

A town where neighbors a few miles away, smile and wave even though I've never met them.

For all my friends that grew up in this small town - you are so lucky!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Welcome to the ranching life!

It will be one week tomorrow that I pulled into our drive and was welcomed to our new home by Jigs.
Jigs, is the ranch's newest Border Collie.

We've since completely unpacked. We are downsizing a little so we had to get rid of a lot. You don't realize how much crap you have until you move - that's for sure. We donated lots to the local thrift store, maybe that will warm some folks up to the new city gal in town. For the first few days I was feeling like this before 3pm!
This is "Wito". He is up in the high country right now working all night to keep the coyotes, bear and all other predators away from the sheep.

I knew it was time for an update and considering I had my first real adventure yesterday well, here we go.

In the summer the sheep graze different areas of national forest and are we are required to move 'camp' weekly. This requires J to take supplies (food for the herder, dog food, mineral blocks for the sheep and a few other things) on an ATV, meet at the current camp, load up and move everything to the new spot. This was the 'easiest' of the summer moves and since I'm not working right now I figured I'd go up! We woke up about 5:30am and were out the door by 6:15am. We got to our unload spot at around 8:30am. We loaded everything up on the ATV and began the 2 mile hike/ride in. Jesse and I took turns on the ATV and he rode the more sketchier of areas. We are off trail most of the time so it's not your average trail hike.

There are markers most of the way, J and his Pop do this to make it easier for them, of course. After about a 1.5 hour trek in I see the sheep on a hill and Gringo and Wito (the two guard dogs on the mountain) come running at us! I am so happy to see the dogs! The guard dogs are Great Pyranese and Akbash, are hard workers (Gringo had killed a coyote that was attacking the sheep the night before) but are the sweetest most loving dogs you'll ever meet. Don't get me wrong, they can definitely intimidate especially when they want to 'play'. I would normally partake but with these dogs 'playing' would most likely consist of me getting hurt or at least scratched up.

Wito and Gringo coming to greet us!

We meet with Alberto, the herder that stays with the camp all summer. He stays there all summer with the two guard dogs and two Border Collies and loves it.

We load up his tent and any other supplies he has with him and visit with him for a while. He looks so happy to have someone to converse with for a little while so I don't mind hanging around for a bit. After a while, when it sounds like the conversation is coming to an end I tell Jesse that I'm going to start walking down to the next camp area. I figure he'll catch up to me pretty quickly on the ATV. This was my first mistake. Who the heck am I to think that I know my way around? There are hundreds of miles of forest surrounding me. It didn't take me but 2 minutes to realize that I'm lost.

I could hear the ATV but it was getting more faint by the second. I'm running down the hill to get a better view of my surroundings. I thought by looking up I would maybe be able to see J or Alberto. Nothing. Fear set in and I'm in hysterics. It was like a scene in a really bad movie. At this point I'm frantically running back up the hill, crying, saying things like 'Oh my God, I'm going to die out here' and 'Oh my God, I'm lost, I'm lost, Oh my God'. I could even see (in my head of course) vultures circling around above me. I told you it was like a scene in a bad movie.

Just when I was going to start screaming I see J in the distance and I yell his name to get his attention. I sat down on a rock and sobbed. I just kept remembering all those stories I've heard about hikers getting 'turned around' and 'being stranded' for days on end. I have never, ever been that scared in my entire life. It took me a good 30 minutes to calm down and even still when I told the story to my mother about 5 hours later I was getting choked up. She gave me a good idea...take a foghorn with me next time!

At this point I'm just ready to get home. I'm over the forest, I'm over the heat and I'm over the walking! Turns out I'm in for some more. Alberto catches up to us and tells us there is a ewe that needs to come back to the ranch. Her joints aren't doing to good and if she stays on the mountain she'll be coyote bait. He rounds up the sheep, with the help of Sage, one of the Border Collies and I find myself in the wrong place, again! I realize I'm facing about 700 sheep that are all staring right at me. Not so fluffy and cute when you are outnumbered by that many. These ewes can weigh up to 130 lbs! Thankfully Sage comes and turns the herd around. Phew! Good dog.

Alberto and J wrangle the Ewe, we named her Mama, and loaded her up into the back of the ATV. It was a tight fit for her but she wasn't in any harm. We say our goodbyes to Alberto and J arranges their next meet and we are heading to the car! After what seemed to be hours, J and I make it to the car. Now, the most fun part of the day - loading the 140 lb sheep into the truck. No, we couldn't just load her in the bed of the truck...the ATV took up all the space. So where did we put her? Oh, she went in the back seat! I had to use all my strength to help lift her, I was even getting a little teary eyed because you could tell she was just so scared. We plopped her on the back seat and talked to her, to calm her and we headed home.
Here is Mama, in the back seat. I couldn't resist...the hat was right next to her.

My first (and possibly last) trip to the high country.
So, there you have it. My first 'real' adventure. What did I learn from this experience?

...always wear sunscreen when going to the high country! My face is cherry red today. Might even be getting a blister or two.

A Rancher's Wife (in training)