Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas on the Ranch

Jim the old cowboy was sitting in his rocking chair next to his wife and in front of his fire place watching the flames lick at the log he just put on the fire.  The old cowboy had paper cuts on his hands and there was tape and wrapping paper sticking all over him.  He even had a piece of tape stuck to his well used hat.  If you looked at him you would have thought one of Santa’s elves had gone Ninja on him.  You see Jim was expecting a special guest and he spent all day wrapping a very special present.
About the time that they expected his daughter’s family Jim heard the sound of a truck pulling up his long drive.  So they went to the door and stood out on the porch waiting for the truck to get parked.  Once the engine turned off Jim watched is daughter get out of the passenger side of the truck and right behind her his grand daughter bounded out yelling, “Grandpa”!
Jim knelt down with his arms open and waited as his granddaughter ran up and jumped in his arms.  He gave her a hug and set her on the porch and greeted his daughter and son in law, while his wife hugged Amy his grand daughter.  As they entered the house each person noted the beautiful Christmas tree decorated with ornaments collected over the years, they also noted that there was only one gift under the tree and it was the most beautifully wrapped gift you could imagine.  The gift was wrapped in gold with a ribbon around the box and a large bow at the top. 
Once they all sat down Amy looked at the tree and the gift and said, “Grandpa there’s only one gift under the tree is it for me?”
Jim looked at Amy and replied, “Sweetie that is gift is for all of us.” 
“But Grandpa”, Amy said “Where are the rest of the gifts?”
Jim was silent for a second and said, “We’ll get to the other gifts, but first we need to open this one and talk about it for a while.”
With that Amy got permission from her parents to open this beautifully wrapped present. Amy ran to the tree and grabbed the gift and ran back to her seat with it. 
Back in her seat Amy tore into the gift she struggled with the bow that was taped on exceptionally well and finally got the wrapping paper off.  With that done she opened the box, in the in box were papers.  She looked at her grandpa in confusion.  Jim looked at her with a twinkle in his eyes and said,”Sweetie bring it here and I’ll read to you what it says and explain why this is such an important Gift to all of us.”
 With that Jim began to read:
Luke 2
Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem
 1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
 8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
 15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.  

Jim finished reading and said to Amy and her parents, “You see that little baby in the Christmas story is the Son of God, He grew up and finished the mission that He came to earth for.  He allowed Himself to be put on a Cross where He paid four our sins.  The Bible tells us in John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. 21 But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”
You see Amy the gift of Christmas is that Jesus Christ left heavens glory and came to earth as a baby then died on the Cross but after three days he was raised from the grave so that those who believe in Him will also be raised with Jesus. 

That’s why it’s a gift to us all, we can all trust Him and receive the Gift that He gave us. 
He is Truth and the light of the world, the light starts with Him and spreads around the world….

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mornings with Phil and Odie

The morning was brisk as Phil sat in front of the bunkhouse drinking his coffee. He was looking out over the horse pen getting ready for what was to come. He had a long day of gathering ahead of him and he wanted the best horse in the pen. The one that could go at a lope all day if it was asked of him with energy left over, the one that could gather steers, and cows with their calves all day and would be ready to go some more when the day was done. He was going to throw his saddle on Odie, and Odie was a horse with a sense of humor. He prepared the night before by buckling a night latch to the pommel of his saddle, all he had to do was saddle up and he’d be ready. Phil knew that Odie usually let the offending cowboy who dared to ride him get in the saddle and ride a bit, lulling the cowboy into thinking the ride was going to be smooth, then he went off like dynamite with a sunfish or two, a couple of end to end swaps then a series of crow hops. If the cowboy could make it through Odie usually settled down and got the job done the rest of the day, however if the cowboy lost his seat and ate dirt the horse couldn’t be found the rest of the day and would appear at headquarters in time for evening feed.

The other cowboys couldn’t understand why he was willing to ride this horse, even though he had more stamina and “cow knowledge” than any of the other horses on the ranch what he had to go through every morning wasn’t the most pleasant part of the day. Odie was trained by an old cowboy named Paul, who taught him a lot about chasing, cutting and herding cows, he just couldn’t stop Odie from playing his morning antics.

Jace came out of the bunkhouse and looked at Phil, “Uh-oh I’ve seen that look Phil, don’t tell me you’re riding Odie today?”

“Yeah Jace I am, with the country I have to cover today he’s the only horse I would trust”, Replied Phil.

“Why do you like that horse so much? None of the rest of us will touch him, he’s poison on cold mornings like today. What makes him so special to you?” asked Jace.

Phil thought about it for a second and said, “Before Paul up and retired I had Odie out one morning. I went out saddled Odie, talked to him while I finished my coffee then I mounted up and off we went. We got about 4 miles out when he cut loose. I landed on my shoulders and laid there for a few minutes until my breath came back, when Jack was finished laughing at me he came back here and used a ranch saddle to saddle another horse and we got the job done that day. We got back after dark and there was Odie waiting to get in the pen so he could eat.”

Jace said, “I remember that day you were fit to be tied.”

Phil went on, “Yeah I was pretty angry that morning, and I stayed angry all day. I swore I would never ride that horse again and if given the chance I would take him down to the auction and get rid of him for the Boss. After I unsaddled Odie and rubbed down the horse I rode that day I came in the bunk house and a letter was on my bunk."

"The letter was from Paul, he said in the letter that he wasn’t gonna be around for a while. He went on to say he heard what happened and knew that I was angry. Paul wrote that being one of the top hands on the spread he knew I could ride any horse I wanted to but he said Odie was important to him and could be useful to me. He also said that he would consider it a personal favor if I would continue to use Odie and treat him like a well bred and well trained horse. Paul said he was sure I would do more than he asked for, as far as giving Odie another chance, but would understand whatever I decided."

"I decided that since it meant so much to Paul and since he was probably right, and it was the right thing to do for the ranch that I would use Odie as one of the top horses in my string. It’s proved to be a blessing."

The question is do you have the courage to forgive and accept the way Phil did?

Philemon 1:1-25

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Vending Machines and Cowboys

All day long near the arena at the county fair grounds people would walk up, put money into the vending machine and walk off with their choice.  You know the snack or drink in A4, C3, P0.  You get the point, money goes in the poison of choice comes out and the purchaser goes merrily on their way. 

Near the end of the night at the fair when it's late and the crowds are all up on the midway a young cowboy walks over from the barn where he's been caring for his 4-H project horse.  He's dusty, dirty and just tired from being out of his element.  He's seen folks walk by and put money in and get their purchase and walk off.  He pulls money out of his pocket hits the appropriate button and nothing happens.  He tries the buttons again, still nothing.  Now this young cowboy is tired, and thirsty and his project horse had aggravated him by acting up in the arena during judging, so he's already frustrated.  He tries the buttons again, this time with a bit more force and this time he gets what he wants.  He too finally walks off with a drink, but when he's finished with it he's not satisfied like he thought he'd be. 

He goes back to the barn and an old cowboy from down the row says, "I saw you during the judging.  Rough day huh?"  The boy looked up and said, "Yeah, I don't understand it.  I did everything right, practiced with my horse, spent time grooming him. Heck, I even prayed to God and told Him that if I did well in the judging I would go to church every Sunday."  The old cowboy looked down at the young cowboy thoughtfully then said, "There's your problem."  The young cowboy looked up and said, "What?"

The old cowboy responded by pointing out to the vending machine, "See that machine over there?  It does one thing.  You put money in and you get out of it what ever's behind the buttons you push."

"Yeah, so?" responded the young cowhand.

The older and wiser cowboy said, "Well God aint like a vending machine.  He blesses folks even when they don't deserve it and sometimes doesn't bless those folks that to you and I look like they do deserve it.  You see God loves us enough to give us what we need when we need it."

The young cowboy just sat and stared as the old cowboy walked down to a stall to give some feed to a horse.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Ephesians 2:4-10
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Quiet Times

1 Kings 19:9 - 18
9 Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
 11 So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”
 15 The LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. 18Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

It's easy to look at and react to the storms in life, in these storms of wind, fire and earthquakes it may seem like we're being tested, but will we respond to the gentle breeze?  It's the quiet voice of Gods love that make the difference in our lives and where God speaks to us.  It's the quiet voice of Gods love that leads us to make a difference in the lives of others.   Do you take the time in your life to listen for the quiet voice of God?  Do you respond to it?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Thoughts

Jesus Christ in His humanity was subject to the same temptations you and I are today.  In Matthew chapter 4 we see his response to temptation.  This temptation is not just a temptation to sin, but more importantly it's a temptation to remove faith from God the Father.  Jesus was tempted just like you and I are today.  We have the same choice He did, we can either look to God for guidance and strength, or we can look to our own wisdom. 
Matthew Chapter 4
1  Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil.
2 He fasted for forty days and forty nights,and afterwards he was hungry.
3 The tempter approached and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become loaves of bread.”
4 He said in reply, “It is written:
‘One does not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple,
6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written:
‘He will command his angels concerning you
and ‘with their hands they will support you,lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
7 Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.’”
8 Then the devil took him up to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in their magnificence,
9 and he said to him, “All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me.”
10 At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written:
‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship
and him alone shall you serve.’”
11 Then the devil left him and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Today my wife and I have been married for 23 years.  We have grown up together, we've grown together.  I thank and love my wife and I look forward to spending the next 23 years together.

I haven't posted in the last couple of days. We've been busy and it's been hot outside, so with 107 degree temps going on outside we've been staying inside at night.  We've been getting 2 quarts a day from the goat.  They seem happy with the pen.  Right now we have a tarp up for shade.  My in laws have a roof that Trudy and I are going to go get then we can make a permanent covered area.  I have to find the time to go get it... probably after work one day this week. 

Wednesday Ashley hit a mule deer on the way home from a friends house where her and Jake are taking horse back riding lessons.  When I got on the scene the deer was still alive so I had to dispatch it.  I think the most traumatic thing for Ashley, Jake and the friends was that the deer suffered while they waited for me to get there. 

 The above paragraph is my preparedness info for the week.  I happen to be armed about 90% of the time, without the firearm I would have had to snap the does neck to put it out of it's misery and that has the potential of failing, or the deer would have had to suffer longer while we waited for 'law enforcement' to get there to decide what to do with the injured deer.  A firearm is a tool to be used responsibly and safely, everyone should get one and learn how to use one safely.

Getting back to the first topic in my post: Love and respect are the two things that make the foundation of a marriage.  With love and respect the two parties of a marriage desire to communicate, to spend time with each other and enjoy each others company.  Love and respect, true love and respect between a man and a wife are a picture of the relationship that Jesus Christ has with those who place their faith in Him for salvation.

Ephesians 5:33  Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Our LaMancha is in milk, and is on a once a day schedule.  The previous owner milked all her goats in the morning, so we are maintaining that schedule.  So far we're getting at least a quart a day and yesterday we got more.  Also I'm getting better at milking.  I milked goats a time or two as a kid, so I understand the process and how to do it, it's now just a matter of doing it regularly to get good at it.

The only thing I think I'd change in our whole goat experience thus far is to get an experienced goat that had kidded before and understood the process of standing still during milking.  Our goat is not full milking table trained, and she's a kicker.  Right now either one of the kids or my wife is holds the goats hind legs, I'm hoping that as time goes by the goat will calm down and get more used to standing still during the milking process.  Getting faster as I and others get used to milking will also help.

By the way the milk from our goat is YUMMMMYYYYY!!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Got our Goats

After a crazy couple of days we got the 2 goats that I wrote about the other day.  After my wife called me at work we started brainstorming what the best material for fencing is.  We had talked previously, about building fencing with pallets, when we talked about doing this though I envisioned having plenty of time to be choosy about the pallets, and having time to collect prime good quality pallets that are in good condition.  Even though we didn't have the kind of time we wanted we decided to build with pallets anyway.  The total project price was probably 50% of the cost that wire fencing would be.

The look of the pallet fencing is pretty rustic, but it gets the job done and pallets are usually readily available.  I even recently heard that pallets were available from a hardware store for free, you just have to load them.  I haven't checked this out, but you can bet I'm going to.  Heck even if I have to take pallets apart and make picket fence panels out of them, it will be worth it.

Knowing how to reuse, recycle and use up is an important part of preparedness.  Previous generations of Americans, did this or many times they did without.  Anyway back to the goats....

The LaMancha's name is Fifi and the Alpine goats name is Rain, although that might get changed.  We got about a quart of milk from Fifi this morning and can probably get more as we get proficient with the milking process.  Below are some pictures of the goat pen, the assembly of the pen and the goats...

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Getting Goats

There I was at work, minding my own business working hard when my cell phone rings.  It's my wife telling me that someone we know is selling a lamancha/nubian mix doe in milk, she's also willing to sell us a 3 month old kid doe.  We don't have a pen put up, we don't have a shade put up.  We priced fencing and looked at the cash on hand and decided to get creative.  I went and got some T-posts after work then I drove over and got some free pallets from a feed store in town... not enough to build the whole pen but enough to get started.  I'm going to have to buy some pallets from the same place, but in the end it's going to cost me less than half what non-climb woven wire fencing would have cost.  Tomorrow I'll pick up the pallets and start assembling the goat pen.  Hopefully I can work it so it looks decent and does the job of keeping the goats in.  I'll post pictures once we get the two goats.

Monday, June 20, 2011

In Between deliveries

For the last 3 days we've been moving panels and delivering them about 40 miles away to Sierra Vista.  Tonight we got a break, and celebrated both my daughters and mothers birthdays.  Boy did we have a spread.  We had a pork roast slow cooked in the crock pot, grilled corn, grilled zucchini, couse-couse, and for desert we had both strawberry and double chocolate chip ice cream.  Man can my wife cook!!!  We had a good time with my son and daughter, wife, my brother and both of my parents.  It was a nice break.

Tomorrow my wife and I are delivering a minimum of 2500 lbs of hay to feed the livestock, first we have to find the feedstore with the best price and then drive over and load the hay.  I can see tomorrow being a long day, but I'm hoping we'll be home before dark. I guess if we're home before bed time I'll be good with that.

More on the Monument Fire

Every day this weekend we've delivered horse panels to the Sierra Vista Riding Club to be used for pens for livestock that were evacuated due to the Monument Fire in Southern Arizona, so not a lot of homesteading projects got done.  The people affected by this fire need all the prayer they can get.  My prayer is that God holds them up and strengthens them in this time of need.  It's also that inspite of the difficulty they currently have they are drawn closer to God.  

Below is a copy of an email my wife sent last night after we got home from delivering our last load, the email is to the pastor of the church we attend.

Hi Pastor Steve,
I thought I would share a few of the things we learned tonight when we dropped off the panels. The guy we talked to said he thought they had about 300 horses, goats, chickens, donkeys, mules, parrots. The people working there are exhausted. The guy told us his son is one of the fire fighter and he received a text from him today that said "all hell was breaking loose". Not what a parent wants to hear. He said that the fire went like 3 miles in an hour and that it was crazy around there today. They have had people come in crying. A horse came in there with burns. One lady had came there one day with her five horse. She was allowed to go home and then had to leave her home again.....this time she could only get three of her horses out. He had heard stories from people who couldn't get their horses  out in time, one couldn't get their horses out because a friend had borrow their trailer. And one who's horse turned and ran into the fire. He also said that the fire planes had been dumping slurry on part of the town today. Hard day in Sierra Vista today.
Just wanted to share with you what we learned....I know you know so many of these people. Our heart breaks for them and what they are going thru.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Monument Fire Evacuations and the Rural Community

To date the Monument Fire has burned about 18,000 acres of southern Arizona.  The area is mainly rural and has burned about 50 structures, 40 of them are houses.  There are currently a lot of people evacuated from their homes because of how close the fire is.  Being in a rural area means a lot of livestock and other farm animals have had to be evacuated as well.  The rural communities are coming together to help these folks house horses and ponies of those evacuated.  My family and I delivered 17 horse panels to the Sierra Vista Horse club tonight.  We got home about 25 minutes ago, at the time we delivered the panels there were 193 horses there, and more coming.  We're going to deliver more panels tomorrow, hopefully about 40, but they're going to more.  In addition to the 193 horses there at the facility in Sierra Vista they have horse housed at the Sonoita fair grounds and also at a private pasture near Tombstone.  People and businesses are donating hay to feed all these animals as the evacuee's were unable to load everything needed when they were evacuated.

If you're in southern Arizona and can help out in this endeavor give me a call, shoot me an email or yell really loud...

God Bless!!! oh yeah, please say a prayer for the people evacuated, the firemen and for the fire to be beat back.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Desert Broom, Cement and the Garden

I have been remiss in posting over the last several days.  It all stems from trying to get ready for a craft fair that we went to on Saturday.  You see last week I was trying to get as many pens as possible done, and spending a lot of time in the garden or in the shop, so the thing that had to suffer was the blogging.  So here's a bit of an update.

Last Thursday night we grilled zucchini, I think I posted about that.  For that grilling I think we pulled seven zucchini from the garden.  Then Saturday I pulled two more from the garden, well last night we pulled eight out of the garden.  I think we're going to slice and fry some of them and slice and grill others of them.  We are probably going to end up drying a whole bunch of zucchini in the excalibur this season (again).  The cucumber plants have really taken off and are growing.  I need to get the support up for them to grow on.  The tomato's are growing, although not putting off a lot of tomato's yet and now that the hot weather has set in I'm not sure we're going to get many until September.  Although I might get surprised. (praying for the tomato harvest)

Yesterday we went to scope out a new farmers market, at which to sell our pen's and cutting boards.  It didn't look promising.  I'm still ruminating on whether to branch out to this one or not.  There we only ten vendors there and not many shoppers so not too much activity going on.  Once we got home from that we spent most of the afternoon in the house, as it was 100 degrees outside and the sun was intense, so it was pretty relaxing.

In the evening we went out work on another detail to Jake's fort.  It's gonna have a chin up bar connected to it.  To do that we had to dig a short pole out that was cemented in place next to it.   My wife and son had both worked on it last week while I was at work, and found it.... daunting.  I took a sledge hammer and crow bar and was able to break the cement away from the post and pull it out then pull the cement out in chunks. So that is done until I get cement to put the new, longer post in place.

With that done we started in on removing a desert broom stump.  I took the sledge hammer and crow bar and started breaking chunks off.  It worked pretty well until the head of the sledge hammer came off.  So now I have two things to stop at the hardware store for.  A sledge hammer handle and a bag of cement.

That's the update for now... sorry for no pics.

God Bless!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Friend Plans a Pod Cast

A friend of mine is starting a pod cast, click the LINK to see what he has to say on his blog.  The blog  is a second amendment loving, freedom loving place and I expect the pod cast to be similar, check it out.

Grilled Zucchini

I never spell zucchini right so if I have it wrong in the article just pretend it's spelled right.   Two evenings ago after work my wife and I were in the garden and we looked at the zucchini's on the vine, they weren't quite ready, overnight someone must have replaced the vegetables, because yesterday my wife harvested seven fully grown zucchini's.  On my way home from work I had to stop at my parents to print business cards for our business and then and skeedaddled on home knowing those zucchini and my wife were waiting on me.  You see I love fried zucchini, seasoned just right then fried to a nice golden brown, however there's a better way to cook it.  If you slice the zucchini then brush on some EVOO and season it (I use montreal or canadian steak seasoning) then throw it on your grill it is a great treat.  During the summer we eat this all the time, and when I grill it I have to harvest and grill extra because I love eating it right off the grill.  Grill this up as a side for a nice steak or london broil cooked on the grill and you've got a meal fit for a king.  Be sure to leave the zucchini on the grill long enough for the sugars to caramelize and enjoy!!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Birthdays and D-Day

Not my birthday, my daughters.  She's 22 today time flies, yesterday she was in diapers and I was putting her big girl panties on her backwards (my wife and daughter still laugh at that).  She's grown now and in college and doing well, but I will always remember her as my little girl.

Today is also the anniversary for D-Day.  The day that launched our major involvement in the war in Europe during WWII.  A lot of men fought and died on this day, but with America's involvement in the war the Allied forces were on the path to the inevitable... the defeat of the Axis.  I pray for America today that the people have the resolve of their forefathers.  We need it now more than ever.

On the homestead, the grapes are coming back after being eaten back to the vine by the chickens.  The garden is extremely dry even with the layers of mulch we've put over the soil.  I'm glad we put the soaker hose under the mulch it helps a lot.  Luckily this is the first week where temperatures have been over 100 degrees for multiple days in a row.  I'm hoping for an early monsoon season, but that's probably unrealistic.  Well it's bed time...

God bless!  Remember He provided salvation, all you have to do is trust in Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Americans view of the Future

I never watch mainstream news on TV and don't normally read mainstream media articles, but this headline caught my eye: More Americans Think Economy Will Never Recover

A basic summary is that most Americans think it's going to be a long time before the economy and consumer spending is back to where it was pre-recession.  Some going so far as saying their spending will never be like it was before.

It seems people have a pretty poor outlook for the future, I find that sad.  My wife and I are among those who say we will never spend the same as we did in the past.  That doesn't mean we have a less comfortable life, in fact, in the last 3 years we have started eating healthier, better and less processed foods than ever before.  We have fundamentally transformed (thanks BIG O) our spending.  We have taken steps to produce our own food and be sustainable, and we'll continue working to be as self reliant as possible in that area.  All in all life is looking pretty good.  So the way I look at it, maybe this isn't a bad thing, maybe people will get back to the barter and/or trade among each other instead of going to the big stores.

There's a lot to be said for the barter system when items, time and possibly currency is being traded.  I believe it's more sustainable than a straight currency trade system.  Granted not everyone has the ability to trade time or knowledge, however those who don't have time or knowledge have the goods or extra items to trade.  I think we need to get back to that kind of system, but I also think we have to remind people that they can trade other things besides money.

God Bless!!! Remember He controls history.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Another Pen Finished

Below is the pen I finished tonight.  The pen is a real 30.06 shell.  The top is dear antler.

Click the picture to see a larger view
I also fed the chickens, but the pen and the chicken feed is all I did tonight after getting home from work.

Always something happening

Yesterday after taking time to reflect on the gift of freedom God has given us and the sacrifice of pioneers and soldiers to maintain that freedom we did some work around the homestead.  I put preservative on the bottom of the stringers of Jake's Fort and screwed in some footer boards around the bottom of the fort, unloaded the quad from the trailer and backed the trailer into it's normal parking space.  After that my wife and I went out to the shop and cleaned it up.  The cleaning wasn't as bad as I thought it was going t be.  I had thought it was going to take a long time because it was pretty dirty and my shop is about half the size it should be.  Cleaning did high light for me the need for at least 1 small garden shed.  I guess I need to add that to my list of projects.

We also did some burning yesterday.  We have desert broom stumps in our yard, right where I want to move the chicken coop to and where I want to set up a double composting bin.  So we built a fire over the top of one of the stumps and burned the fire on top of it.  I'm kind of leery of doing that because of how dry it is, but we were with the fire the whole time and we had a hose ready to water things down if need be.

Going back to the cleaning of the shop, here are some things I make in the shop and sell at a local farmers market.... I'm going to be expanding to other venues too.

Monday, May 30, 2011

American Memories

This is going to be my first post about American History, patriotic duty, and America's ability to just keep going.

During the beginning of the Revolutionary War on April 19, 1775 there were many feats of bravery.  I'm going to talk about one of them.  The man was a farmer, he was 80 years old, his name was Samuel Whittemore.

On this day of battle Mr. Whittemore killed 3 British Soldiers by ambush.  He killed one with his musket and the other two he killed with his dueling pistols.  With his firearms discharged he attacked the brigade with a sword.  In this hand to hand combat he was shot in the face, bayoneted thirteen time, beaten and left in the field next to the road to die.   He was later found trying to load his musket to continue to fight.  He was taken to a local doctors and nursed back to health.  He died at the age of 98 of natural causes.

This farmer who knew what it means to live free was willing to fight and die for what he believed in.  At his age he could have watched from the sidelines and no one would have thought any less of him, he was 80 years old after all.  Instead he put his life on the line to give us something for which we should be willing to fight and die. 

God has given us a great nation, He used brave men and women to show us personal responsibility, patriotic duty, and also to show us how to stand our ground when we are fighting for a just cause.

God Bless

By the way here is Samuel Whittemore's memorial marker:

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rodeo Boogers and a Good Time

For those of you who don't know at a rodeo it's really dusty.  Rodeo boogers are those boogers you get when the dust gets up in your nose and mixes with the snot.  These become rodeo boogers, you can't blow them out, if you ride motorcycles and quads you get the same thing, it's just called something different.  I tell you this to say I'm dirty, sore, tired and just plumb wore out.  You see today was the last Ranch Family Fun Day of the season for our church, Tanque Verde Cowboy Church.  We put on a mini-rodeo with rodeo type events have a church service then continue with the rodeo events after the church service and lunch.  This is our out reach to the rural/agricultural community in our area.  It's a lot of work and a really good time.

God Bless, I'm taking a shower and turning my brain off.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Fort - Completion

You want to see an 11 year who is proud of his Fort?  Just look at Jake.  We have to put some preservative on the bottom of the stringers which I will do on Sunday or Monday, and paint the steps but other than that we're done.

May Garden Tour

Blackberry flowering

Beans are growing

These are sun flowers and pumpkins.  My wife's idea and it seems to be working.

Last year the strawberries only covered a 3x6 food area.  They're growing...

Cucumbers, I'm gonna need to put supports up for them soon.

Yellow crook neck squash


The watermelon plants are taking their time.

Tomato's are growing slow, but there are fruit on those vines and a lot of flowers.

We're gonna have a lot of zucchini to pickle and dehydrate.
That's the garden as of about 6:00pm tonight.  God is really blessing us this year!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whats Going On

Sunday after the breakfast I posted about was made we went to painting the fort.  I don't have an airless but I do have brushes, rollers, and roller handles.  We had a good time putting the first coat of primer on until we ran out of primer.  I got another gallon of primer yesterday so we can get back to painting and hopefully have done by this weekend.

The garden is doing well.  We have tomato's growing on some of the vines and most of the vines have flowers on them.  The zucchini are starting to flower and a volunteer water melon that started growing in a blackberry bed has a flower on it as well.

The chickens had left the grape vines alone for about 6 weeks and I had thought we were past the time that they would bother them, but nope they ate the leaves off of all four of the vines.  Sunday my wife and I put chicken wire around the make shift supports I made for the vines.  New leaves are growing in so the vines should be fine.  I considered not protecting the vines, because I find it very comical to watch my wife chasing the chickens away from her vines. 

We have a tree in our back yard that had a tree well that was never built right.  Sunday we rebuilt the well.  I had a couple of stacks of retaining wall bricks... the red ones that you pick up at Home Depot or Lowes.  I got them for free from my dad who had redesigned a couple of his flower beds and didn't need them any more.  So anyway we put ten of those around the tree to hold the tree well in place.  Yesterday, while I was at work, my wife and daughter moved more of the bricks over by one of the apples trees so I could put them around the apple trees as well.  I put them around one of the trees last night after work.  I'll probably do the other one tonight.

I haven't bee out in the shop much lately.  I think tonight I'm going to spend some time working out there, getting it cleaned up and ready to make several pens.  I hate working in clutter and in spite of putting tools away every night when we worked on Jake's Fort it still got cluttered up. 

Well I better run for now I have to go to work in just a bit.  God Bless!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Breakfast

This morning my wife and I made breakfast.  The menu?

Buttermilk pancakes with fresh ground whole wheat

Fruit Compote

Whipped Cream

Eggs done to order.  And this is what you get when it's all added together:

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Homestead lay out

On an acre of land space for livestock is at a premium, to that end, I've been pondering where to put the rabbits and the goats.  We're also going to add another garden just for the plants like water melon, and squash so we can have even more room for those plants that take up less room.  The chicken coop is mobile and they can free range, so the coop placement isn't a big deal.

We have a cargo box placed along the north side of the house.  I'm going to drag that over about 10 feet.  The area between the house and the container is where I plan to have the rabbit hutches. This will give them shade and some protection from the winds we get.  I have a portable swamp cooler that I'm going to use also, in that I have a plan to make the hutches so that the swamp cooler will blow some cool air through the hutches on hot days.

I have some ideas on the goat enclosure too and I'm throwing some details around in my brain to work out how to position the pen, the goat barn and a milking area.

I guess the pea in my head will keep rattling for a bit...

Advice From an Old Homesteader

This is a post from 2011, of a list of homestead wisdom that I find useful and amusing.  I thought I would repost it because I like it and didn't want it to get lost in the shuffle.  I guess that's what you get when a blog author reviews old posts...

Take care,
Desert Rat
  • Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight
    and bull-strong.
  • Keep skunks and bankers at a
       (This is among my favorite pieces of wisdom.  This also relates to the judgement one later)
  • Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
  • A bumble bee is considerably faster than a
    John Deere tractor.
  • Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
  • Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
  • Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
  • Do not corner something that you know is meaner
    than you.
  • It don't take a very big person to carry a
  • You cannot unsay a cruel word.
  • Every path has a few puddles.
  • When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
  • The best sermons are lived, not preached.
  • Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway. 
  • Don't judge folks by their relatives.
  • Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  • Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
  • Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none. 
  • Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.  
  • If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.  
  • Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
  • The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
  • Always drink upstream from the herd. 
  • Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
  • Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in. 
  • If you get to thinkin' you're a person of someinfluence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around. 
  • Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. 
  • Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Not Much

I haven't had a lot to say the last couple of days.  Wednesday I was going to do some maintenance on the truck.  That got put off until today.  Thursday after work I met my wife, son, parents and brother at a local lake and we had a picnic dinner and then did some fishing.  Today I did the maintenance on the truck... oil change, plugs and wires, I need to lube the chassis... next week I guess.

The last couple of days I've been watching whats going on in the nations capital.  Not too happy about what I'm seeing.  Debt and bad accounting/bookkeeping in the legislative branch, a judicial branch who think they legislate from the bench, and horrible leadership from the executive branch and then to top of the whole thing not only is the CIC acting outside his powers in regards to the War Powers Act, he also sides with our enemies and is well on the way of making an enemy out of our ally.  Traiterous actions from all three branches and in spite of the will of the people the public servants are trying to rule.  We need elected officials who will do their jobs within the Constitution. 

Ok, enough of my ranting and rambling.  I better go to bed before the gasket at the top of my head blows off and I look like a cartoon character with steam blowing out.

Night All and God Bless.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let the Painting Begin

The roofing is done, which means the construction is complete.  The painting can begin now.  Below are some pics taken when we finished.  Jake was able to get on the roof, so I nailed the perimeter of the roofing while Jake did where I couldn't reach.  Jake had a couple of divets that we fixed with tar, but that's OK.

God Bless!!

Monday, May 16, 2011


I wasn't able to make any progress on the roofing today, the wind was blowing out here in the desert again.  There's a 30% chance of rain on Wednesday so wind or not tomorrow I will roof it.  I'm a little concerned about being on the roof.  I only used 2x4's on it thinking it's just an outside play area for a kid.  The 2x4's will handle Jake's weight no problem, but mine??? That's gonna be interesting.  I'm thinking about using some other 2x6's to brace it up if I have to get up there and I might have to get up there, because I don't want Jake 10 feet in the air with 30 miles an hour wind.  We'll see, pray for a calm day tomorrow.

Since I didn't make any progress on The Fort I thought I would show you what the place looked like in 2007 and what it looks like today.... This is the fourth year we have had the garden and the changes your going to see occurred just before we put in our first garden.

A mess, there was one trail leading through the jungle.

After, taken from the same place.
You can kind of see the trail through the grass.
Now it's clear to walk anywhere.
Today our garden is in this area.
A little better, but not done yet.
I took more loads of stuff to the dump than I care to remember.

We have continued to make progress.  Below are pics of the property today:

The little workshop to the left of the house I built from the ground up.  My wife was a great helper.

In the next year, we're gonna get a rooster to put in the chicken coop, we're going to, expand the garden for I think the fourth time, add a rabbitry and we're going to build a goat barn and add dairy goats to the homestead.  I'm excited to continue the move to being self reliant.