Week 2 Recap

Que cute! First pic is Lily when she fell asleep on Dad in the 410D. I guess it’s comforting enough.

Second top pic is a bug. I don’t know what it is, but it obviously gets good reception.

Last pic is of the girls in the coop. 8 of them!!! I need a bigger coop.

 

Wow, it’s almost the end of week 2. Seriously? I mean, where did the time go? It’s been 13 days as of today and I have learned so much and gained so much more patience than I thought was capable. So here is a recap of the week AKA Things I Love:

  1. I lifted salt blocks. I don’t love them, necessarily, but the cattle did. That counts, right? Those little buggers are 50 pounds each. We had 6 of them. I had to unload them off the back of the truck, loaded 3 of them onto the flatbed and into our storage container and the other 3 went by the watering hole. The cattle were very happy to see me that day. Nothing like a good, clean salt lick! The whole point of all that moving was that I needed to lift something. I might not be teaching a fitness class but I need to know that I’ve still “got it”. Guess what? I still got it.
  2. I’m not as squeamish as I thought. Big beetle the size of my thumb? Cool. Chicken poop all over my shoes? Awesome. Cattle poo on my jeans because a certain little girl needed to be picked up? Just a part of life. Just a lot of poo out here. Then again, I haven’t had to help birth a calf yet. That squeamish thing might just be a fluke.
  3. I love my lip balm. Remember when I was procrastinating and didn’t want to pack so I made some lip balm instead? Well, thank goodness I did because that stuff is coming in handy. The weather up here is gorgeous – perfect sunsets, rolling clouds, breezy/windy conditions most days. But all that wind and sun and dry air can really rob a girl’s moisture. When I’m not rocking my LipSense (I am always rocking that, FYI), I’m using that lip balm. Usually it’s right before bed. A little dab and I’m good to go! Plus, I made it so I know what’s in it and can make more. Want the recipe? It’s crazy easy. I used my doTerra Peppermint Oil in mine to give it a little zing and also used a bit more beeswax so it doesn’t melt as easy in the hot summer sun. I bet orange, lavender, lemon, or ylang ylang would be nice, too! Click here for the recipe or Click here to order your doTerra Essential Oils.
  4. I love chickens. Like seriously love having chickens. I started off with the 3 we brought up with us. Then our amazing friends came up to help install stuff for my mother-in-law’s house and brought up 5 older hens. I currently have 8 chickens total and 2 eggs. I’m obsessed with improving their living conditions and making another coop for the guinea keets that will show up after the 4th of July. Yes, guinea keets are coming! It’s still too cold according to the breeder in our area. And how can I argue? Yesterday was high 80’s, today is low 70’s, and there’s a chance of moisture till next weekend. As I finish this entry, the wind is blowing in the tail end of a storm…we might get rain today!
  5. If you’re in Las Cruces, the amazing people at Horse ‘n Hound Feed and Supply are amazing. I wanted to get their Chick Days emails but deleted them all a while ago. Rachel not only sent me the blog link but she also is an incredible graphic designer. Check out the Chick Days blog here and check out Rachel’s work here. I need to go work on the ramp for my coop. There’s already plans there!
  6. I love small town living! Seriously, a tight knit community is amazing. We’ve been able to get things done so quickly. And it’s literally done with a smile, a handshake, a hug. Love it.
  7. I can’t believe I’m saying this because it almost doesn’t make sense to me (especially since my last post featured my favorite mug) but….I’m learning to love the mornings. I’ll let that settle in for a bit.

Till next time!

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Week One.

Wow, we survived!!! It’s been one week on the ranch and already some new experiences to share.

  1. I am waking up early. Like 6:12am early. That’s not news to most people but I am not a morning person. It’s not that I hate mornings, I just love my bed a little more. Even my BFF got me a coffee mug with Grumpy on one side and the other side reads “I hate mornings”. She gets me. The funny thing is, not only am I waking up early, I wake up with a smile. Literally, I wake up smiling! That’s a big deal for this city girl.
  2. The chickens are thriving. They know me, they know my voice, they get all excited when I let them out of their temporary home. By the way, it’s a cardboard garment box that we cut back and then added wire mesh on top. And the garment box’s hanging bar is a perfect roost. Add water, food, and pine shavings, and these girls are happy! We’ve got the whole shebang in the office so they get to practice “free ranging” for about an hour at a time while I blog and/or clean out their home. At least we think they’re girls….no one’s crowing yet. They’re about 7 weeks old and definitely getting their personalities. A huge thanks to the folks at Horse N Hound Feed and Supply in Las Cruces for their weekly email updates! You can check out their blog here. We didn’t think we would have chicks this early but their weekly updates have been invaluable!
  3. We have too much crap. Seriously, the house is stuffed with all we need and then some. We aren’t done packing. WTF???? I feel like a hoarder. We also have about half a container full of stuff neatly stacked on shelves so we can look through it later, and we are also talking about getting another one to move the tack supplies (aka horse gear) into so nothing is crowded. My husband was genius in not just stuffing it all in – one can actually walk in, unpack what’s necessary, and still have room to move. I would have thrown it all in and prayed it didn’t bust at the seams. At least with his plan, I can easily find things. Smart man. And cute, too!
  4. I love the sun. It finally came out yesterday and I couldn’t be happier! Today has been breezy and beautiful, and we’ve put in some good work. The birds are happy, too, so I get to hear them singing and flying and chasing little bugs. My husband even caught a couple of horny toads. My daughter made him release them – they needed to go home to their families. That one is destined to be a vet. I hope so because then she can help doctor the cattle. Apparently, you doctor cattle.
  5. The days never go as planned. Neither does counting cattle. Yesterday, my husband had about a million people needing input as he’s finishing up the work on my mother-in-law’s house (it’s almost done and it’s gorgeous!!!) when the water stopped flowing. So that was about a 2 hour delay. Then we went to count the cattle. It’s something we do often. First, you should know that all your cattle are there. If there’s a stray or sick one, they need to get help ASAP so that you don’t have a loss. Losses for any agricultural business is bad stuff. So, we check on the cattle, make sure there’s ample food (grass), water, and that the moms are nursing their babies. We came up 2 short…and counted 5 times. The funny thing is two of them were calves and the grass is high. They were so far into little cow dreamland that we had to go looking for them! But everyone was there, all were safe and happy, and they are just doing their cow thing. My daughter loves seeing them walk by the house. You can tell the calves are trying to figure out how to get across the cattle guard. Let’s hope she doesn’t help them. 😉
  6. It’s easier to lose weight when you can’t get to PicQuik or another gas station. So far, it’s been 1 week and I’m down 4 pounds. Granted, that 4 was put on by stress and fast food eating the last few weeks we were in Las Cruces, but wow. *Update: it’s 5:45am and now it’s 6 pounds. It might be the scale, it might be the dehydration, but whatever it is, it counts!
  7. I appreciate those hard workouts even more. When I was teaching fitness classes long ago (like 3 weeks ago), there were some classes that left me so sore that I could barely lift an arm the next day or two. Challenging myself and the class to pick up heavier weights wasn’t just because we needed to show off – it was because apparently I was prepping all of us for the labor entailed in ranch work. It feels good to put all that gym work to use.
  8. It’s all gonna work itself out. That’s my mantra now. I’m feeling exhausted, stressed, overworked, underpaid (aren’t we all?), and it always seems like there’s one more thing that has to be done before we can do the other thing that seems to be more important. But guess what? It’s all gonna work itself out. Besides, I have pretty lip colors – my go-to lately is Caramel Apple with Rose Gloss. How can things go wrong when you still feel pretty stepping in cow poop?
  9. PS – Is there such a thing as a lap bird? Because this also happened….

chick.jpg

Moooove.

See what I did there? Cattle moo, we’re moving??? I am hilarious.

Anyway, we finally did it – we moved to the ranch!!! All this talk of doing it and writing about packing and how much I hate it has led us to the final result. We are officially ranchers. 🙂

The trip itself was the roughest one yet. We’ve had some crazy times going back in forth, especially right after Christmas when the blizzards hit and almost shut down the highways. But there’s nothing like driving the dually (aka Big Butt Trucks) and a Uhaul through Albuquerque on a Saturday afternoon…where you have to drive 70 in a 65mph or get hit. I grew up in Albuquerque for my teenage and young adult years and, now that I’ve driven our truck through it, remember why I am moving to the country. That was scary! We made it without a problem and headed on home. About 5 hours after that, we were on our caliche road. Caliche is hardened calcium carbonate that acts like rough asphalt. Works great out here!

Did I mention we have chickens now? Yeah, I drove 8 hours from one part of the state to a far corner of New Mexico with 3 chicks as my passenger. They survived and are thriving in the office now but sheesh. Food, water, poop, and the kid…they got a little crazy every now and then, especially on the outskirts of Las Vegas when one tried to literally fly the coop. Luckily, I had a random lightweight summer scarf that kept them contained. I can only imagine the crash that could have happened if it was in Albuquerque. Right now, they’re sleeping by my feet. They really like to peck at my rain boots and follow me around. Soon enough, we will move them outside in an old horse trailer we can convert to a pretty well fortressed coop. Sometime in June or July, they’ll have friends. And by friends I mean guinea keets. Keets is the term used for guinea chicks. Then they turn into guinea fowl. Either way, it’s a game bird that can sound the alarm for predators and apparently will attack snakes. We have both here, so it’s a good thing. At least until they’re sounding alarms at 2am and waking us up.

Speaking of rain boots, it’s been cold and dreary here all week! Literally, I haven’t seen the sun for more than 10 minutes at a time. I joked with my husband that he moved us to Scotland. Fog, drizzle, rain, slush hail, more fog, lots of clouds. But, I get to have warm fires every night and sweaters. Good thing because I have yet to find my summer clothes.

Oh, and the only internet is out in the office. Nothing in the house. No TV, either. We have movies, of course. I think the one who is most affected by the internet is me. I am lame on FB posts! The TV affects my Sprout-addicted daughter for sure. She didn’t understand how we had a TV but no cartoons. She’ll get over it. Or we’ll get wifi in the house and stream it in…just sayin’.

 

 

 

The Concert!!!

I’ll admit it: once upon a time I was a starving artist. And by starving I meant that I was working 40 hours a week and then headed to practice and then headed home about 11pm every night for a few weeks. I wasn’t really starving like New York where you work the temp job and then run to an audition and pay your coach and teacher and whatever else and scrape up enough coins to cover your 1/6th of rent. Ok, I wasn’t starving at all. I was actually extremely well off while I was still studying for my Master of Music. A full-time job, tuition remission, benefits. I was spoiled, in fact. No regrets there!

I always have loved singing. Whether it’s a foreign language in a big hall or the car with my daughter (we’re digging Adele lately), I love to sing. At the same time, I’m weird about singing randomly at a party. I’ve always felt it’s not some circus act…I don’t sing on demand. There’s a lot of time, practice, work, blood, sweat, tears poured into singing. So if you just ask me “to sing something” there’s a good chance I’ll say no. It’s not that I’m a snob about it, but I guess I am. Yeah, I’m a snob about it. Ask my BFF’s. They had to pay to sit in theatres to watch me sing. And they’re my BFF’s!!! There’s so much more to me than singing and I get a little ruffled. If you can figure out my taxes really quick, you might get a few notes. And if you do get me singing, don’t expect it to be in English. I’m snarky like that. Unless it’s Adele, in which case my daughter might join me. Or Frozen. Ask for Frozen. I dare you. 🙂

Some people ask why I never pursued the dream of being onstage, of “making” it in some big city with bright lights. Well, I guess my idea of making it is a little different. I love coming home to a warm house, my family, food…it’s really nice! I guess my cut throat, competitive spirit just isn’t there. I want everyone to succeed and flourish. Now if you ask my voice teacher, she still can’t understand why I’m not singing in New York or Houston or wherever. I just have no desire to leave my happy place. I’m making it already! But that doesn’t mean I’ve turned my back on music. At all. As a matter of fact, being out here is rekindling my love of music and art and all the beautiful lessons they can teach.

So that brings me to this concert I just sang. I had the absolute honor of performing with the Albuquerque Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by David Felberg. I LOVE singing with this kind of conductor. He allows the entire group to express their sentiments through music. We work together as a team and the results are phenomenal. I really respect a maestro who can lead us together like that. We also got to sing in some astounding venues! The first was a high school in Rio Rancho. Yes, a high school. With some of the best acoustics I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. The other was an equally beautiful sounding space, the National Hispanic Cultural Center. I’ve had the honor of singing there many times with a local zarzuela (Spanish opera) company and jumped at the chance to sing there again.

We performed Mahler Symphony No. 2, also known as the Resurrection Symphony. One of my favorite pieces of all time, the 4th Movement, is titled Urlicht. It’s German and loosely translates to Primal Light. Beautiful, the percussion actually shines throughout the entire symphony, and the brass…then the violin and alto “duet”.  Then we get into the finale and the chorus joins and the soprano floats gorgeous notes in the stratosphere and…see? I get carried away easily. Just in case you want more info, here’s a translation provided by the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra and there are multiple recordings. (If I chose just one, I’m sure to get comments “Why that recording? Obviously the 19xx recording of (insert last name of famous singer/conductor/orchestra) is better. I decided not to tempt fate on this one.) I’m pretty sure it’s a perfect example of music and life crossing paths. One week after this concert we are moving. Literally, resurrecting the ranch. Ironic that this piece is the one I perform, huh?

How did it go? Perfect. Except for when I got too caught up in the gorgeous sound that is an orchestra and forgot some words. And then when I got a frog caught in my throat and had to clear it. But, hey, I gave my 1000% effort and worked through it. If there ever is a recording I can share, I will.

 

 

 

 

The Test Bake Post #1

Lemme tell ya a bit more about that Cake in a Crate thing.

I love desserts. Well, I love making desserts. I can make a dessert and leave it for days. But, there are some things that even I can’t pass up. Like a chocolate tart. Or chocolate ganache (pronounced Guh-nosh; also pronounced Hell Yes). Just sayin’, I have my weaknesses. So when a former opera singer friend of mine decided to become an entrepreneuress of baked goods, I had to help her out. I mean, what kind of person wouldn’t want to help someone out with their visions of gluten free, non-processed, yummy delights? I know.

So, I volunteered my time (and my husband’s waistline) to become a test baker for Cake in a Crate. The idea is that you get plant based, organic, natural ingredients. No pre-processed strangeness with chemicals you can’t pronounce or spell. They come pre-packaged, pre-measured, and instructions are included in a box. You can either make them immediately or save them or be really nice and give them as a gift. No guessing, no investments in hard-to-find ingredients; shake and bake on this.

I recently took on the Chocolate Chip Cake. It has chocolate chips baked into the batter. And chocolate ganache for frosting. When we were asked who would volunteer to try out the recipe, my answer was: Yes. Yes. Yes. Remember, I have no interest in actually getting to the work I need to do…like packing.

I can’t give you the recipe but I will tell you this was stupid easy to make. Not only that, it was amazing! I found all the ingredients at our local Natural Grocers and my house smelled like happiness and comfort.

Cake in a Crate just goes to show that, yes, you can have your cake and eat it, too. Order one today and use the discount code on the site to save on your first purchase. A word of caution – order earlier than you think you need to compensate for shipping time. Ya know, just in case you decide to eat it and need time to make another.

 

City Slickers Unite!

Just got back from 2 amazing nights of the Las Cruces Country Music Festival and Rodeo. My daughter has decided she can ride faster than the barrel racers. She’s 4, never ridden a horse, but ok. Anything is possible.

Now I’m watching HGTV’s newest show “We Bought the Farm”. Let me tell ya, I’m only a few steps ahead of this guy…they want at least 5 acres but have no clue what 5 acres looks like. Far from the big city but then one house is too far. So yes, but no. Wait, it gets better.

The family is touring the barn and the husband just asked “Where’s the room where you hang everything?” I wish they had shown the realtor’s face when she answered “That’s called the tack room”. 7 minutes in and I’m already obsessed with this show.

In the end, they get 10 acres, most remote location, highest in their budget, a giant barn with multiple stalls, oh, and there’s a horse arena in the back.

The second episode just started and she’s skeet shooting. She wants 15 acres, needs stalls, would build if necessary, and she likes motocross. She at least knows what a hay rack is…I just learned what that thing is that holds the hay.

So what’s the point of all this? If you want to be all philosophical about it, I guess it’s that we all start somewhere. The first episode was where I was about three months ago. I’ve learned a lot (exactly what is to come in another blog post) and I still have loads more to learn. The second episode portrays how much I need to know.

Then again, maybe I really just wanted to tell you about the tack room comment. Even I had to giggle at that one.

Strangely, it reminds me of the time my friend Heidi told me not to try to milk the cows with only one teet.  You think the guy in he first episode knows that?