Hope you enjoy the pictures. Take care, stay safe and till next time... G&M
We were paid a visit by little 2nd cousin Evie from Welwyn Garden City near London. We were not sure what to expect when we said yes several months ago, but it turned out to be a great time for all of us as the pictures will attest. As always when we get a new British visitor they try again to claim a bit of territory. Well, Evie achieved her goal and claimed the goose nesting island in the pond for the Mother Country. So now there is Evie Island in the pond. Oh well, the geese won't know the difference in the spring.
Hope you enjoy the pictures. Take care, stay safe and till next time... G&M
It was so nice to see Trish and meet Henk from Holland. Trish was right back into all the activities around the ranch like it had only been a few weeks since she was here last. Actually it had been three years since her last visit. This was Henk's first visit to the ranch and got right into it. Of course poop patrol was limited (actually not!), but was busy with most of the power tools. It seems that most all the guys prefer the "Boy's Toys" over poop patrol. Don't blame them, but I am not moaning...
I know they are far and few between postings, but time is limited this time of year with all the activities being handled by just the two of us. HONEY TIME is great.
Oh yes, for those following the saga. Our insurance woes have been cleared but with a new direction. Due to additional costs involved that are a bit out of the budget, we are no longer providing broiler chickens or turkeys and are only selling live lambs and calves. Sorry to all our loyal customers, but we have had to be practical and ensure we will be on the ranch for a long time to come.
Time to head down to the barns. Take care, stay safe. Greg and Maureen
July has been a very busy month for visits by friends and family. Insurance woes can't stop us from seeing them even though the companies have stopped all other tours and visits. I guess one way around that is everyone who wants to see us is our friend. :) Which really is true. As Maureen says "A friend is a stranger you haven't yet met". Nobody leaves here a stranger!!
Jeff came back to see us for only a day. He was visiting many of his friends in a very tight few days. Thanks Jeff, for including us in your tight schedule. Hope all goes well for you.
Alyson came to see us for a day as well with dad, John. Dad John had a tight schedule for Alyson as well since she was only in the area for two weeks, with much to see and do.
Also, we were graced with a visit from Grace adding us to her few days off from her job in Edmonds. Always great to see her and how much she loves the animals.
Then there was a real surprise. As the expression goes what a "blast from the past". Dawn Bouchard Castaneda and her family paid us a visit along with her sister Terry and husband Jerry and granddaughter Briella. I (Greg) had not seen Dawn in probably about 30 years. Wow... It was so good to see her and her husband Julio and sons Michael and Charlie. It was great to introduce Maureen to Dawn and her family and see Terry and Jerry again. The kids just loved the animals. All of the animals were in great friendly form as usual. Then out came the homemade rhubarb wine/racket fuel for a bit of cool refreshment. It was lovely to see everyone.
Well time to go wash eggs and then bed time. Take care and stay safe as Maureen says. Greg and Maureen.
It all started on Sunday late in the afternoon. Horses and other animals were given second fiddle to the task facing us. Temperature was rising (hot) and the baler was in action. We got the call early in the morning that baling MIGHT start later in the day and possibly get about 150 bales done. No problem. That would be OK for one load Sunday. Well, 1/3 of the field later there were over 350 bales on the ground. After the second load we decided it was time to call it an evening. There was always tomorrow since there was no rain in the forecast (I was ignoring the temperature forecast!). Monday our crew (Patrick, Kelly and William) arrived about 11 am and we unloaded the trailer from the night before. Then it was off to the furnace. Mid afternoon Denise showed up for a friendly visit! Well... During hay time there is no real visiting. Denise was put to work making sure the stack was well salted. By the third load we were exhausted and HOT!! The temperature reached 97 at around 4pm. WATER!!!!
Just as we were coming back with the third load, Heidi was driving out to the field. Too late for the day but thankfully she offered to help. It was still hot when we finished for the day. We figured there were two loads left for Tuesday and Patrick had to work (Monday he had off) and Kelly would make it if there wasn't much work needing to be done at the shop.
Tuesday arrived and the trailer and truck were empty ready to go. William was still asleep when I called at 11:15 am (teenager!). By noon the three of us were in the truck and off to the furnace, again. The sun was relentless. Sweat dripping everywhere. At least the driver (Maureen) had the advantage of the air conditioner. William and I unloaded the trailer on the stack while Maureen was making her gourmet sandwiches for which she is noted. After the break and not really wanting to get back to it, We all unloaded the truck. Just as we were ready to take off, Kelly arrived to our surprise. Now there were four of us again headed back into the furnace. At least this time there was a slight breeze and even though it was 93, we did not feel as hot as we did on the first load. Then we could see it! THE LAST BALE!!!! Number 912. When you start and first drive out to the field, especially when temperatures are in the 90's, you look around and see all the bales and realize how big the task is. What is gratifying though, is the fact your friends are there to help, even under these extreme conditions. Once again, Maureen and I extend our thanks to Patrick, William and Kelly. Job well done. Time to take and deep breath and get ready for our friends that will start arriving on Thursday for a Rendezvous weekend. Last year we had loads of fun and we are looking forward to seeing everyone again.
Take care stay safe, G&M
No, Maureen was not pregnant... That would be a miracle!! Our oldest ewe finally had her lamb. But mom is not in the photo. It seems the lamb was more comfortable leaning up against auntie Dotty watched over by Chance while mom was off having a snooze. Its a shame for the lamb because all his half brothers and sisters are off to pastures elsewhere. He is all alone. We were hoping for twins from Granny, but oh well... Better one than having another miscarriage as happened in January. We welcome the new comer as always.
Despite all the negative around here lately a bright spot was a visit from Amanda and grandchildren. It was a whirlwind two days. We all had more help then we could deal with. It is so awesome to realize just how big Lady and Quest are when the two little ones are helping groom the big horses. We love the enthusiasm they all have toward the animals and activities going on around here. No one wanted to leave. We look forward to their next visit.
Friend Eve is currently visiting us as well enjoying all the relaxing (!!!) activities and licks and kisses from the animals.
We are still working the insurance problem. I am confident we will have a solution, but it will not be the same as it was before. We should have more word on that this week. Charm is under a strict diet and box rest for the time being. He will be getting a special pair of shoes today to help relieve the pressure and support the hooves. Lady is also on a diet and recovering from the stone bruises on her feet. It looks like she will be getting a pair of shoes, but thank heavens they won't have to be special made like Charm's. No riding for either of them for the next few months.
Sorry for the delay in getting going again, but we will try to get back on track. Take care, stay safe and have a great day. G&M
Well thanks to our current insurance company, we have had to make drastic changes to our dealings with the public. We can no longer offer ranch visits or participate in public events such as the KP Farm Tour!! The insurance company has deemed these activities not covered by our policy and have terminated our coverage...
We are in the process of looking for a new insurance company but have been told that agro-tourism is a special rider and can be expensive for us since we deal with live animals and the threat to the public of contracting e-coli is too great a risk for them. There are other issues with the company as well, but those do not need to be mentioned here.
It is a great sadness to us to have to close our gates to the public. We have enjoyed so much everyone's smiles. It was our way of giving something back to the community that has supported us in good times and bad. We will continue to be a part of the community in other ways and will still offer the hospitality to our friends and family. We will also continue with the "Almost Daily Diary" as best we can.
Thank you everyone and hopefully we will be able to resolve this problem. Here are a couple shots of Smokey and Bacon enjoying a refreshing drink.
Good morning everyone and Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely moms, especially mom Sikora and mum J. I know that it has been a while, but life has been busy here. Last Wednesday, two of Maureen;s sons Colin and Lee along with granddaughters Katie and Carly arrived from England for a visit. For me (Greg) it is so nice to see them since I have not seen them since 2006 when I went to England for a weekend. Maureen was even more excited, but thats a given. Its always nice to have family visit from any part of the world.
Lee's girls have gotten right down to the daily chores and realizing what its like to get up early and scoop the poop! Colin and Lee have gotten right into the scoops as well. Once they finish the cows and sheep, its off to the fun things like cutting fallen trees and brush and helping with more work on the erosion control project started last year.
Yesterday was extra special with Matt and family also coming for a days visit along with Jodi, Brennon and Cameron. Amanda's son, Jaden also tagged along with the crew and was back our for a visit. Out came the "boy's toys" and paper plates. It was an afternoon for taking a break from the daily routine and have some fun testing shooting skills and letting the girls try their hand a hitting a target. For Katie it was her first time shooting. I got a chance to try one of the bigger ones!
We finished the day off with Greg's famous homemade pizza. Move over Papa John's. Iv'e got my secret recipes that I'm willing to share!
Almost forgot to mention our new addition Luke. Also on Wednesday, we adopted an Australian Shepherd, 4 year old dog. Poor Bran must feel like he is on the down hill slope now. Not the case. Luke needed a good home with a job. So we figured we would give him a chance. We are going to get him some "real" training for him once we get some of the basics into him. Right now Luke is on a leash to keep him under control. He just wants to get right in there for the "chase". Looks like he will fit right into the organized chaos...
Well time to get on with everything else. Take care and stay safe. Love to Mom and Mum!
It has been quite a while since my last entry...not that there hasn't been plenty to write about, not that I haven't wanted to write, there has been a computer crisis in the Gentle Giant Internet cafe. Greg's laptop died and his backup didn't want to backup, leaving us competing for use of the surviving still functioning laptop...MINE ! Just to make things even more challenging, my doctor prescribed something to persuade my brain to sleep ( I think I scoop poop in my sleep). They work great...now maybe he can give me something to help me wake up !!!
Beautiful Baby Bella, the Jersey calf is now in size two head collar. That little lady guzzles two and a half gallons of rich creamy milk a day before she gallops out to the pasture with me tenaciously hanging on to the other end of the lead rope. Bella spends her day gamboling in the lush Spring grass with the lamb Brat Pack, resting under the shade of the big maple tree or with the older ewes watching the rain drops fall from the safety of the field shelter. Every two hours, armed with a fresh bottle of rich Jersey milk we call from the barn and little Bella appears for her protein/fat top up !
Smokey and Bacon the two (not so little any more) piglets have made themselves right at home. When the big farm truck enters the farm yard two little snouts appear from the door of the piggaloo (like an igloo... but for pigs) and it isn't long before shrill piglet squeals join the breakfast cacophony. T Bones insistent whinny's, the loud bleating of the matriarch ewes and the strident bleating of the lambs. The low moo from Daisy and the resounding thud of a wall kick from Player the gray thoroughbred. Clearly the breakfast service isn't fast enough and by the time I approach Pigville, Smokey and Bacon have virtually transfigured into battering rams on legs. Getting the gate open is my first challenge with the two rollypollys scuttling around my feet, getting the food into the usually upside down food bowl is a test of my ingenuity. Those chubby ladies are usually sitting in the dish before I can manage to pour the warm milk, mouths are open striving to catch the milk before it reaches the food bowl. Little pig's trotters scramble, milk splashes and little pig snouts loudly inhale the tasty mismash of milk bread potatoes vegetables and fruit as I empty the dinner bucket. Five minutes with little Smokey and Bacon feels like five minutes with Joe Frazier.....and they are still only piglets !!
Well, it's almost time to go down to the barn. The sun is shining over the pastures and glinting on the rippling pond. Another day is waiting to begin. Take care, keep safe. M
Bouncing bounding beautiful Bella. Our little Jersey calf is thriving and, almost two weeks old, every moment of every day is an adventure. Bran the Border Collie has a new partner in crime as collie and calf play catch and chase between the sprouting raspberry canes and through the still sleeping grape vines. In the turkey pen, Tom the turkey is still unsure of the curious calf as she places her dewy black muzzle up against the wire. His snood turning from placid pink to furious red and brilliant blue, he loudly warns Bella that he is ready to defend his harem should the calf venture any closer. Tux the big black rooster angrily scratches the ground, his collar feathers fluffed up and his beady little eyes fixed on the inquisitive Bella who calmly appears not to comprehend that his angry warning signs had already gone from green through amber and were now firmly on “ no closer” red. Easily guzzling ten quarts of creamy frothy milk a day, half a gallon in less than two minutes, it is difficult to recall our earlier anxieties when we weren’t sure the shivering little bundle of skin and bone was going to survive.
I had a few moments with Misty moo her lovely gentle mom yesterday as Greg was milking her. In between the pulsating surge of the milking machine, Misty put her beautiful face up against mine, her big brown eyes so close….her big wet nose against my cheek. It would have been a perfect moment… BUT have you ever felt the bristles on a cows nose ?!!!
Little Shrimp the orphan lamb is still a little shrimp. Each day the tiny lamb goes out into the pasture with her larger siblings and each evening we have to catch her to give her a bottle. Shrimp may be tiny but that little lady manages to give us a whole lot of trouble.
Smoky and Bacon the two little piglets are loving life on the ranch. To be a little more precise, I think it would be a little (lot) more honest to say…those little ladies are loving their food ! Progress has been made in persuading them that we aren’t going to eat them ( yet !) and I have managed ( at serious risk of losing my fingers at least…or my whole hand at worst !) to hand feed those voracious little piglets. Kevin and Greg were building muscles on Friday, busily building the new pig residence which will be grandly known as “Pigville”. Kevin is having the weekend for some well earned rest and relaxation after his week on the ranch and we thank him for all his support through a very busy week.
Jaden our young grandson returned to the city on Thursday after a three day visit to the Ranch. It is always fun to have the grandchildren and we look forward to more visits…soon.
Got to get this entry posted. Take care, keep safe, M