Thursday, December 22, 2011

Catching up, December at a glance the GOOD, the bad, and the ugly.

Yeah, so it has been a long time since I wrote in this journal and I think it is sort of because I was taught if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.  And you know, my back has been REALLY crappy, and our finances are in the crapper (what's new, eh, America?), my marriage has taken it's toll from all of the above and the deal that I was so hopeful would go through fell apart...

It was a secret out of respect for the party's privacy more or less, but three weeks since their visit have come and gone as of today, and I have not heard a word; so I am thinking that their privacy is no longer necessary.  The deal was, a family member of the original homesteader of our ranch, Charlie Royal, had always mentioned buying back the ranch.  When we started talking about our dreams of Double J, I contacted her and she flew out in hopes of making a deal on both The Royal Ranch and The Royal Roost.

While she was here she learned she could not afford The Royal Roost, bummer but we could move on because it was the easier of the 2 properties to sell.  Well, as I said , it has been 3 weeks and still no word so I think she is backing out of buying the ranch as well.  So, at least I no longer have to keep big secrets, and we were not in a hurry to sell the ranch until we build our new home anyway...

The good news is that The Royal Roost will be listed with Cabela's Trophy Properties by the end of the year, which should bring great people to see it.  And that is where the money is to get started with The Double J, so we really weren't depending on this one buyer, I just really wanted the ranch and it's subsidiaries to stay within the family; even though we aren't family I just considered us caretakers in between I guess.

So, no, this is not going to be a woe is me entry; although I truly deserve one.  I have 2, count that 2, wonderful sons home from college!  This Christmas will sort of be like having a young child I think with our Austin.  He has never experienced a Christmas like we do in our family.  And even my Grandpa remembered him when he did all of his Christmas envelopes; a tradition our kids have known since birth and I was quite worried he'd forget our new son, but of course not.

I also have my daughter and son that still live at home with me; my sidekick and my chauffeur.  I could not do it without them, literally.  My daughter helps me cook and clean and take care of the animals.  And, as for my driver, well who doesn't need a driver???  He smiles at me with his red headed grin and although he doesn't love to be touched too much he knows when I'm down and gives me these funny little love pats...

And as for that oldest redhead, he keeps me on my toes.  Yesterday we found an old letter to Santa in the Christmas notebook.  It said to make sure and not get his brother and sister a thing (not even coal) as they had been quite bad that year and that he would leave lima beans for the reindeer so that they could fart their way across America!!!!  (He knew that I was the one reading these letters by this time-stinker!)

Merry Christmas All.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Damn, listen to THIS!!!

I'm not much of a Grammy watcher, but when I read on Facebook that Sugarland and Lady Gaga had performed together I had to check it out; and boy did it move me!  So I wanted to make sure and have a copy of it here in my journal.  I love both of these gals; Gaga for her rebel behavior and business sense and I have always loved Sugarland's music, so crank up the speaker's and have a listen:

Sugarland and Lady Gaga at the Grammy's 2011!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A wonderful Thanksgiving weekend...random thoughts.

I couldn't let the Thanksgiving weekend go without journaling a little something.  It has been sooo wonderful having all the kids around.  Well, except for the 3 am wake up this morning with all of the boys coming home from a party, but I'll even take that, lol!!!  We had a great Thanksgiving down at my sister's and got to spend some great time with her in-laws as well.

I have had a great time doing all sorts of research for the ranch and the house.  Make sure to read my post at my regular blog for today as it has some great new to me websites I have been using as research tools, way cool.  I'm also researching schools, but to be honest I like the whole idea of agricultural business because the words make sense to me, but then you think about the typical agri-business folks like Monsanto and Cargil and Tyson and it really makes me want to run the other way.  Maybe if I knew things from the inside I'd be better of to fight them.

Tom has been working on getting the rental all ready to go, which of course makes me feel like a schmuck for not being able to be up there helping him.  I am just not physically able to be painting and tiling, etc right now which in the back of my mind has me screaming to myself how in the hell are you going to be GC on a job???  But I always figure out something.  Right?

We figure it is time to start making drawings of our floor plans....  Very exciting indeed.

Have to say goodbye to the boys today; MAN do I HATE  to do that; at least it is only for 18 days.

Have some VERY important visitors coming this week.  DAMN am I getting nervous.

Repeat Mammogram and ultrasound on Thursday, Geez, will be glad when that crap is over.

Isn't this the way everyone's life is right now, a couple of great things, one or two not so good, a couple of good, one or two bad...hopefully in the long run it all balances out.

Have a great day,

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Turning 41

Yesterday I turned 41, and I must say I think it was one of the nicest birthdays on record....truly; so much so that I wanted to record some of the best things down here in my journal, k????

  • Tom had a beautiful birthday card waiting by the nice warm fire for me.
  • I had gotten emails from Irina (all the way from Germany including pics of the baby) and Aunt Judy, and oh so many facebook messages!
  • Enough calls to make me run late; a nice long chat with my sister Lisa who I never get to visit with anymore, Scott, Kelly, and I know I'm forgetting some....
  • And then lunch at VI with Grandpa and Mom and Dad!  What a treat for me; great company and lots of food.  I got to tell Grandpa all about The Double J, and have him all to myself, er share him with M&D, but they get to see him pretty often so they didn't mind!
  • Mom and Dad all to myself for the car rides to share a few of my ideas about the new house and maybe going back to school???  Yeah, if we can afford it I may hit the books again.  I could substitute teach at the kids' schools and learn more in my field; I want to study Agricultural Business of course.
  • The wonderful email from Tom about remember when:  reminding me of times like when we had just gotten rid of Isabella's pacifier at the age of 2 and we travel all the way to CA and hop out of our Suburban and see a friend whose 4 year old has a pacifier hanging out of her mouth.  The look our daughter gave us was priceless.  Halfway between you guys tricked me and that girl looks ridiculous!!!!  And how about the time that same daughter had screamed so long on a road trip Tom was so frazzled at one hotel he hopped back in the Suburban and ripped the boys' bicycles right off the roof on the motel arch!  Last but not least he must remind me of our naked hike up Mt. Rosalie that started our businesses in the first place...
Yes, I am very proud of my 41 years; and looking forward to what comes in the next few decades.  We are truly blessed that even in our dark times we have family and friends to support and be behind us.  It's funny because I have a hard time truly pinpointing "dark" times in our lives as a family....because each time we have rough patches it seems as if there is always an inner lining.

Take for instance when we had lost both of Toms parents; we all were so lost and had gone through so much losing them so closely.  I was convinced my illness was grief, that was until I got the bedspins in the night and started throwing up all day....Well, we found out we were pregnant with our wonderful Bella!  And even though times might be hard right now with finances and my back; to think that we have 2 sons at college, both from families,that have seamlessly melded into one , and have never had college grads is simply amazing to me. 

And now to be dreaming of The Double J....onward and upward we go.  The Jeute's have a way of dealing with being knocked around in this life and that is to "buck up" as Tom says.  And that is what we will do; so I guess 41 is looking just fine even with a few "bumps and bruises".

Oh, I almost forgot the visit from my alter/older me.  Um, yeah no kidding.  The night before my birthday Officer H. drops off this gal in our driveway (which in itself is a bit odd seeing as how he is an officer, but we just figure he is on his way hunting or whatever) and I open up the door with a smile on my face and say Hi like I do to all guests.  And she says "How do you know me?"  I'm like, okay, well, you just came to my door, but anyway, I shook her hand and lo and behold her name was Judy!

She continues to explain to us that she was up enjoying the "babbling brook" just a month after her 15th back surgery, yes folks you read that right 15th back surgery!!!, and got her car stuck!!!  Oh, she used to clean our house for the previous owner, etc.  As weird as this sounds, she sort of looked like a combination of my beloved Grandma, who is always on my mind at my birthday, and myself; she had her hair all done up like my Grandma used to do.  So when she pulled out a cigarette case that looked just like my Grandma's (and nobody uses anymore), one that just recently had popped into my mind for some strange reason I about fell down.

Officer H knew that Tom had lots of practice pulling people out of the ditch, and he was right; so he grabbed his equipment and off they went after she and I compared notes on back injuries for a few minutes and she relived her time here at The Royal Ranch...  Crazy I tell you.  After she left my daughter and I had seen the connections right away and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.  When Tom got back, I asked him what he thought of the alter me and his face just fell; it took him a second and then he was like "OMG!!!!"  He has been telling all his friends about it ever since.

But what we can say is that at least the old gal was up there enjoying the "babbling brook" just a month after her back surgery.  We can totally see me doing that.  That is how I knew to get her a chair, and wheel it up close to the fire while she was here.  And then hand her a phone to call her boyfriend who I was sure was probably worried sick about her.  Yup, sure enough.  She had gotten lost in the sounds so excited for the holiday season coming up she didn't even realize she was stuck....

Okay, if that is how it's gotta be, then I can deal with that.  Yes, it was a very random, thought provoking birthday I must say...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

My visits with Hans...

So leave it to Cousin George to catch me in my first slip up of my secrets!  I know this post is supposed to be about my wonderful visits with Hans Von Barby and it will be, but in my last post about the wind storm I said something along the lines of between here, The Royal Ranch and the future home of The Double J, near The Royal Roost....  And smarty pants cousin George caught me.  Well, George, yes, we are making some very large changes, and yes they are mostly due to my back.  But you have one thing wrong...we will not be moving to the Roost; we are in the process of buying a large piece of property (37+ acres) on Camp Creek (the same road that The Royal Roost is on) that will be the home of The Double J; and THAT is all I will say ON THAT.  And I will post more about why a larger ranch can be easier on a bad back than a smaller ranch in a different post, but for now I want to catch up on a few great visits I have had with a new mentor:  Hans Von Barby!

I met Hans through the IYAK Association.  When I started doing research on Yaks, I found the most amazing coincidence, or as I believe there probably aren't many of those, but anyway, one of the founding members of IYAK was Jerry McRoberts of McRoberts Game Farm or MGF for short.  That is how many animals are registered with the farms initials, and MGF is very famous for it's llamas and how I know this is because my first boy llama that I ever fell in love with, and the only one that I paid $$$ for that is worth a dime (Elway is the other) is an MGF llama!  MGF Fortune Hunter, or Hunter as he is known around the ranch, is such a well rounded, beautiful llama he has remained one of my favorites all of these years.  The funny thing is, is that I have this spectacular show quality llama up here hidden in the mountains and no one knows about it...

Ooops, got a bit sidetracked there, well, I guess that is why I called this blog a journal, lol.  Back to Hans Von Barby!  And Yes, I am going to keep saying his name that way because each time he calls or the kids say his name it is with such vigor it really cracks me up-he has such a strong German name it really fits his strong German personality!  He is 77 years old, retired and married to a VERY avid Golden Retriever trainer/breeder/shower.  He has a small herd of Yaks that sits at 8 right now.

I was so lucky to see an IYAK member that lives over in Evergreen right past the High School that I attended.  Hans was kind enough to invite me over for lunch a couple of weeks ago so that I could meet him and his herd, learn more about Yaks, fencing, birthing, etc.  As you all, family, friends, Rebels (my readers from my other blog) know by now I really do my research before I jump into any project....especially if it is a LIVING project.

We had a wonderful lunch, all served up in such a fashion that I had to think of my dear German-exchange sister Irina, the way he had the table set and everything.  Just so fancy.  Anyway, we talked about what I had planned with Yaks and how he got started in Yaks.  And most importantly how he learned from his mistakes.. he lost 2 of his Yaks when he first got them and thought they were gone for good.  They were sighted all over the mountainside for 2.5 months until he finally rounded them and a new calf up in the Springtime!

Somewhere on this dreaded web, I had read that Yaks are such docile creatures that they don't use their horns as defense and therefore we as humans are not in danger from them.  That reminds me, I still need to look back and see where I read that so I can give those folks a piece of my mind, because when Hans heard that he got a good German chuckle out of it.  And his bull Black Jack almost got a good piece out of my arm with his hook action if I hadn't been forewarned!  They do have a mean downward hook tossing action going on with those big ass horns that is for sure!!!  How in the world else would they defend themselves in the wild, duh?  I was stupid to believe it in the first place.

Now, the bottle fed babies are an entirely different story; they on the other hand are as docile as can be.  And even some of the calves that have been handled a lot.  Which some of the smaller farms, like Hans' do, but many do not, so I will have to be very choosy when I go to pick out my animals...especially my BULL.  Geez, there I go again, all getting off topic and telling more than I was planning.  Dammit, George, see what you're doing to me here?

Okay, so things I learned at Hans Von Barby's house.  He thinks that you CANNOT herd Yaks.  Period.  And do NOT ever let them get loose.  His fences are at least 5 feet high and made of welded wire some with 2' squares and some with 4' squares.  Also he thought that a concrete pad where they eat and drink would be a good idea as they territorial pee/poop this area and it would make it easier to clean.  Yaks are not too keen on shelter like llamas, a three sided will do them fine.  He has them in with a horse, a goat, 2 calves, 2 yearlings and the mamas of those.  Bull is separate so he doesn't breed daughters, so Hans is hoping I will take some daughters.

So I compared them to llamas just a minute ago.  And they sort of remind me of llamas; they are ruminants.  But of course they are of the bovine family meaning that they are much more closely related to the cow, but in my opinion much smarter and more useful since we can use the fiber, etc.  I am bummed that most folks are now telling me that no way in hell would they try to milk their Yak...we'll see about that.  But back to comparisons, their poop is even like a combination of llama poop and cow, it is so weird!  It is kind of like God took a fiber animal and a cow and Bam! you have a Yak!!!!

Off track again, back to my visits with Hans, lol!  When I told him of our plans, he knew I must meet some friends of're not going to believe this...right here in MY county!  Right in South Park.  I was so excited for this visit because not only are these people Yak folks but they are building an Earthship, oh my goodness!

Hans set everything up and of course drove, I told Mom that I felt bad because he wouldn't even let me open the gates, silly man!  Here I was sitting like a princess in the truck, while this 77 year old man was getting in and out of the truck multiples time opening and closing the gates in the cold South Park winds!!!  But anyway, as we drive through I couldn't believe my eyes because it was like I was looking at my dream come true; there before me were Yaks, both Royals and Trims, all sorts of calves running everywhere.  And right among them were sheep, llamas and a couple of very large horses.  Nestled behind this HUGE herd of animals was a very large Yurt and an even bigger tire foundation, that's it just a tire foundation.

Come to find out that the Kist's have been having so much fun with their herd of animals, living in their Yurt; letting those South Park winds just blow right over them, that they have let the house fall to the back burner.  And who can blame them?  They are making a living, and most nights they eat, it is entirely from their own place.  Elaine Kist has a beautiful garden, yes, at 9,400 feet in South Park.  And her and her husband Dennis,  raise pork, yak, poultry, and lamb to sell at local Farmer's Markets.

They started on their tire home quite a few years ago and chose to go with tire bales instead of the flat tires like you will typically see.  When I asked Dennis why he chose this he simply asked me if I had ever seen them pounding those tires and how labor intensive it was and then laughed.  Also, while a typical house will take 2,000 tires out of the landfill, the Kist's home took 42,000 tires out of the landfill!

Thank you Texas U for the photo

Okay, let me see, where was I??? So rudely interrupted by children needing to get ready for school and needing to go to the bus stop, etc.; GEEZ!!!!  (Keep repeating to yourself, I will get this post finished, lol)  So, anyway, back to Earthships and tire bales for a second.  Tire bales cost the Kist's a pretty penny, as did the labor and machinery to place all of those huge, heavy bales.  Whereas, I on the other hand hope to even make a buck or two on collecting said tires.

Dennis assured me that Park County was pretty good to deal with on these sort of homes.  But they sure did grumble that people who built them never seemed to finish them; I'm afraid the home that I toured was a perfect example of his complaints!  After many years of living on the windy plains of South Park in a Yurt with two wood stoves for heat and a cute kitchen about the size and comforts of mine, they sure didn't seem in any hurry to get that building done.  Elaine says that what she has in her kitchen now is all she will take with her to her new Earthship home.

We had a lovely lunch of Yak chili around their kitchen counter and of course talked Yak business.  How is their Yak meat business going?  Well, they can't keep up with demand; they had to miss out on 5 weeks of farmer's markets last year as they ran out of product.  They are very ingenious people, even selling lama manure similar to my Naked~Nure!  They have a self-serve store right there on their ranch that people can just come and take what they need out of the freezer or fridge and leave their money in the cash box and off you go.  Talk about small town service!

Hans had brought pie for dessert and then we all visited a bit more in their comfortable living room....that Yes, guys had a big TV in it.  Elaine and I got lost in the books; I told her about swapping and she told me about a great Yak book I could order free through the UN, who knew?  The visit wrapped up with them walking us out to the truck and oh, that took us past Elaine's snow covered garden...well underneath all that snow were still a few very hardy turnips still thriving away!  Finally, Hans was shouting that it was time to go, and we said our goodbye's for now because we knew we had met kindred spirits indeed!

And then back through the gates, Hans Von Barby opening and closing each one, with me just giggling at the little German man with one pant leg tucked in his boot insisting that he doesn't allow the ladies to do the "heavy lifting".  Even if the gate is on wheels.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Great Windstorm of 11-13-11...

We went to bed the night before last to the power flickering and the wind howling.  But as I lay there in bed listening to my basement bedroom window being sandblasted by wind from a direction that the winds never blow from; I knew we were in for some damage.  I just wasn't aware of how much.

Between here (The Royal Ranch) and The Roost, our "nest in the woods" as we like to call it; are some very thick, very old forests, and even regular wind storms can wreak havoc on power lines, etc.  We learned our lesson early on upon buying the ranch and the Roost; if the power goes out, chances are there is a tree down on the lines somewhere on Camp Creek road and we can find it and let IREA (our power coop) know where the problem is a bit faster to get it fixed a bit faster.

So when we awoke in the night without power it was not a big surprise, nor was it a big surprise to still not have power in the morning.  The surprises started coming when we saw the AMOUNT of damage.  Between here and our cabin, which means our soon to be home, The Double J, there were at least 20 downed trees!  Many of them in the roadway to Camp Creek, along the power line, some on neighbors properties; like a roof and a classic Blazer.

The guys had a great day on Sunday "working" to clear trees and drink beer together.  Our wonderful neighbors Dan and Steve pitched in of course and they all three went up to Sean and Rocky's (yes that is a girl's name and she is soooo cool!) because they are the one's that had the tree on the roof and that dang cool Blazer (Dad, it is the yellow of the Jeep that I tried to talk you into giving me-ha!); of course the tree went right down the middle of the hood and roof of the beautifully lifted classic!

We must say, that we are very proud of our power coop, IREA.  Although they are not to hip on alternative power or rebates of any kind like that; when it comes to an emergency or downed lines those guys are all over it!  They had Camp Creek back up and cleaned up in just a few hours; and we are talking some big trees with some major power outages.  And each time we passed them they were always pleasant and had a smile on their faces.  We even got a robo-call saying they were sorry for any inconvenience; last time I checked IREA had no control over the wind, but it sure was kind of them to call.

I was curious about all of the trees that were damaged.  They ranged in size from about 6 inches in diameter to well over a foot.  The large ones of course were old/rotten on the inside and will make great firewood and if they aren't on private property we will make good use of them.  Many of the smaller ones Tom noted had either been damaged many years ago by lightning or something else, possibly beetles, but he didn't see many signs of those, thankfully. 

One of the most amazing things about this storm is that these trees didn't just break off and fall to the ground like they normally do.  Many of them we found multiple feet away.  The wind had broken them off and then carried them 10-15 feet in some cases, simply unreal!!!  We have walked through a lot of forests around here and not seen evidence of that kind of storm, I think this really was a once in a lifetime least I am hoping it was.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meet (or is it meat?) The Meatrix....

Go ahead, I dare you to check out this funny video about modern day meat blood or gore and it really gets the point across!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Beginning

Well, that has a familiar ring to it.  But I sort of feel like a blushing bride with a bunch of secrets....and I can't quite let all of them out of the bag yet.  But the fact that I am at a new home, with a new name, new subtitle, etc. should give you quite a few clues as to what is going on in our world.

I will say, however, that I am going to approach this blog in a much different fashion.  As many of my dedicated readers know, I have suffered a tremendous setback with my back.  I can no longer be the rancher that I once thought I was going to be; the one that my beloved husband Tom and I pictured and planned for more than ten years ago on our tenth anniversary hike.  But what I have come to learn, is that not many people are where they thought they would be right now in their lives; so we just need to dig in and run with it and that is what we are doing.

A while back on The Royal Ranch blog I wrote a piece about some llama folks really getting the best of me; but even better, I had made a friend that week.  A lovely woman by the name of Betsy Bell, double B's to my double J's, how perfect is that?  Well, anyway, I of course emailed her to tell her that I had written about her in my blog and when she replied she asked how on earth I had time to journal my comings and goings with all that I do.  And I thought to myself, next time around, that is how I am going to a journal only....not as a way of doing business.

I think that may have been one of the ways I went awry with my other blog, it became a chore.  And we all know how chores become; tedious and time consuming, etc.  And this new blog, which will chronicle our whole new adventure in life needs to be just that, a journal in our families (Jeute/Prentiss+) history.

So welcome all.  I hope you enjoy our journal on becoming more sustainable ranchers.  We look forward to sharing the journey with you...that is as soon as we can let the cats out of the bag-ha!!!  And soon you will be able to find us at doublej(no vowels) dot org!  Get it? (