Monday, May 21, 2012

Home again home again, jiggity jig

Sorry I didn't post anything yesterday, but my goodness I was wiped after my phenomenal weekend at the Self Reliance Expo.

A few photos from the trip home:

Pike's Peak (taken from a moving vehicle). I still can't believe I could see it from my hotel room window all weekend long. Gorgeous.

This fawn accompanied us all the way to Spokane.

Seen from the air, it never fails to astound me how flat this part of the country is. Everything is laid out in grid-like perfection.

As we flew west, things got drier and drier. One of the overwhelming concerns I heard at the Expo from those wanting to move rural in Colorado was the lack of water. They're right -- it's a concern.

I am forever struck by the vast emptiness of this portion of the country. And it's empty for one simple reason: water. Or the lack thereof.

Soon we were flying over the reason for all that lack of water: the Rockies. So many states are in the rain shadow of these mighty mountains.

We passed over ridge after ridge, and it was easy to see how layers of moisture could be peeled off clouds until there's nothing left by the time it gets to the east side of the chain.

Just coming over Spokane.

Once we got home, the cattle immediately started to misbehave by plunging over the pasture fence onto the neighbor's property in the mistaken belief the grass was greener. Rather unusually, they behaved themselves while I was gone (our herd has a long and enthusiastic tradition of escaping fences the moment I leave home, leaving poor Don to contend with them as best he can solo). This time at least they had the courtesy of waiting until all four of us could grab push-poles and retrieve them.

We'd been meaning to push the animals back onto the wooded side of our property anyway (to let the pasture side grow up in grass a bit more), so we figured now was as good a time as any. The critters were all in high spirits, so the moment we opened the gate they galloped through.

Thankfully two out of our three out-of-bounds beasties immediately decided to follow (sometimes there's an advantage to the herd mentality), but Thor (Matilda's yearling) couldn't figure out which way to go. "Mama!"

At last he found he way through the gate (Don closed it behind him) and came thundering up the path.

"Mama!"  (That's Matilda, grazing on the left.)

And suddenly everything was peaceful again as the animals cropped down the grass in the driveway.

Being back on this side of the property means the livestock will be using a different water tank, which had grown yucky because we hadn't been changing the water.  So Older Daughter helped me tip the tank and dump out all the old water.

Time to scrub!

Here's the scrub brush. Ewww yuck.

Hosing off as I go. Soon the tank was fresh and clean.

Ahh, it's good to be home.


  1. We have a small plastic tank that gets ugly especially during the summer. I have found that a little water and a bunch of bleach sloshed around seems to clean it up. I then dump out the gunk and lightly rinse then refill. It also seems to keep the growths down for a short time as well.

    1. I found some algae preventative that consisted of barley straw sewn in small (3"x5") burlap bags. Barley straw has a safe, natural algaecide that lasts for months. It's best to clean the troughs first and we use a rock tied to the bags to keep the fun loving Dexters from playing with the bags.

  2. I found some algae preventive at the feed store that consisted of a good hand full of barley straw sewn into a small burlap bag.I had read about people in Europe using barley straw to stop algae but did not have access to any straw. They work like a champ. I suspect they could be made at home if you had barley straw. The only caution is, since Dexters are EXTREMLEY nosey it's best to tie said bag to a rock so they can't play with it.

  3. Patrice, Your cows look really healthy, how many do you have if you don't mind me asking? While you were flying back home (based on your pictures), you can see a major difference with the moisture and surroundings on the ground.

    1. We have twelve at the moment, soon to be eleven. We have a heifer slated for butchering, since I don't care for her personality and don't want to breed her.

      - Patrice

  4. You are so darn CUTE, which is something your readers probably do not realize! :o) We loved meeting you and all the way home, my husband and I were talking about, "she". "She said..." "Remember she said..." Of course, SHE was YOU! LOL

  5. You have a horse. Do you ever use it? Horses are very useful when working cattle. Jeff

    1. No, sadly we don't ride her. She was given to us many years ago but neither Don nor I are "horse people" and so she remains friendly but untrained. There's an excellent trainer here locally but we'd have to scare up a lot more money than we have available to get her trained to ride. So for now she's a big pet.

      Instead she's taken on the role of herd guardian, of all things. I've seen her chase coyotes and stray dogs out of the pasture in a hurry!

      - Patrice

  6. I'm struck by a couple things in this great post today:

    1. My fear of flying is off the charts and I won't do it for anything, for anybody or for anything. That's why I love seeing pictures other people have taken from the air. It's the only way I'll ever see what we look like from up there. Amazing. I noticed how in that one picture, the only green lushness in the picture is on the banks of the river running through the city.

    2. You really love your farm.

    Just Me