What Wind?

So the standing joke on the ranch is that newcomers, out-of-towners, basically anyone who doesn’t live in this area comes in and says “Gosh, it’s windy outside! I can’t believe it! 50 mph gusts? All week???!!! How do you do it?”

To which we say, “What wind?”

Yeah, windy days from now until sometime in the summer are the norm. But even the locals disagree on just HOW windy it gets. From what I gather, it’s a little crazier than normal. And a lot less snow, which worries a lot of us. Since we don’t irrigate our ranches (we have wells and earthen dams but you don’t really water yuccas on purpose), we depend on snowfall and rain. Luckily this summer was pretty wet but the winter, which usually affords us a good 5-10″ of snowfall hasn’t happened regularly. Instead, we had a 75 degree day yesterday on the ranch. Except for the wind breeze, it’s perfect springtime beer and wine drinking weather.  A little breezy but seriously gorgeous. And the trees are blooming. And I’m getting Spring Fever. All I want to do is go outside and plant things and dig in dirt. But here’s the ironic twist to all that. I can’t because it’s too damn windy breezy.

All this Spring Fever, however, has kept me from blogging. So let’s fix it! Because right now it’s ridiculously windy breezy.

Let’s start with fun stuff.

CHICKENS.  I have more chicks! There’s such a thing as chicken math. The rule of chicken math is that you never count your chickens, hatched or not. You just don’t. Instead, you guesstimate how many you have. I now have 15 plus a guinea; more on that later. Then you subtract any retired cluckers: that brings me down to 12. Roosters? 11 chickens. Any chicks or pullets who aren’t in laying mode yet? 4. So really I only have 4 chickens. And I get 5 eggs a day. Confused yet? Good! Because that’s the point of chicken math. If you don’t know how many you have, how is it an addiction? According to a few teachers I know it makes as much sense as common core math.

CATTLE. The ladies are doing great and the guys are happy to do their job! We lost one calf in late December and we are pretty sure they made boyfriend and girlfriend one starry night. They’re starting to get their maternal instincts in because one time Nacho tried to bark at them and they tried to trample him. I love my dogs but sometimes they need to know who’s boss. Around here, it’s the actual profit makers.

ALPACAS. I literally rarely ever see them. They’ve got 640 acres to roam and avoid the cattle, so they’re basically just feral alpacas. Still love them, though.

HORSES AND PONY. They’re still here, fat as ever, because they eat cake with the cows. Not human cake because I don’t share but giant pellet of feed made for livestock. Anyway, they love it and hang out with the cows because they get a little extra feed that way. Penelope is seriously gangster, by the way. She’ll run her little short legs up and get in the way of the cows when she think I’ve got food. She’s a hot mess.

HUMANS. We are great! We’ve had a ton of adventures lately, like checking out Great Wolf Lodge (LOVED IT and met some great staff members in the salon during our manicures. Oh, and the water park is the perfect size and the lifeguards aren’t sitting around – they’re working! OH, and how can I forget the bar? Yeah, full bar. You’re welcome.) Plus, I defeated the Dragon in MagiQuest. You walk around the hotel with a plastic wand; it’s basically a scavenger hunt but with 10 year old kids trying to help you find the dragon’s lair. I looked crazy until I beat it. Then they worshipped my awesomeness. I celebrated with a margarita.

We also went skiing. OK. Let me stop here. See, I don’t ski or swim well. Yes, I’ve been to the slopes and swam a sprint triathlon but I don’t ski or swim. I do it when provoked. It’s like people who say they only run when being chased. I only swim or ski when being chased. So, in good Red Lips fashion, we hit the slopes with our dear friends in Angel Fire. I still don’t get the point of going fast downhill on ice but I do have to say I had fun. The little one and I went to ski school. She got her first taste of snow (literally – poor thing fell on her face) and I ruled that bunny slope. I do have to say that the instructor made it a great day. Years ago (and possibly around the time I developed a distaste for skiing) my husband tried to teach me. “You just go” he said. “Pizza pie and french fry”. “Just fall, you’ll be ok.” Seriously, that was the lesson. After falling about 3 or 4 (or 25 I don’t remember) times I decided my day was best spent at the bar. But a new teacher, a better idea of what to do, and I was commanding the slopes for about 10 minutes before I was just tired. I’ve never slept so soundly.

I’m still “The Lips Lady” and love matching every lady to their perfect lip color! I mean, seriously, Clayton, NM has some gorgeous lips walking around. If you need help finding yours, contact me! Not only that, I’m LOVING the wine selections at viaOneHope. I still can’t pick a super duper favorite because then I crack open another one and it’s this crazy love connection. Wine is my Spirit Animal.

Oh, and special thanks to Kalyn G. who named Bert and Ernie AND also hooked me up with Girl Scout Cookies. Y’all. I wasn’t joking. Feel free to send me cool stuff.



Baby, it’s (finally) cold outside!

Well, hello, December. You already have dropped temps about a zillion degrees and there was even snow on the ground this morning. Heck, our basketball team had to cancel due to icy roads. While I’m still waiting for these crazy things called “blizzards” that everyone warned me about, I am thankful that we are here and our cows look good and we have hay and cake for them to eat. Not like birthday cake, it’s just compressed feed. More detail in another post because this one is kinda long as it is. Sorry, back to December… Thanks for showing up even though October and November dropped the ball. Ya see, I love December. For starters, it means I can put up my Christmas decor. Then there’s the whole yuletide cheer. People are happy when they’re full and they start their seasonal weight gain on Thanksgiving. Full tummies = happy people. Except for that one old crotchety person we all know who seriously needs to be un-Scrooged. And the warm fires. I LOVE warm fires and it doesn’t make sense to have a warm fire in 83 degrees. But 44? No one bats an eye. Heck, they ask you to put another log on. And since we have literally tons of wood, I can only happily oblige. So, December, I humbly implore you with all the cow chips a girl can muster: don’t screw this up.

So what else have we been up to at the ranch? Well, there was Thanksgiving and what a Thanksgiving! We went the non-traditional route, as is our traditional custom – does that make it traditional? – and got a cabin in Red River. I’m absolutely going to tell you where and how to contact them – click here for the site. We loved it! Clean, in order, and cozy. Both of our moms, us, our daughter, and my mom’s dog all in a 3 bedroom cabin in the woods. Well, not really in the woods because it’s mostly State or National Forest. But, it was near the Red River ski area and that has woody areas. So it’s in the woods. And also a stone’s throw from the lifts and shopping because Red River is small and awesome and I love it.

We enjoyed some well prepped food (cooked it at home, put it in a cooler, drove it on up) and lots of well prepped drinks (boxed wine – Bota Box is a game changer), and tubing on the bunny slope and shopping in the stores. By the way, I put in a photo of my Thanksgiving lip color. I literally had it on about 10am and it didn’t come off until about 10pm. No budge, no mess, no wine glass stains. I just HAD to show you because it was a really pretty color. You need some so follow the link here and order it already. Funny thing is that Taos is really only 45 minutes away so my mom still got her Black Friday shopping in without a hitch. Now the big event for our daughter (well, me too) was seeing the Man in Red. Santa. He was there. I saw him. And Mrs. Claus. She was there, too. She’s awesome. Huge fan of their holiday cheer. And they’re a true power couple! I mean, really: all year long he’s prepping for “his moment” and she’s just cooking away, probably feeding the reindeer, breaking some ice, tending to elves and their labor disputes, paying the bills and putting receipts for feed in Quickbooks and CattleMax (oh wait, that’s me) then she gets all gussied up and hands out candy canes and – let’s be real – we all know she’s the one in charge of the schedule. But she lets him have his day and just smiles and smiles. I bet as soon as Mr. Claus rides off she pours herself a box of Bota and soaks in a tub and listens to ANYTHING but Christmas music.

And just in case you’re wondering, no I don’t ski. Tried it, but I just don’t have that desire to hurl myself down an icy slope on toothpicks on purpose. The one time I tried snowboarding I hit my head on ice trying to get off the chair lift and I was done. If you want me to go skiing, do me a favor and open a tab at the bar. Plop me down and have fun in the freezing temps getting wind burn and I’ll buy the house a round and we can sing Christmas carols on the balcony as you french fry/pizza pie your way down the black diamond. Because no.

Speaking of trees, we found the perfect Christmas Tree. Every year our other somewhat non-traditional tradition is to go into the National Forest and cut down a tree. For $5, they’re yours for the taking! Plus, it helps the National Forest Service with thinning overgrown areas and you get a hike in with the family to enjoy some gorgeous scenery. Or if you’re like me and my husband, you get to pretend you’re a mountain goat and find the perfect tree that happens to be on the steepest hill in the canyon. But, hey, I got in a workout so that counts for something. Plus, no more $60 tree at the big box store! You can save that money or spend it on a fancy lunch or a gift for someone or even Starbucks!

Update on my animals: Dogs are great, cats are spoiled, the pony and horses love each other. I think they all pretend like they’re a little horse family now. Any time we take the pony in just to work with her, the mare gets all upset and paces the fence line and the gelding watches like the husband holding his wife’s purse at the mall as she raids JCPenney. Alpacas still love the wide open space they now have. I have no idea where their poop pile is but I’m sure I’ll find it once spring comes around and there’s a patch of perfectly green grass somewhere. The Guineas now greet us on the front porch EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. Tap tap tap on the window. Sounds cute but it’s really not. At 6:54am, it’s annoying. But they do keep bugs down and I have to remember that. Because right now….

And the chickens.

***Warning: I talk about eventual chicken death. Move on to the funny photos if that disturbs you.***

The chicks have moved in with the older hens. For the most part, they ignore each other. My problem is that one, Baby Lou, is a Cornish cross and he’s a big boy. Like huge. Compared to the other chicks, he’s just…gigantic. The other chicks weigh MAYBE 1.5lbs, while he’s a stout 8 or 9. And he’s so sweet! He actually comes up and wants to be petted, doesn’t flip out when I try to hold him, and pretty much is my favorite chicken ever! But here’s the Debbie Downer part. He’s a meat bird. Ya know the chicken you buy prepackaged at the store? That’s his breed. And I can’t keep him to breed babies because his type doesn’t do so well in the mating department. But I have a heart for my animals, even the ones that we grill in the summer. So I’m putting him on a weight management plan. It won’t stop the inevitable but it will at least slow it down.I kick all the fluffy butts out of the coop and I put the food a little bit away from the water to make him get some exercise. The pecking itself takes some energy, as does the walking back and forth. If it were summer or spring he could forage for bugs but it’s not so we make due. I think the exercise is working. He is much more active every day, he doesn’t tire as easily, meaning he can make about 20 steps before needing a break, and he’s getting sunshine and fresh air. All that is pretty much all I can do for him and as long as he’s not in pain, I’ll keep it up. Most people on my FB Chicken groups (yes, they do exist, don’t be jealous) say that it’s more humane to process/cull/eat him before he has a heart attack or becomes lame, while others say they had Cornish crosses for 2 years before they had to demote them to the stew pot. Now if that got your goose that I’d talk about eating my own chicken, well, I guess ranching isn’t for you. Fact is, it will happen and I have to put it in my head now that, yes, I am eating the meat I raised. However, I know that he was treated extremely well in his short lifetime and, as I took care of him he can now take care of my family by providing a nutritious meal in the future. Really, it’s the circle of life. And it moves us all. Through despair and hope and faith and love. Till we find our place on the path unwinding, it’s the circle, the circle of life.  It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it? You’re welcome.


Now that we’re all back on the same paragraph, I leave you with our crazy, totally random pictures of the holidays. Y’all be nice out there! Or go eat something. Then go work out because I hate New Year Resolutions. Why resolve later when you can resolve now?  Anyway, Happy Holidays!


Where did October go?

Dang, that was quick. I mean, I thought I’d only be gone for a week. I just looked back at my last blog post…it’s been almost a full month! Wow. Well, I guess I better get to updating y’all on what’s going on at the ranch.

We moved the cattle! I actually got to see this. The cows and calves get separated but they’re all going home. Before you get mad at me for telling you that moms and babies have to be separated, lemme tell ya why. They have to be for the safety of the calves…you don’t want one cow to get spooked and accidentally hurt a calf. Speaking of calves, we had a birth here on the ranch! Too bad we weren’t there to see it – we were at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta (AIBF) having way too much fun! We had the pleasure of taking care of these cattle all summer, now we will wait a few weeks and get our own herd. In the spring, I hope to have lots of pictures of our calves – they should be arrive mid-March. Of course, we decided to jump in to ranching when cattle prices are so low some people are struggling to pay the bills. So what’s my point? Eat some damn beef. Go local if you can. Or contact me and let’s make a deal. Not sayin’, just sayin’. I love the life we’re building out here and that we’ve literally become stewards of the land and the animals who live here – now help me and families just like mine continue this amazing tradition.

*Gets off her soapbox and continues with the blog*

Speaking of the AIBF, it was our daughter’s birthday. It was a pirate birthday and she was our pirate princess. Our tradition for the past few years is to camp out there (well, the lot we stay at has all the super nice coaches – it’s more glamping on a paved parking lot). We get there, set up camp, have a birthday party, invite all of our Albuquerque area friends, and everyone gets to stay and watch the fireworks and glow. It’s amazing! Balloon Fiesta is something we look forward to every year because we know we’ll have a great time, it’s easy to plan, and there’s nothing like seeing balloons hanging in the air at 8:30am. They’re like jeweled decorations on a tree except the tree is the beautiful New Mexico sky and I’m holding a breakfast burrito in my hand instead of a gift. We also took a detour to McCall’s Pumpkin Patch. Folks, you need to get to your local pumpkin patch – that was fun! Piggy races, a castle with princess tea time, a maize maze, and of course the coveted pumpkin picking. Oh and punkin’ chunkin’. Here’s the site for the World Championship of Punkin’ Chunkin’. Yes.

A bittersweet moment was remembering my father-in-law. One year ago he passed; I still expect to see him coming through the door. So much has changed in the past year but I think he’d be proud of what we’ve accomplished in that time. Actually, I think he’d be extremely impressed. My husband and I are definitely go-getter kind of people, so getting into a business on a wish and a dream sounds exactly like something we would do if you asked our close friends. One of our cousins came up to the ranch and had the sweet idea of reprinting photos of the family and sending them off on biodegradable balloons. It was a beautiful gesture and one I’ll never forget.

The alpacas are mad at me. Well, they’re mad at my husband but weren’t too pleased that we had to cut their nails. You’d think they’d be down for a manicure. Unfortunately, they hate being roped and I’m not really sure when they were haltered last. The halters we bought, even though they were listed as XL, were still too small. Which got me to thinking…are these alpaca/llama hybrids? They’re definitely big guys. Is that even possible? No matter, they’re still goofy and the best lawnmowers. PS – I’ve got lots of alpaca poop (aka beans!) if you want some.

The Harvest Moon! That amazingly gorgeous red sphere just peeked over the horizon. Wow. But ya know what? I got a bone to pick with the weather. I thought it was supposed to be cool now. Mother Nature is messing with us big time. The highs this and next week are in the high 80’s to low 90’s. I mean, seriously. Get it together! I almost switched out my wardrobe for sweaters and forgot and I’m STILL fine in t-shirts. I need my sweaters and alpaca mittens and wood-burning stove right now. Not shorts and tank tops. I need to retire summer for a bit.

Which reminds me, I have to postpone my dreams of another half marathon. I did something weird to my ankle on the last run and it’s been funky running ever since. Not broken or sprained, just twisted enough that if I run it hurts. The last time I ignored pain I ended up with a stress fracture, so I’ll just stick with a smaller distance and give myself more time to train. Extra time can’t hurt: along with this crazy heat, it’s also been ridiculously windy! I hate running in wind. And heat. Don’t mind the cold, unless it’s raining. Ok, I just love to hate running. But at least I have my indoor cycling!

Oh, my cycle playlist! So I made this for a dear friend of mine who inspired me to teach my kind of crazy and came to a lot of my cycle classes in Las Cruces. I would joke with her not to throw her water bottle at me but half the time she was too exhausted to do it. Or she was thirsty and didn’t want to waste her bottle on me. Anyway, I made a playlist for her and thought I’d share it with the world. You can listen to my version of crazy via Spotify by clicking here. Be warned, it’s angry, there’s techno, and most people who ever rode with me can hear me yelling and dancing in the aisles. It’s just how I roll. (Get it? How I roll? Because it’s on a bicycle???)

The damn chickens. OK. I gotta vent here (I did it again! Vent? Get it??!) The chicken perp is now a Guinea perp. I lost 10 of my 12 Guinea keets in ONE NIGHT. The other 2 are extremely quiet now and I can’t blame them. They lost all their siblings a month ago and we locked them out of their old coop. I refuse to let them be easy prey until we figure out what happened and how to stop it. Instead of being super smart and hanging with the chickens *inside* the re-purposed horse trailer, they prefer to roost *on top* of the trailer. I guess that works as long as an owl doesn’t spot a giant white or polka dot bird. At least they might have a chance of escape. As it is, Guinea fowl are only barely domesticated and usually roost in the trees of Africa with hyenas and lions and such so I guess they’ll be OK in New Mexico – at least, I hope. Andrea, you ask, why don’t you find some place safer for them and train them to go there? Lemme tell ya, we tried. We did let them roost for a bit inside the shop but, well, they poop a lot. They like to poop on things you’ll need the next day, like your toolbox. Or your indoor cycle. Or the 4-wheeler. It’s fun cleaning up bird poop, as I’m sure you can imagine. Really, they just kinda quit going inside and decided instead that the open air was more their style. As for the chickens, they’re doing better. Laura got her voice back, Rosa’s neck feathers are growing back, and 2 are going through their molting period. They all kinda look ugly and emaciated but I promise they’re well fed and spoiled rotten. I did somehow convince the hubby to let me get some chicks. They’re cute and fluffy and skittish and live safely in the workshop. If all works out, I could be getting 5-7 eggs a day – in six months or so. Oh joy!!!

Phew. That was a lot. It doesn’t include our trip to the Clayton Arts Festival, that time I drove to Las Vegas, NM to pick up my mom’s dog for his staycation, or the few days we spent cleaning out rat’s nests in the hunting camper. Seriously, those things happened ad ended up on the floor of my editing room. What have you been up to? Talk with me, walk with me, let’s hang out sometime!

Revenge: best served with eggs

Well, it happened. I didn’t want it to happen, I tried my best to avoid it, but it happened.

I lost a decent companion, one of those on the ranch that ensured I woke up every morning with purpose. I felt this coming but thought that I might have a moment or two before it happened. After all, doesn’t time move slower out in the country?

Today, my friends, I lost a friend. OK, not a friend at all, but still: I lost my rooster. To a predator. We aren’t sure what kind yet but I have a feeling it’s a raccoon. Ya see, predators have tell tale signs of attack. Without getting too detailed, and if you really wanna know here’s the link, the bite marks on the neck and chest and location of the crime scene fit the bill.

So what’s a girl to do to get rid of unwanted animals? Lemme be honest: I can’t love them all. I will definitely give preference to cuddly things that don’t attack my daughter, like to be loved, and offer some kind of mutual benefit. The cats, as lazy as they are, deter snakes and have tremendously helped our mouse problem. As do the Guinea hens. The dogs alert us to situations; Nacho barked last night and we thought he was just being crazy. He actually did his job and we didn’t listen. He also loves to remind us that my Amazon Prime order has come by UPS but I get excited, too. The chickens give eggs and eat bugs. The alpacas…well, those are still to be determined but they’re soft and pretty good at eating dandelion leaves and weeds.

Speaking of the alpacas, I am proud to report that after 12 days of hanging out with us, I was finally “allowed” to touch the alpha male. I still can’t get over their names, though. Anyway, the guys were laying down, or cushing, and relaxing from the late summer sunshine in the shade. I sat down next to him and slowly moved closer over a 5 minute period. The dogs weren’t much help, though. They saw a human at eye level and decided that meant I needed to pet them. They kinda ruined our bonding moment but hey, it was 5 minutes with my alpacas!!!

Back to the criminal. I cleaned up the remains of the body this morning as soon as I saw it then fumed and vented as we headed out of town to run other errands that needed to be done ASAP. Once back home, I cleaned out the coop, added some hardware cloth. It’s like a thick but flexible wire mesh – FYI chicken wire is NOT predator proof. It’s like putting string over a lion cage and saying it’s safe. It’s not.

Then I had that light bulb moment.

When I built the coop with the Guineas in mind I made a separate section just for the Guineas. I figured that IF they stuck around they would want a safe place to roost from the adult chickens, somewhere they could go to escape harassment while also acclimating to their new environment. They’re from Minnesota; we’re in New Mexico. Instead of just putting up more wire everywhere and not sleeping I decided to put them in the smaller Guinea coop. It’s seriously Fort Clucks in there. Metal grate for a door, metal roof and metal walls on two sides, hardware cloth and a shelf we turned on its side for nesting boxes. My girls hated it, but they’re safe tonight and that’s what matters to me.

We have a plan for the perp and I refuse to elaborate on it. If you’ve met a chicken lover before, they can probably tell you what will happen. If you haven’t…well, go find one and buy yourself a dozen of the freshest, most amazing eggs. Cook them up your favorite way. There is nothing like fresh eggs. When you’ve got something that wonderful at home, you tend to protect it. So now I’m down to 7 hens, no rooster, and 12 Guineas. And 7 cats. And 2 dogs. And 2 alpacas. Where the hell is my partridge in a pear tree? I don’t even like pears that much but I’d probably adopt it if I thought it would benefit me and I could save it from becoming pear tree paper.

If we catch this chicken thief, I’ll report it on my Facebook page. Did you know I have a Facebook page? I’m all techy and stuff. Follow the daily crazy here. Sorry, no pictures in this post. We already buried Hank. His name was Hank. Well, it was Hannah, but then he became a teenager and tried to have relations with the girls. So there’s that. Fly to the Cracked Corn, Hank.

The One Month Recap

Y’all…it’s been a month out on the ranch. Seriously, 4 weeks of craziness and whirlwind lifestyle changes and we’re still alive! I feel like that deserves a celebration on its own! I can’t believe how fast time has marched on. I thought it was supposed to slow down? Nope, not at all. Well, here’s the recap of our first month on the ranch.

We’ve almost moved in! JK, we have another 20 foot container to store all our crap, I mean treasures. Like this guitar that I’ve had since I was 14 and never learned to play. It goes with the violin I had serviced and never played.

My mother-in-law’s house is done. Woo hoo!!! It’s really nice and looks nothing like what you’d expect a mobile home to look like. If you want to see a sample of what she has, here’s a clip from the builder. One last inspection and she’ll be sending out greeting cards to friends. And if you buy that home, tell them I sent you. I get some kind of bonus or something.

I added more moves to the Cow Chips Workout. Need more shoulder and core work? Feel free to move dirt! In order to get the new house on a foundation, we had to move a lot of soil. Like a lot. So now that soil is just sitting there, being all rich and perfect. The stuff you pay $10 a bag for? It’s here in a giant mound just waiting to be used. We found ways to use it. Want more cardio but can’t fit in a long run? Just run from the workshop to the pens to the house. It’s a triangle of about 50 yards at each point. Continue that all day and you’ll rack up at least a mile.

*SHAMELESS PROMOTION ALERT* By the way, I LOVE Bondi Bands. They are amazing sweat keepers in the gym and even better in the humid, country air. You can get 10% off (and I get a teeny, tiny commission) by using promo code COWCHIPS at http://www.bondiband.com.

There’s a stock tank (aka the watering hole) for the cattle that needed some soil. After rainy weather, there’s a lot of mud. Cows don’t mind mud but mud breeds flies and gets in their hooves and makes it just difficult to get to the water. So we put some soil around there with a dump trailer and a backhoe. Then spread it all around with shovels. Super fun. And just to make sure the workout was complete, we have two pens that were once used for hogs and first time momma cows. They needed dirt…about 4-6 inches of it. So we backed in the dump trailer and, wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow, spread it around and then I spent a good deal of time stomping on the ground to compact the soil. That was my stairs workout. Trust me, after 9 hours of shoveling and stomping in boots, it really feels like stairs.

My husband and I weren’t alone in our endeavors this weekend, though. THANK GOODNESS!!! Another amazing family friend from Denver came by and helped us do all kinds of manual labor, including the shoveling. Did I mention he’s a part of the team that’s going to get the next space telescope up and running in space? Pretty cool if you ask me.

You know I couldn’t let a post go by without mentioning the girls. The chickens, silly! As of about 2 hours ago, we finished up their new coop. I like to think of it as a mansion because it’s literally way too big for just 8 crazy cluckers. The young ones are starting to go through puberty, FYI. How do I know? Well, it’s not like they get more hormonal or anything. They just start to try out their “big hen” voices and practice clucking. By the way, they all have names now. There’s Big Momma Lou, Rosa, Darla, Susana M, Miss Laura, Hannah, Hailey, and Harper. There’s a story behind all of them but that’s a future blog. Along with pictures of them in the new coop. I like to call it Fort Clucks (like Fort Knox but for chickens).

We found out that there is a small herd of elk close by! Why is that exciting? Well, elk were abundant a long time ago and just kinda disappeared, along with a lot of other species of animals, during the drought. Their return means that things are cycling back into better conditions. That’s a good thing, considering we just got here.

We voted. I won’t make this a political blog because I don’t want to. Plain and simple, I voted for the person I think will do a better job. But we did vote and wore our stickers proudly. She might be too young to vote, but it’s a part of the democratic process that we believe our child should know early on. Kinda like the ABC’s but a little more serious. All she knows is they had lollipops and stickers. Win win, I think.

We built a driveway. Remember all that mud I was just talking about? Well, you don’t want to track it into your house, eithe. So, Clay and I spread out crushed gravel to make a driveway and walkway. Once the native grasses grow back, it will be helpful, but until then…take your shoes off! That also involved shoveling and raking to level spots. It’s very zen, which counts as a mindful, yoga move in the Cow Chips Workout.

My daughter got to ride a horse with her new friend. She LOVED it! We will hopefully have a few on the ranch this weekend. It’s a long story but a neighbor lets us borrow horses in the summer. Just go with it. 🙂 Anyway, they’ll be here and Lily and I can’t wait to learn to ride for real! The green horse (the 4-wheeler) is awesome but to actually ride a horse on purpose and not fall off – that’s gonna be a great blog. Did I mention I have a small anxiety/fear of heights?

We also visited Trinidad, CO. Did you know that our local Walmart is approximately an hour away? Use Amazon or Wally World online, you say. Do you realize how much harder it is to justify online shopping when you know the delivery guy has to drive this far? Anyway, we stopped in for lunch downtown at Bella Luna Pizzeria, had some homemade fudge creations and enjoyed “fly” art at Tee’s Me Treat Me, and met a Clayton-ite at her boutique store on the corner! Her name is Cody and she’s really nice and has a great selection of women’s clothes and even a small section for girls. Too bad I’m a spazz and can’t remember the name of the store. Suit Your Taste Corner Boutique, I think it was? Oh, and we went grocery shopping at Safeway because Walmart was too complicated to get into. That’s a town we are definitely going to explore again!




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!