The next two questions come from Jessica. I've known Jessica since I was 18 when we met in college.
1. "Where do you want to end up eventually (geographically)? Stay in NV? Move on to bigger and better ranches?"
End up? Most definitely somewhere with more land. We are hoping for at least 5 acres. And not in Nevada. More mountains and trees and hunting and fishing opportunities. We've talked Montana and Colorado. But we haven't ruled out places more eastern. It just kind of depends on finances and finding the right place. We'd love to have a place that backs up to public lands so we can be more isolated. B and I went to see the second part of The Hobbit, and after being out in public for dinner and a movie we realized something. In B's words "we aren't meant for public consumption." B makes me look like an extrovert. So having a place that's just us (my only requirement is I have internet access) sounds like heaven. Away from everyone except those we want to invite. :)
2. "If you had another career option, do you wish it could be something involving more mathematics?? ;) "
Uhm...no. Do I wish that I was more naturally gifted in the realm of mathematics? Yes. I do. And then maybe if I was, I'd weigh my options for different careers.
Some more from Brooke:
What is your favorite thing about yourself? Least favorite? Why?
My favorite thing about myself is my loyalty. I have always been loyal. But...it's been a downfall for me as well. Because I take a lot more BS from people because I call them family or friends. It takes a major incident for me to change my loyalties. Superficially? I love my eyes. :)
My least favorite? The fact that I have a big heart and love hard. This can be a bonus, but it makes me vulnerable...and I hate being vulnerable.
"You've got a ranch sitter for a month and money is free. Where do you go? What do you do? Who do you see? And who do you bring with you?"
Now that's kind of a tough question. I'd love to travel and investigate all the places we'd be looking to retire. Or maybe take a hunting/fishing trip to Alaska. Who would I see? Anyone that happened to be along whatever path we took. Who would I take? B, of course...and maybe kids, but only if they could promise not to be whiny. :)
Okay! I'm back. I figured I needed to get a few more answered before all five kids invade this weekend!! I pick the girls up this afternoon after school and B's kids arrive tomorrow evening.
So... on to Jaime's question.
"What does your average 'ranch life' day look like?"
Well, it's really not all that exciting most days...even though I love it and wish I could spend more of my time raising animals. The winter is completely different than the summer, so I will give you both versions.
Winter: Right now the main work is the chickens and maintaining firewood prep. The chickens have a coop and a closed in pen, but we let them out most days to roam the majority of the yard. We currently have 37. So every morning I let them out, check their grain, water, and see if they have laid any eggs yet. This morning I picked up 5 before 9 a.m. In the afternoons we spoil the birds completely. Every day they get a pot of freshly cooked white rice and a head of lettuce plus any leftovers/scraps that they enjoy. Once that's all cooked and prepped, I take it out and feed them. If we haven't fed them by 3 p.m. they all start lining up at the fence line waiting. They know the chow is coming. Chickens aren't smart but their stomachs definitely can tell time. On my way out to feed, I usually restock our firewood basket in the house and empty the wheelbarrow so I can refill it from the barn. We have to do a head count on the chickens every day to make sure we got them all locked up. I missed one day and we had one of our Rhode Island reds hiding. Kai promptly found her and killed her. :( After making sure the grain buckets are filled, I usually check their straw in the coop and pull out the stuff that is really coated in poop. Twice a week we shovel the poop and straw off the floor and clean out the bins and give them fresh straw. This makes them almost as happy as seeing the bucket o' chow coming their way. I collect the eggs that have been laid up until that point...which if they are going to lay, the majority have done it by 3 p.m. Then it's off to refill the wheelbarrow. After the birds are locked up, I let the dogs run through the whole yard. Now I have little Thalia under foot as I'm trying to wheel the wheelbarrow. She's still so little I worry about running her over.
We had three huge cottonwood trees in the front yard that were half dead. This week we cut them down and just finished hauling the wood into the back yard so it can finish drying and be split. It made me extremely happy to have all that free wood that is starting us off for next winter.
Summer: Summer is so much busier. In addition to the normal chicken routine, we have a garden in front and a garden in back. They are on sprinklers but we manually turn them on. So there is weeding and watering and harvesting. Harvesting leads to canning tomatoes and squash. Since we usually have a late freeze in late May early June and again get an early freeze usually in mid September, our growing season is fairly short. So when the tomato plants get hit with the freeze or we see it coming, we pick every last green tomato and ripen them in our kitchen window. We figured out last year that both shelves in the window hold about 14 quarts of canned tomatoes. That cycle is usually a crazy afternoon of blanching tomatoes, peeling the skins, filling jars, and sealing the jars.
Last year we raised two pigs. We will do that again this year. We are also hoping to get a steer as well. The pigs were a TON of work. They needed to be feed their hard chow a couple of times a day. Last year I was making daily trips to the local grocery store that would give us their old trimmings from the produce department. Then I would come home and sort out what I knew they liked from the stuff that would just go into the compost. I would also rotate all this food. It was anywhere between 2 and 10 boxes. And I didn't want to waste any by not finding the bottom of a box. The pigs also needed to be watered and their pen shoveled from all the poop they create. They also love fresh dirt, so every couple of days after shoveling the poop out, we would refill the missing dirt with 3-4+ wheelbarrowfuls of fresh dirt. We also get wood cutting permits and head up to the mountains for many truckloads of wood that then needs to be unloaded, cut, split, and stacked. The wood stove is our heater during the winter, so we don't want to run out...especially with five kids here half the time.
This spring we will get another dozen chicks to raise so they can start laying by fall. Have to keep the rotation up as when the birds get to be between 2 and 3 their production starts to taper off. Right now we get anywhere between 18 and 26 eggs a day. Raising the chicks is a whole other amount of work. They have to be monitored so they stay warm and fed and not beating up each other. There is definitely a *pecking order* when it comes to chickens.
Now, you add in the fact that I have little Thalia who is going to learn to hunt with me next year, and she and I have a lot of learn and practice. Then throw in the fact that in order to actually have a productive hunt given the opportunity, I need to practice my shooting as well. :)
It's a busy life and one that I absolutely love.
"Do you plan on doing another Insane Road Trip?"
Oh, Thea. I so wish I was. I had so much fun that summer. I wish I had the money to just take off for 6 weeks and go. But as you can see from my description of my daily life...my current life isn't really conducive to that. But know you can always road trip (or plane trip) to come see us! We can always use the extra hands to help!!
I'll be back soon to answer the next two. Another by Brooke and a couple by Jessica!
And to keep me talking if you think of anything else...ask away!!
I had forgotten when a girl asks for questions and you're friends with Brooke that you'll inevitably get this questions. Others have asked for questions, and she has always asked this one. And who am I to avoid the tough questions. I mean...I am a mother of three.
"you know I'm gonna ask poop question. Like how long is your longest. Do you ever, under any circumstances show it to B or your kids. Would you rather ______ or eat poop."
So. My longest? I'm not exactly sure because I've never actually *measured* the length of my poop. I am not quite as poop-obsessed as Brooke. :) I have never shown my poop to anyone before...with no plans to start. And I'd rather do just about anything than eat poop. But for the sake of answering with a specific answer for Brooke...I'd rather eat tuna casserole than eat poop. (I abhor hot tuna fish out of a can. For me it's like eating vomit.)
The next question I'll answer is from Lisa.
"Do you run still? Are you signed up for any races? When will I see you again?"
This first question makes me a little sad. Well, let's be honest they all sorta make me sad.
First, do I still run? Yes, but on a very rare occasion. I won't make excuses for not running. I miss running consistently. I seriously want to get back into running three days a week. Even if it's only a couple miles. I tweeted something to that effect around the end of last year. And here we are on January 22nd and I have yet to run once this year. Life is busy and inconsistent and my sleep habits are random, so the rare day that I get to sleep in or just relax, I take advantage of that. Ranch life has it's own set of requirements, and come spring/summer time we will have more pigs, chickens, and possibly a cow. That provides a lot more physical effort that a run. Running used to be my "out" - my own time. Now? Relaxing looks like reading, watching a movie, working on the house/yard/animals.
I am not signed up for any races. There is a big part of me that wants to run the Reno race again...I've run it every years for the past four. I've historically run the half. There is no way I could do that again. I know I'm not in the right frame of mind to train like I need to and my running muscle memory is all but gone. I am signed up for a couple of virtual races, but for me it will be less of a "race" and more of a motivator to get out and put some miles in.
Why do these first two questions make me sad? Because for the last 8+ years I have identified myself as a runner. In 2013 I ran a total of 180 miles. This included one full marathon and four half marathons. Many of my friends (including the beautiful one that asked me this question) I met because of running and racing. Now I feel like I've lost that part of me and don't have that common interest with those friends anymore.
The final question? When will Lisa see me again? Honestly, hooker? You need to get your ass out to Nevada. Make it an adult-only trip and we will do it a week when we have no kids in the house. Come visit us. Two divorces and bills are making it near impossible for B and/or I to travel. I would *LOVE* to see your new place though. I miss you, SAH.
Tomorrow I will answer two more questions. If anyone else has any questions or this sparked one, please ask and I will respond.
So, I know how horrible I was at blogging in 2013. So I'm opening up the blog to answer any and all (mostly) questions you may have. If you have any. If you don't? Then the blog will probably remain quiet. :) So it's up to you to get me started on blogging again. No pressure.