Category Archives: Images


Food for thought.

I’ve been busy. I work for a non-profit and it’s fundraise-the-shit-out-of-the-end-of-the-year time. And as the email and direct mail fundraiser, I’m slammed. That means I’ve been writing…A TON. And it makes very little room in my brain for blog writing. I am limited to making short and slightly witty comments on Facebook. That’s all I can handle. It’s rather sad. Next thing you know I’ll be on Twitter because I’ll only be able to come up with 140 characters of interesting things to say. That will be my demise, people. My demise.

Anyhoo, here’s a little re-cap of what’s been going down on the ranch…

Fall was short-lived. I heard folks around here talk about how it’s basically summer and winter in the Sierras. I could not bring myself to accept that, as I love Fall. I love the vibrantly colored leaves, the chill in the air, but more than anything I love the food. Around October, I fall back in love with my oven. Pot roast, soups, stews…Though, I do wait till it’s the very last day to break it off with my grill. I’ll grill in 45 degree weather, just to say goodbye. And then it’s off to the warm arms of my oven.

The Fall leaves were so lovely- our aspens twinkled in yellow hues, our cottonwoods glowed and the pastures wore a lovely shade of gold.

Then BOOM. One snow storm came and went and the landscape changed. I think every leaf on our huge, 100 year old cottonwood trees dropped in a single day. Winter was here.

Still, I relished in those 2+weeks of Fall.  I come from the land of No Fall. So I’ll take Any Fall At All. (Did you see that? I’m totally channelling Dr.Suess.)

Winter is here. It’s cold. Even the cobwebs freeze.


And let me tell you, when you hear the phrase “a storm is blowing in”, know that that very phrase originated in the Sierra Valley. There is no fury like a Sierra Valley wind. I’m talking blow your kids away type winds. I’m talking your house is shaking, creaking and the double pane vinyl windows are bending type winds. I’m saying if my chickens weren’t low to the ground, they’d be flying by my window and down the road type winds. These are some crazy ass winds. Case in point:

This was our trampoline.

This was our trampoline.

Once the storm arrives, we’ll have that husssshhhh of the snow falling. That insulating hush where the world slows down, you feel like you are encased in a feather pillow and your eyes can’t help but watch the flakes of snow drift down in front of you.

How I love the snow.


We also adopted 3 more goats. A family was moving and they needed to rehome their 4-H goats. She had them on Craig’s list, but apparantly everyone who contacted her wanted to eat them. So, she was looking for a home that would not make birria out of the goats. We assured her we wanted pasture mowers not goat stew and adopted them into our ever-growing ranch family. To be perfectly honest, I can see why people wanted to eat them. They are freaking huge. They’re not ordinary goats, they’re pot-belly pig goats.

I told my kids they could each name a goat. Sophie, my practical and thoughtful child, kept the name the goat was given, Rosie. Cooper, my nostalgic boy, named his “Rock and Roll Bob” after a fish that was “re-homed” to the ocean before we moved here. Mason named his “Cow” in honor of his enduring love of all things bovine.

Every morning I walk out to the pasture to behold all the goats, faces pressed against the wire fence, hollering for hay. It makes me laugh, without fail. Seriously, how could this not make you chuckle?

Our goat, Cow.

Our goat, Cow.

So, I’ve been busy.  Sure, my professional work life is busy, but being busy for a non-profit is a good, rewarding kind of busy.  In my non-professional work life, it’s now a different kind of busy. It’s being busy because I’m working with my hands, getting mucky and muddy, sweating not because I’m on a treadmill at the gym, but because I’m digging a ditch kind of busy. It’s homesteading busy, I suppose. That kind of busy I don’t mind glorifying. I think it’s what I’m meant to be busy with and it’s the kind of busy I like. It’s being busy with a purpose.

I’ve got a few more stories to tell about the goings-ons around here…new post to come….

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Ranch Images

Fall is in the air and in the leaves…

Sunset over Sierraville.

Clouds after a storm.

Cooper meet Cow, Cow meet Cooper.

Slightly Curious Goats.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Sierraville Jr. Rodeo. (I need lessons from one of these kids.)

Sierra County Country Fair.

Old Fashion Marionette Show.

My chicks are starting to lay tiny eggs. (Large egg on left is from one of my older hens)

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Ranch Sights

Baby birds in our apple tree.

Rainbow during a crazy storm.

A frog I caught in our kitchen and released back into the wild.

A batch of pickled watermelon rind going into the canner.

A huge rainbow trout my husband caught in our creek.

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Ranch Sights

A tiny bird’s nest in our apple tree.

Note to self: Don’t drink the water in the creek that runs by our house. Apparently, it’s a bovine bathhouse.

It’s hay season around here. So much so that my neighbor referred to herself as a “Hay Widow”.

Golden Fields of Hay.

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They do exist. We saw one at Reno’s Sierra Safari Zoo. I couldn’t get a good picture of her, dammit. Sorry.

And yes, it’s pretty much my favorite animal.



Fireworks and Parades

4th of July was a pretty mellow day for us.

We attended an early 4th of July celebration in a Portola last Saturday…lake swimming at the Mill Pond, beer, BBQ, country karaoke, civil war reenactment (what a peculiar and interesting sight it was to see civil war soldiers mingling amongst the 4th of July revelers) and fireworks.

When we lived in the ‘burbs of Orange County we attended a 4th of July celebration in Ladera Ranch, where we lived for a year. While it was fun, it was completely over the top. They had a enormous, corporate-sponsored stage (large enough to hold a bloody Rolling Stones concert), 3 or 4 live bands, a professional MC and the fireworks display…whoa nelly…it was HUGE and intricately choreographed. All bells and whistles included. It rivaled Disneyland’s nightly fireworks. While impressive, I much preferred Portola’s Mill Pond fireworks experience-on a lake surrounded by trees, hearing music from a modest PA that played a scratchy John Sousa Phillips march and John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” with belly full of beer and BBQ.

It’s hard to describe the difference…but it seems to lie in intention. The Ladera Ranch 4th was all about putting on a impressive show. Like driving a fancy car to impress strangers (a rampant hobby in Ladera). It was a “keeping up with the Joneses” type experience. Up here, there’s no aim to impress, only an aim to have a damn good time.

Alright, enough of my petty comparisons…

On the morning of the 4th, I took the kids to a parade in another nearby town called Loyalton. It was idyllic- a genuine, small, hometown parade.  It lasted all but 10 minutes and everyone knew everyone in the parade and attending the parade. Our neighbors drove their logging truck and the kids looked like they saw movie stars- (“WE KNOW THEM!!!!”) The parade participants passed out American flags (one bearing “Made In China” which was met with great disdain by the rancher next to me and I internally noted the irony) and threw candy from the firetrucks, tractors, old cars and wagons. The kids dashed about picking up the loot. (“We never got candy at a parade before Mom! AWESOME!!!”) As  a bonus, since the parade route was short, the parade circled back through and we got to hoot and holler all over again. It was pretty awesome.

Just like so many things around here, this 4th of July parade was genuine and heart-felt.

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Where’s Ella?



Love is in the air.



United States of Cast Iron

Henrique Oliviera Yatzer

Peace Out, River Trout


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