Thursday, June 30, 2011

{happy weekend!}

What do you think of the new layout? I am really happy with it. Thanks Jillian!

We are gearing up for a fun Independence Day weekend.

B-Town has an annual July 4th celebration and it's a pretty big deal. This weekend is one of two weekends everyone looks forward to on a yearly basis. The other fun weekend (which happens to be my fave) is in the Fall. It includes sheep taking over a main street in the town!

Not only do all of J's high school buddies come back to town for the 4th of July but, their fabulous wives (aka B-Town Wives Club) come to town as well! There WILL be pictures!
This weekend will definitely include some target practice,
a barbecue, a birthday celebration, pet costumes while parading down thee Main Street in town and lots of Red, White and Blue fun!

Our friends Lisa and Thor are coming down from the BIG city and although they couldn't bring the mall they are bringing my two favorite black labs and some Oskar Blues' goodness!  
What exciting things do you have planned?

If you are a B-Town native (I know there are a few of you reading this) will you be in town? If not, what is your favorite July 4th hometown memory?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Goodbye Goats. Goodbye Garden.

The Goats are gone!
The Goats are gone!

Yes, these goats.

Well, not all of them are gone, but most of them. Enough of them. Let me tell you - goats reproduce as fast as weeds grow. Seriously.

Don't worry, they've been sold to a very nice woman who intends to let them live long, happy lives.

This woman came minutes after I saw this!!

I told her she was just in time for the Two for One sale!

It's bad enough that 5 plants died a week after I planted, now this? I don't need help failing and killing things in my garden, I am doing perfectly fine on my own. thankyouverymuch.
So long and farewell you pesty goats!

At least I have something to blame if everything dies in my garden.

Always looking on the bright side...

If you have goats you'll understand this post. Goats are like furry houdinis. There are seriously everywhere they aren't supposed to be.

::I'm excited to tell you that I'm going to be getting a face-lift soon! No, not me, my blog. Stay tuned for the design by the fabulous Jillian at Cornflake Dreams.::

Wordless Wednesdays - Where Is Everyone?!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mutton Mondays - A letter from the Forest Service and BLM

This is a letter released to the public. Funny that our sheep and dogs are one of the few 'bands' they are talking about. This letter gives great tips for hikers and backpackers that are headed up into the mountains this summer. I also thought it would give you a little more insight on what life for the dogs and sheep is like in the high country. 

For immediate release:  June 17, 2011
Visitors to public lands should be aware of livestock protection dogs in the high country.

As the snow melts in the high country, hikers, backpackers and other visitors will soon be joining bands of domestic sheep in heading for public lands.  Domestic sheep are grazed on public lands under permit from late June to early October.  A band of sheep is often accompanied by a pair of livestock protection dogs, which are an effective tool used by ranchers to protect sheep from predators. These large white guard dogs are often Great Pyrenees or Akbash breeds.

The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management will be posting signs along trails and trailheads notifying users of the dates that domestic sheep bands will be grazing in certain areas. Follow these safety tips when encountering guard dogs in the backcountry:

When approaching a band of sheep, allow time for the guard dogs to see you and determine you are not a threat. Remain calm.  If you do not appear to be a threat, the dogs will often just watch you pass by.

If you have a dog with you, it may appear to guard dogs as a threat if it gets too close to the band or tries to chase sheep. Keep your dog close to you and under control.  Leash your dog for as long as you can see sheep band.

Try not to “split” the band by walking through it; instead travel around the sheep via the least disruptive route. Keep as much space as practical between you and the sheep band, especially if you have a dog with you.  As you pass, keep line of sight between you, your pets and the guard dogs.

Bicycle riders should dismount from their bikes and walk past the band with the bike between you and the livestock protection dog. Do not remount until you are well past the sheep.

Do not:
 *   Chase or harass sheep or livestock protection dogs.
 *   Try to outrun livestock protection dogs.  If a guard dog approaches you, tell   it to “go back to the sheep,” or tell it, “No!” in a firm voice.  Do not attempt to hit or throw things at it.
 *   Attempt to befriend or feed livestock protection dogs.  They are not pets.  They are lean athletic working dogs, which are cared for by their owners.
 *   Allow your pets to run towards or harass sheep.  They may be perceived as predators by the livestock protection dog and attacked.
 *   Mistake a livestock protection dog as lost and take it with you.

Friday, June 24, 2011

I have no idea.

What I thought to be a beautiful cow in a nearby field....

turned out to be a fake cow in a nearby field.

Yeah, I have no idea. This reminds me of when I recently thought I was taking pictures of a bear and it turned out to be a tree stump. I swear someone is totally messing with me out here!

Happy Friday to you!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Calling All Ranchers and Farmers!

I'm working on a blog project and need your help.

If you grow and/or raise food (especially if you are in Colorado), please contact me via the Let's Connect tab.

I will give you more details when we connect and believe me, you want to be involved in this fun project!

This is open to non-bloggers so if you know anyone that fits the bill please send them my way. :)

Thanks a bunch! I can't wait to get this project off the ground!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays - Number 409. Not talking surface cleaner.

Linking up here.

Evolution of a Beard.

THIS is what my husband used to look like...
Handsome, right?!
I have hope that someday, this shaved hottie will come back to me.










It started as "just for fun!"
There was a short period of time I thought we were headed in the right direction. 
Very short.
Then winter came and I lost all hope.
Winter stayed.

It continued to get colder. 
It began to grow like weeds and at that point (I think) laziness took over.

Then lambing began and there was no time for him to leave the ranch, let alone make time for a haircut! 
So, here we are almost 10 months later...

and my husband now has the nickname of 'Dude'. 

Dude - The Big Lebowski. Image from 
Just this week he decided it was time for some more fun and is now rocking a mullet. I don't think I can bring myself to post a picture of that. At least not yet.  

No one told me this is what ranchin' would do to him!  

::Edited to add - July 5th, 2011::
It just kept getting better...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Mutton Mondays - Mutton

This Mutton Monday post is about Mutton! How about that?!

My mother-in-law and I went to a Native American festival a few weekends ago. It was the tribe's annual Bear Dance Festival and it spanned over a 4 day period.

We were feeling a little adventurous and decided to share a Roast Mutton sandwich since neither of us have had mutton before.

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.  

You can read more about the difference between lamb, hogget and mutton here.

I have to say we were both pleasantly surprised. We expected the mutton to be chewy and greasy, but it wasn't chewy, it was a little greasy. It was tender and tasted similar to lamb. The mutton was on a piece of fry bread with a slice of green chili. All in all it was good! Would I eat it again? Most definitely.

Have you had any lamb or mutton recently?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gringo and Some Serious Cuteness

I didn't tell you that Gringo was in a fight a few weeks back! We think it was a coyote, they have been running rampant along with mountain lion this summer. We've lost a total of 22 lambs and/or mama's to coyote and mountain lion since the end of May, but THAT is a whole other post.

Anyway, Gringo is okay. He's got a good gash in his thigh and tongue, but has since completely healed up.

When we took a look at him, his face said it all. He is one tough and courageous dog.

"You should have seen the other guy!"

It's hard to believe that this precious, cuddly and loving, little puppy....

Yes, that is a lamb he is cuddling with.

has grown up to be our best and toughest guard dog!

Keep up the great work, Gringy!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Almost there...

You haven't lived until you've trailed sheep. For reals.

The anticipation absolutely sucks, but the reward when the sheep get to their destination is like no other. The camaraderie is amazing because it takes every.single.person to get it done successfully. 

Last Sunday was the last leg of the big trip and it started early. We were up and at 'em at 5:30 am and met where the sheep were taken the night before. After a quick, "Good Morning," I continued on to my destination which was the intersection on the main highway. It was a chilly morning and I found myself doing jumping jacks to stay warm.

I waited there for about 20 minutes in the middle of the street with my flag. When I heard the baa-ing I knew it was "go" time. The sheep came around the corner, I started waving my flag and stopped the first car. Thankfully, the car wasn't in a rush to get anywhere and wasn't pissed that she was stuck behind sheep. You see, some people will get super angry and annoyed and others will say things like, "Oh, neat!" or "Wow, that is a lot of sheep. How fun!"

The sheep were only on the highway for about 30 minutes until they got on the county road.

Once they got on the county road it was a piece of cake from there.

We trailed about 2 hours and hit our first rest stop. Pop and J arrange our stops beforehand since some people may not be up for a visit from the sheep.

The people that owned this lot didn't mind one bit and they want us back next year!

2.5 hours later we hit our lunch spot.

We wanted to take advantage of the feed there and give the sheep, our herders, J, Pop, Gell and myself a break so we stayed here for about 4 hours.

After that long break, we were on our way again!

See Pop's truck and sheep camp up front? He was front flagging in the car and I was trailing behind the sheep. I've learned it's best to front flag because in the back you see everything! Every time a sheep or lamb would go off trail my heart would start pounding. On top of that, any stragglers get put in the back car (my car) to be taken back to the ranch.

From now on, I want to front flag (walking) like I have in the past.

It's so fun to see all the families that make an event out of it. We had families with their lawn chairs, in their robes and some that came out to shake hands with our herders. These kids were pretty excited. 

These llamas were pretty excited too!
It never fails that animals along the way walk up to their fences to see what is going on.

People tend to try and help along the way. This guy was "helping" on his 4-wheeler keeping sheep on the trail using a rag.

The view along the way is always so beautiful. This house is just gorgeous, don't you think?

Once the sheep got to where they would stay for three nights I was able to breath again. All of the sheep (except the one mama and three babies we had to take back to the ranch) made it safely.

Thank goodness!

Here they are at their last stop for the next three days!

We took two guard dogs, Embre and Gringo up to the high country later that evening since there are bear and coyotes up in the high country. The dogs will help ward off predators.
"Take me to my sheep!"
There you have it, the sheep are up in the high country and they are happy, safe and have GREAT feed.

Funny story...

Once we got to the location above a man drove by and told us there was a bear wandering in a nearby field. I decided to try and find the bear, in my car, of course.
Smart, I know.

I snapped this picture thinking I found it!

Turns out that was a tree stump. :(
Huge FAIL on my part.

As timing would have it, just when I get this post published it's time to move again! J did a move yesterday and there is another move on Sunday. Now it's just a matter of getting them up in the mountains. We spread these moves out and stop along the way when the feed is good and if the people along the way are up for a visit from the sheep. This year is a good year for feed and the landowners up the way don't mind the sheep, so we are taking advantage of that. :)

Happy trails and wooly white tails!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Making their way...

Friday evening I got home from work, ran inside and changed into my ranching clothes. I loaded J and Jigs in the car and headed back out to meet up with the sheep. The herders were bringing the sheep back to the ranch from the windmill on Friday - the first of three moves. They didn’t need our help, but I wanted to help! I'm beginning to enjoy trailing, I still hate the anticipation, but once they get going it's actually kind of fun!

We got there just in time.
The gate was open and the sheep were just waiting to be pushed!
The sheep and the dogs did such a great job on the way home and knew just where to go.

Gringo, like a Drum Major lead the pack back to the ranch. He always takes the lead. He does it so confidently, don't you think?
Everyone pulled their weight. Sage helped move lambs that got on the wrong side of the fence back onto the trail and Nell was right there following her lead. Nell has gotten lots of practice up at the windmill these past few weeks and is going to make a great herding dog.
Some babies were thirsty and couldn't wait to get home to eat. Unfortunately, I had to break this feeding session up. It was less than a quarter mile...hang in there babies!
Some got a little confused and wanted to turn and go back!  Fortunately, our herder continued to push and they turned around. Phew!
Also, it never fails to see someone you know while trailing sheep! J stopped to chat for a bit. Slacker! ;)
Once everyone was home for the last time this summer we discussed the plan for Saturday. We went over everyone’s job because moving sheep is a family affair and called it a night.
. . . . . . . . .
Saturday came, Gell and I met up about 2 o’clock and went to our designated positions. Shortly after – here came the sheep! They worked their way up the road and about a quarter of the way in I ran up to help push the first “bunch” with Pop. The view was lovely. 
excuse the quality, this was taken with my phone.
In Pop’s experience it’s best when you have a person after about every hundred sheep. Sheep follow the flock (most of the time) so as long as you have that first bunch continually moving forward the rest will hopefully follow. Gell and Pop told us there have been years where the babies weren’t able to see their moms (they crested over a hill) and have tried to run all the way back to the ranch! Thankfully that did not happen this weekend!

Once the sheep and our herder were settled for the night we headed back home to get rest for the toughest of the three days, Sunday.

I’ll post about Sunday’s trail soon!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sheep in the City.

Atlantans are retiring their weed wacker and lawn mowers and welcoming sheep into their city!

See what I am talking about here. Pretty clever, if you ask me! 

We are pretty busy this weekend moving sheep so, I'm signing off for a few days! 

Enjoy your weekend.

Linking up to Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Summer is here!

The arrival of summer means a few things for us at the ranch.

One of which is that the sheep will be brought home from the windmill on Friday and start their very long trek to the high country on Saturday.
The sheep spend their summers in the mountains and will graze thousands of acres of green grass over the course of about 4 months.
This picture was taken last year during my visit to the high country.
I can't wait to take a trip up there this year, the vista is absolutely beautiful. Here is a blog post about a visit I made to the high country last year to give you an idea. I have learned my lesson since that post...I will be taking a whistle with me on my next trip!

One of our herders stays up in the high country all summer however, this year two of our herders will be there since one is in "training". Our newest herder will learn all the camps we will move to over the course of the summer and learn more about sheep.

J will take supplies to them weekly and will move camp every few days. When they move camp the supplies like food, water, the tent, dog food and clothing will be packed up and moved via ATV to the next "camp".

We have several permits on the high country. Each permit has different restrictions as to how long we can be in one area and what area we are allotted. It's important our herder(s) keeps track of this because there are other sheep permits in the high country and we don't want to mix or get in any trouble for grazing an area we don't have the rights to.
So, we are getting ready for the big move. I'm excited to get the sheep up to such great pasture where they can roam freely. At the same time I'm nervous because well, it's nerve-racking seeing hundreds of sheep on the busiest (and only) highway in town!

My mother-in-law, Gell told me she gets nervous every time we trail sheep on the road, even after all these years. She said seeing those babies on the road is just terrifying and after this move a few weeks ago, I completely agree.

When she starts to feel nervous while trailing sheep she reminds herself of a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, "You must do the things you think you cannot do." That, my friends, is what I will be saying to myself Saturday morning at 5am.

Please send your positive thoughts and prayers our way! We want every one of our furry friends to make it safely to their destination.