Category Archives: The Ranch

Friday Ranch Day October 9, 2013

The girls and I headed down to the garden to start winterizing this weekend and while Rose helped me to pull the onions, Evelyn wandered around as 15 month olds are known to do.

Evelyn – “While Sissy is off pulling onions, I’m gonna esplore.”


 “Outta my way Mommy, I’m esplorin!”


“Diggin, diggin, diggin in the dirt.”


“Dis flower is so butiful!”


 “It may be pretty but does it taste good?”


 “Oh my god!  This leaf ripped right off when I pulled!!!!!!!”


 “This place is falling apart around me.  I’m outta here!”



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Filed under Evelyn, Fun, Gardening, Gardening, Rose, The Ranch

Friday Ranch Day: May 31, 2013

The garden is fully planted now and even has the drip irrigation mostly installed.  Now to just get a power cord down there to turn on the timer.  That thing is fabulous!

Lots planted this year and with the newly built raised beds they actually have a chance of survival from the damn gophers.  Sure, it will take most of my lifetime to grow enough veggies to break even on the cost of the wood and dirt but hey, the piece of mind that barrier of wire mesh between my precious tomatoes and those furry little buggers is worth it.

Baby corn.

Baby Corn Plants

Baby tomatoes.

Baby Tomatoes

Baby potatoes.

Baby Potatoes

Baby peppers.

Baby Peppers

We also planted radishes, beans, egg plants, and tons of onions.  I still need to put down a layer of straw mulch to keep the soil moist since the hot California summer is only starting.

Blue Bird Update:  The little guys had flown the nest two days after I last wrote an update.  With five babies in there I bet the parents encouraged a quick graduation to adulthood.  ha!  Last week my dad took a peek inside and saw that there were 5 new eggs.  Those are some busy parents!

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Filed under Gardening, The Ranch

Friday Ranchday: Bluebird baby update

Last year my parents installed a bluebird box down by the horse pasture.  We saw a few sets of eggs in there and unfortnatly some dead babies due to ant infestation.  This year we used Tanglefoot on the box post and so far so good.  Yay!  Two weeks ago we noticed two eggs in the nest.  A few days later there were six.  Needless to say the mommy and daddy bluebirds are very busy this year.   Last week we came down and there were six little fluffy babies in there.

 Thursday Evening (6 tiny bundles of fluff)

Blue Bird Babies

A week in pictures of baby bluebird growth.

A week in pictures of baby bluebird growth.

Tuesday Evening. Feathers are starting to fill out.  I’m loving the little fluffy tufts around their heads.

 Friday morning.  The feathers have filled out even more.  You can see the one at the top right  is starting to get some blue.Baby bluebirds


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Filed under Spring, The Ranch

Signs of spring on the ranch

The blue bird nest is occupied again.  We are going to put Tanglefoot on the post this year in the hopes of not loosing any more babies to ants like we have in the past.
The Eureka lemons are bursting off the tree.  I see lots of juicing in my future.  The biggest thing I am looking forward with on weaning is being able to drink lemonade again.
Eureka Lemons

The vetch is blooming like crazy.  This causes mass amounts of excitement from a certain 3 year old who think purple is “THE BEST COLOR EVER”!


Finally, we have some very frustrated gophers who have discovered our newly installed raised beds.  They are trying their darndest to get in but to no avail.  Wahahahaha!  


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Filed under Spring, The Ranch

Getting our vitamin D

This Saturday, Evelyn and I had the afternoon to ourselves so we decided that would be a wonderful excuse to get outside and soak up some vitamin D.  It has been so hot the past few weeks that poking our head out of the house for longer than the run from the house to the car was out of the question.  Can you get Seasonal Affective Disorder in the summer?

The weather was a glorious 75 degrees and since we are lucky enough to live in our own personal park, out we went.  Can I tell you how much I love living here?

At 3 months old Evelyn decided that she was old enough to be forward facing in the Bjorn, at least for a short while.



We started off with a viewing of the local deer population (look down by the horse trailer).
Then visited the horses for a little nuzzle time.  “Why Ranger, what big nostrils you have!”
Then fixed some of the horse fencing.  Remind me to teach her not to touch the white tape.
Then checked out the pecans to see if they were ripe yet.  They weren’t.
Then did some sensory lessons on the fig leaves.  Evelyn judged them slightly sticky.
Then measured next years lemon crop.  Approximately baby fist sized.
All in all a good day.  Evelyn seemed to enjoy herself.  If anything, I know she liked chewing on the Bjorn.  Ha! 


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Filed under Evelyn, The Ranch

My little cowgirl

Rose came with me this morning to help feed the horses their breakfast.   This meant, of course, that the chore that usually takes 5 minutes took 15.  Being the forward looking mommy that I am however, I try to encourage a behavior of helping whenever I can (sorry Rose, you still can’t help stir the food cooking on the stove).  Helping with the horses has an added benefit to fostering her love of the tall fuzzy equines.  hehe.
Still, it has only been the last few months that I have felt confident in letting Rose walk beside me when I’m feeding as the horses who, while respectful of our space, can get a little worked up when food is involved.  This was a real heart in the mouth step in her toddlerhood.
In the morning, I spread the hay in piles all over the paddock to encourage the boys to wander and get some exercise.  This morning, the horses got both much smaller piles (when Rose could only grab a handful) and about half a flake (once I put the hay down to open a gate and she grabbed all that was left).  Rose then wandered about pointing out where she left the hay and chattering to the horses to make sure they knew where to go next.  Love it!
“Sorry Mommy, no time for pictures.  I have work to do!”
“I did it!  Do I have any hay on me Mommy?”
Looking at a happy horse and a job well done.

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Filed under Horses, Rose, The Ranch

The Bird Nest

If you live in the country and have a drier vent that looks like a nice safe place for a bird to make a nest and you only wash clothes once a week or so and you notice that your drier is taking forever to dry your clothes, you may want to check your vent.


You may find this inside.  A nice size nest blocking 75% of the vent hose.  I’m glad I checked.  That could have been a fire hazard!


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Filed under The Ranch

Life on the ‘ranch’

This year I decided to do soil solarization in the vegetable garden to hopefully kill the copious amounts of weeds and the gosh darned gophers.  It got so bad last year that I was a little tempted to use weed killer and I’m very pro organic. 

And the gophers.  Oh the gophers.  I made wire cages to plant the tomatoes in because so many of them got eaten the year before.  The gophers simply walked up the to plants, cut them down like a beaver, and then dragged them to their hole. Arg!

Since, no garden means no fresh veggies, my dad suggested we try a handing tomato planter.  So far so good.  The tomatoes are growing well (the weather is finally hot) and it’s fun to watch the plant try to reach up to the sky.  I’m looking forward to seeing how they do.  Cross your fingers for some yummy tomatoes in another month!

My parents brought over a blue bird house a few months ago and soon there was a happy family living inside.  The coolest thing about this bird house was one side was hinged and when opened, a clear plexy glass panel showed what was inside.  Little birds!  This family has since grown up and ‘flown the coup’ and now the house is home to a pair of finches.


We have a HUGE lemon tree in the orchard and it is finally time to start picking.  Yay!  The next few months will be filled with picking and juicing and freezing the flavorful, tart, fresh lemons.  I’ve heard you can freeze the zest too which is worth a try.  Lemon Bars here I come! 


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Filed under Spring, The Ranch

A thank you to my daughter.

My dearest Rose,

Thank you so much for showing me why I work so hard every week day.  Why I drag myself out of bed at 5am every weekday morning, drop you off at day care at a time most people’s alarm goes off (thank you Jenny for letting me drop her off so early!), drive to work in the dark, work my buns off for 9 hours (plus lunch), get home after 6pm and see you for only two hours before its time to tuck you in bed.

This weekend we had an epic time on the property.  We pet horses, picked flowers, watched hawks soar in the sky, and laughed as lady bugs crawled across our hands.  We lay under the an oak tree and watched the leaves blowing in the breeze.  We went on a ‘field trip’ through the bushes and found hidden places where only the bunnies roam.  We helped your daddy to pick up sticks in the pasture to put on the burn pile that you made sure we understood was ‘hot’.  You helped me feed the horses and I watched as you told Ranger ‘neigh, neigh, neigh!’ with a finger pointing at his feed bucket that you just put down to tell him just where his dinner was.  You protested with a loud “NO” whenever I dared to suggest that we go back inside. You spent an hour after Sunday night dinner with your grandma, wandering through grass as tall as you are, picking me flowers and showing her everything that is wonderful in nature.

Thank you again for let me know that you appreciated what I do so that you can live where you do.  I do it for me, I do it for your daddy but most of all, I do it for you.

The simple joy of being outside in nature.


Looking for sticks for daddy with mommy’s gloves.
Country strollers.


Filed under Horses, parenthood, Rose, The Ranch, working mom

Sunset Sunday – #1

I thought I would start showing off some of the other things that happen in and around our five acres that don’t directly involve Rose.  If you have never been to our house, you may not know that 4 of our 5 acres is on the side of a hill.  While this does present some issues (mowing, building, walking etc) it does allow for some absolutely breathtaking sunsets.

So her you go, week 1 of Sunset Sunday.  I’m starting off with what I found when I looked out my window last night.



Filed under Sunset, The Ranch