Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Monday, March 28, 2011

Lack of Muzzle Control and a Gun Wound. Part #1

I didn't grow up with guns in the house, as a matter of fact the only experience I had with guns was from the news and those stories usually included yellow crime scene tape.

We have about 3 guns in our house now and my father in law has many more. It's because of this that recently took a Hunter's Education course through the Division of Wildlife. This course is required if you want to apply for a Colorado hunting license. The purpose of the course is to educate safe hunting and ethical hunting, but also teaches general gun handling and safety which is the main reason I chose to take the course.

The class entails four 3.5 hour classroom sessions and a shooting range day.  I got to thinking if I pass, what I  would choose to hunt?

I have not one single clue.

The first class I quickly became 'the girl' with no muzzle control. For those that don't know what a muzzle is here is a picture.

I was told many times, "Hey, hey watch where your muzzle is pointing." I even joked back and said, "hahaha, you guys don't want to go hunting with me," and no one laughed.

Note to self: Do not joke about muzzle control, or lack thereof around a group of serious hunters.

I was the only one in the class that didn't know what the difference between a rifle and a shotgun was.

My classmates looked at me a little weird when I asked them if the gun powder is actually in the gun barrel or the bullet. The instructor didn't even acknowledge my question with an answer so I guess that means it's a stupid question?!

The second class I left with a gash in my hand. I'm calling it my gun shot wound. Okay, that is a little extreme, but it's funny. The picture doesn't do it justice. My hand got caught in a Glock's loading chamber when I attempted to cock the gun - it freaking hurt. Wow, I never thought I would say that word. Glock.

What is a Glock? It's the type of gun you would see in an Ice Cube movie.
Image from cinem7.com

This video will give you an idea of how fast the gun snaps once you pull down on the slide stop. Imagine your skin caught in between that action. Ouch is right. I think I said something like, "Welp, I'll never own one of these."

Stay tuned to find out how the last two classes went, how shooting range day was and if I passed the test.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mutton Mondays - Sheep Sense

Today's Mutton Monday post is about sheep's senses and is pretty basic, but I found some of this stuff to be pretty interesting and I learned a thing or two.

While I knew sheep depend heavily on their vision I didn't know they have excellent peripheral vision and can see behind themselves without turning their heads.

Color Perception.
Sheep can also percieve colors. Who would have thought?! I also learned that sheep will be fearful to new colors. This explains why they are always running away from me. Not really, but I will keep that in mind the next time I want to wear a bright pink shirt out.

I did know that they have a great sense of smell and use this to find water. Sheep can also distinguish different predators smells which I thought was interesting. It definitely makes sense since they really have no other means of defense (if you don't count the guard dogs).

I also knew that sheep have excellent hearing. The bummers can hear J walking out to feed them in the dark of night the second his feet hit the concrete.

Sheep are picky eaters. Plain and simple. J will throw 7 bales of hay and they will go from bale to bale to choose what they think is the best one.

Obviously sheep's wool gets in the way when they interact with other sheep. However, bodily contact is important between lambs and their mothers. One way lambs interact with their mothers is through the nuzzling and suckling action. When lambs sleep they will always be close to their mother as well.

Here's two of my favorite photos taken this weekend with our new camera!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

No Easy Task

I had this (what seemed to be a) great idea to milk one of our goats and make goat cheese. I looked forward to it all week. I found what I thought was the best (and easiest) recipe online, bought cheesecloth's at the store and picked a jar I thought would work best. By the time Saturday came I was ready. You and me mama goat - it's on.

Saturday arrives. I head out to help with the chores and to milk my goat. The first thing I realize is I have to catch the goat. I guess I just thought  the goat would just be there waiting for me, ready and willing to be milked. Riight.

Once reality hit I turned to J and asked you are going to help me, right? I enlisted J to help me for obvious reasons one being my safety. I have yet to be hit aka rammed by a goat or a sheep and it's not something that I have on my To-Do list. I've heard it hurts.

J catches her after a few failed attempts and we pen her up so she can't run off in the middle of milking.
I milk the goat for about 5 minutes and realize she's low on milk. Perfect. I leave this mama penned up and we head inside to have breakfast. I figured by the time I come back she'll have a little more milk. We were only gone for a little while and when we got back the goat was gone! It's like a hoodini goat. Gone. We look around for the mama along with the rest of the goat gang and they are nowhere to be found. Fail #1

We head off in search of the goat gang and figure at this point we'll just catch any mama we can. We spot them and realize they aren't going to make this an easy task.

After working them off the cliff J gets on the side of one and I get on another. That doesn't work. I grab her babies in hopes she will come toward them and that doesn't work either. What type of mother are you goat?! Then J gets a little frustrated and just goes after her. He's like a goat ninja - he caught her.

We put this mama on her back and realize she has a real badly chapped nipple and I didn't want to take all her milk from her one good nipple, she has two babies to feed. We let her go and with her left my hopes for goat cheese. Fail #2

To say the least my attempt at milking the goats was an epic fail. After all that excitement and work I walked away with this:

I went inside with my head hanging low, my pitiful jar of almost nothing and decided I'd try my hand at painting instead since you can't really fail at that or maybe you can....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mutton Mondays - Sheep at the White House

President Woodrow Wilson had a flock of sheep that grazed the White House lawn. This was one of his efforts to keep (groundskeeping) costs low during the first World War.

The wool was sold to raise money for the Red Cross during WWI. 
Included in the flock was Old Ike, a tobacco-chewing ram. 

The Wilson's also observed "meatless and wheatless" days in an attempt to save food for the troops.

Sources: www.presidentialpetmuseum.com, www.whitehousehistory.org

Monday, March 14, 2011

This makes me happy.

I found myself wishing all day long that I was home with J and the animals. I find myself daydreaming about being home. I think that is a very good thing!

Thinking about all the devastation that is going on in the world I feel so very blessed to live the life we do. We are grateful. Very grateful.

This picture was taken this past weekend and it makes me smile.

Mutton Mondays - National Ag Week and Colorado Ag Day

This week is National Ag Week and Wednesday, March 16, 2011 has been proclaimed, “Colorado Ag Day.” National Ag Week and Colorado Ag Day are days to recognize ranchers and farmers across America and how important the industry is.  

“Colorado's farmers and ranchers contribute greatly to our way of life. Besides providing food and fiber, agriculture also protects our natural resources,” said Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar. “Colorado's diverse agriculture and food industry is a large part of our great state's economy, generating approximately $20 billion annually and supporting more than 108,000 jobs.”

So, how will you celebrate National Ag Week or Colorado Ag Day? Will you buy local? Will you contact your local National FFA Organization (formerly Future Farmers of America) and see if they are hosting an event? Maybe you will become a follower of an ag blog? Whatever it is you do to honor your local ag industry I speak for thousands when I say your support is greatly appreciated. 

Happy Monday!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mutton Mondays - The difference between mutton, mutton busting and mutton chops.

Welcome to my second Mutton Monday post!

What is mutton anyway?
Oh, you thought I made the word up? No, I'm not that clever.

There are three types of meat that come from sheep: lamb, hogget and mutton.

Lamb which most people are familiar with is meat from a sheep in it's first year. This is a more tender meat and very nutritious. Have you tried the Balsamic-Honey Glazed Lam Chops that I mentioned last month in this post yet? I'm telling you...it's delicious.

Hogget is meat from a lamb not old enough to be mutton and with no more than two permanent incisors (or bottom teeth). Clear as mud, right? In simpler terms it's meat from a lamb between one and two years old.

Mutton is the meat from an adult sheep with more than two permanent incisors. This meat can be a bit tougher than lamb and hogget, has stronger flavor and needs to be cooked at longer lengths of time to reduce the toughness. 

I've never had hogget or mutton, but I'm putting it on my To-Do List and will be sure to report back! When we do have mutton I'll most likely try Mom’s Mutton/Lamb Stew from The Pioneer Woman's Tasty Cooking website.

Mutton busting anyone?
Mutton busting or mutton bustin' is bull riding for little kids, on sheep. J did it growing up and said it was one of the funnest things he did. This article on CBSnews.com about Mutton Busting made me laugh out loud and made me a little disappointed that J never won a buckle.

Last but not least...mutton chops.
Who knew mutton chops are Sideburns?!
Portrait of Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside

If you want to join the ranks of other mutton chopper's here's a How To on growing mutton chops.

I wonder what a mutton bustin' mutton chopper would look like?!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

My favorite time of day.

The nearby gas plant has a siren that goes off every single day at noon. It is because of this siren that noon has become my favorite time of day here at the ranch.

This is why...
(at 00:20 and 00:32 he gets really into it)