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Welcome! Our blog focuses on environmental conservation, education, green living & wildlife rescue! We have put together links to resources, books and information to help you and your children learn more about these topics. Please feel free to comment on any items posted. Rate or review us on NetworkedBlogs (Facebook app) & Blogged. Tell your friends about us. Follow us on Twitter and other sites listed on this page. There's a banner & widget if you would like to include us on your webpage. All we ask is that you please keep any comments here G-rated for the kids!

NOTE: The birds & squirrel pictured at the top of this page and in the slideshow below are just a few that I have helped rehabilitate.
WARNING: Please do not touch a wild animal, especially the young ones. If you remove a baby from it's home, sometimes the mother is just off getting it's baby food and will be back.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Turkey Day, a bit early

My Beautiful BBB Turkeys;
now THIS is how a turkey is supposed to look!
(If I do say so myself, lol!)

Amongst the recalls and rumors, here it is almost Thanksgiving and I don't have too much nice to say about the turkey industry, I'm very sorry.  I know that the poultry industry really started out with good concepts, but it truly has gotten out of hand.  Antibiotics were once used to treat infection; not prevent it.  Hormones are a dangerous thing no matter how you look at it.  If they are medically called for as is sometimes the case in the aid of recovery for human beings and they should be scrutinized very carefully.  But who in their right mind wants to eat that stuff???  Not me.

The more I read, the more it convinces me that I am doing the right thing by raising our own food (or even hunting) , trying to buy local whenever I can and to really notice where my food comes from if I do have to buy it from the grocery store.  There are a lot of ways to go local folks; even at 9,000 feet in elevation.  You don't necessarily have to grow the stuff yourself.

You can buy direct from the farmers, at a drastically reduced price.  You can go online and buy from someone like Door to Door Organics; which obviously brings the stuff right to your door.  Or there are a couple of great websites dedicated to the eating local movement.  Eat Local Challenge is "a group weblog focusing on the importance of locally and sustainably grown food".  But the best one to get the whole family involved in is Eat Local.  It has a great animated feel to it that the kids will love and a down to earth way of explaining why it is so important to buy locally.

So come on Rebels and GSO readers, let's send those government cronies a message and tell them we chose to eat locally and sustainably.  Let them hear your message through your purchases, tell your friends to do the same, that is where we hit them the the wallet; quiet and peacefully.

Have a great day!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Putting the garden to bed for another winter

'Tis the season - not the shopping season, sillies. 'Tis the season for putting the garden to bed. I'm a little late this year because of cataract surgery. I was either in surgery, recovering from surgery, or on restrictions related to surgery for the majority of October. Some of the restrictions included bending from the waste or lifting anything more than ten lb., so digging up the garden and spreading compost were, well, out of the question. I managed to find a few mornings when I wasn't restricted and took out the tomato supports and the boards that become my stepping path (can't call them stones, now can I). Two weeks later, with pressure behind the eyes settling and the miracle of a warm day, I did more raking. The silver maple that towers over our yard is still dropping its leaves. I raked for an hour Sunday morning, dumping the leaves on the triangle garden plot to insulate it and decompose atop the soil.

We brought in the herbs and set the shelves in the sunniest part of the living room. This spot is also rather drafty, so I might put the greenhouse covering on the shelves. Readers, what do you think? Will my herbs do better in the house if they're sheltered a bit? The water might not evaporate quite as quickly, and they might stay warmer. It's certainly worth a try.

If I don't have another chance to work out in the yard, I've accomplished enough that my garden beds will live through the winter and be ready for spring. Spring... it seems so far away!

Now, I'd better get to that holiday shopping.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Meet (or is it meat?) The Meatrix....

Go ahead, I dare you to check out this funny video about modern day meat blood or gore and it really gets the point across!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Welcome Double J!

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the newest member of the family...The Double J Ranch!  You can find us at dbljdotorg (soon) and (NOW!).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Join us Rebels, Tell the FDA to regulate GMO foods!

Good Morning Rebels (GSO readers, that is what I call my regular readers over at The Royal Ranch site, in case you were wondering-ha!)!  Happy hump day; hope you are having a wonderful week; but even more importantly I hope you will join me in signing this all important petition.  It is high time we know exactly what we are eating; and that people who are not yet even aware of how deeply GMO foods are embedded into our everyday diets, become aware and knowledgeable about what they are putting into the mouths of their beloved families!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Top Ten Reasons to Walk to Work

10. The streets in the neighborhood are beautiful, especially in autumn.

9. I spend most of my day in a cubicle in a chair; walking lets me stretch.

8. Driving less often reduces my family's dependence on gas and saves money.

7. Walking home provides thoughtful "decompression" time after a busy day.

6. I enjoy the fresh air.

5. Walking is good exercise.

4. I lower my carbon footprint by leaving the minivan in the garage.

3. Driving less often saves wear and tear on my aging minivan.

2. Parking at my workplace is limited, to say the least.

1. This is the view of my favorite easy-out, shady parking spot after the latest storm went through.

Yeah, the aging minivan would have been toast. I wasn't working that day, luckily.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Thank goodness for the Farmers' Market

I bought a butternut squash and a pound of zucchini at the Farmers' Market. But why? I planted both varieties in my garden!

The only squash in my garden is a hybrid. Imagine it: green, but in the shape of a butternut squash. My dilemma: what should we call this? Zutternut? Butterzuch? Zhuccernut? Oh, well, I guess I'll see what it looks and tastes like before I decide. I might end up calling it compost.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not a natural flower

Wisconsinites like to say that there are two seasons: winter and road construction. We're currently in the latter season. The evidence is everywhere. In fact, road construction barricades have their own names in this part of the country.

See these? We call them Schneider Eggs.

Without Schneider eggs, where would the big orange trucks come from?

Last week I heard a bus driver refer to the orange markers as "Wisconsin's State Flower." Ooh, ooh, here's a bouquet growing in -- gravel?

I see these flowers spread out when they're allowed to grow in grass.

If the big orange cones are Wisconsin's State Flower, what are these?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Pickles! We have pickles!

Here you go, a quick look at the result of Tuesday's recipe. Let's see: one jar is open and in the refrigerator, one jar went to my brother's house, one jar is on its way to my mom's...

I think I need to make a second batch. Works for me! Tastier than store-bought, and less expensive, too. Need I mention it's my favorite kitchen towel? Nah. You knew that.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Farmers' Market Days

Saturdays are Market Days - Farmers' Market, that is. I reserve Saturday mornings for going to the market and buying whatever is in season. I reserve the afternoons for prepping and freezing or even canning. Here's a taste.

Berries! From left to right: sweet Bing cherries, blueberries & raspberries. The blue and red mixed when I dropped the bag as I tried to fit one more purchase in my big blue bag on wheels.

The first chore of Market Day this week: sort the mixed up berries. I nibbled quite a few. After this, I rinsed all three kinds of fruit and pitted the cherries. The blueberries are now in the freezer; the cherries and raspberries will be eaten by Tuesday.

Here's the rest! From left to right, again: sweet corn, asparagus (the last of the season!), garlic, onions, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and lots of pickling cucumbers. You can tell I had a goal - pickles. The batch of fresh dill was on the deck; I bought it at the mid-week market on Wednesday.

I offered before and after for the berries: here's the After shot of the dill pickle spears. It was a busy night, but totally worthwhile. Some time in the winter, we'll appreciate the spoils of the summer. We won't have to buy store pickles, a money savings. These will taste so much richer, too -- being made from locally grown ingredients and made in my own kitchen.

Now that's a Market Day I can enjoy from start to finish.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

'Nuf Said!

Dear GSO Readers,

I recently went into my local feed store because I was entirely out of my regular organic/Non-GMO/no-soy feed for my poultry.  I have to tell you I was so totally caught off guard by the owners total lack of knowledge and even defense on the subject of Genetically Engineered feed that I even had myself wondering if this was a lost battle.  That was until I got back in the truck with my kids and my fifteen year old son said "Mom, I could tell you were getting really mad; and I understand your point.  I just don't think I can explain it".

That is when I realized that I am so passionate about this movement and how it has affected the growth of our children (really, did girls used to have boobs and bums that size?) that I have a hard time coming up with the proper words.  So, although I promised my regular readers a different post for next time, I read some wonderful news online today that really brings my point home; and PLEASE take the time to read the entire article; you don't want to miss paragraphs like this:

Many NaturalNews readers will recall the numerous incidents involving lawsuits filed by Monsanto against non-GMO farms whose crops were inadvertently contaminated by GM material. In many of these cases, the defendants ended up becoming bankrupted by Monsanto, even though Monsanto's patented materials were the trespassers at fault.


But it appears that the tables are now turning. Instead of Monsanto winning against organic farmers, organic farmers can now achieve victory against Monsanto. In other words, farmers being infringed upon by the drifting of GM material into their fields now have a legal leg to stand on in the pursuit of justice against Monsanto and the other biotechnology giants whose "frankencrops" are responsible for causing widespread contamination of the American food supply.

Just like the title, "Nuf Said!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Signs of a Gardener

You may be a gardener at heart if:

  • There's dirt under your nails.
Dirt? Is that all? I either have dirt under my nails or fingers stained with cherries, strawberries, or thumbs that are green from shelling peas or - you get the picture.
  • You think of soil as a foundation, the stable ingredient in creating a garden space.
After ten years of composting - okay, twelve plus - the soil in my first garden bed is rich and dark and drains well. The new garden is still heavy with clay, but improving a little every year. It needs a little decomposing TLC.
  • You have a specific pair of shoes for the garden.
I have a pair of crocs. I can get them wet or muddy and I don't care.
  • Watering is relaxing, not stressful.
Filling a watering can from a rain barrel or setting up a soaker hose takes time, and it's a good use of time. My mind wanders, my shoulders relax, and any stress headache goes away.
  • You welcome rain or sunshine.
Rain provides a good soaking to the plants and fills the rain barrels for later. Sunshine invites stems and branches to reach for the sky and grow to their full potential.
  • You talk to the plants.
"Geez, beans, I gave you a nice set of climbing equipment. Why do you insist on attaching to the fencing? It'll just put you within range of the bunnies and other furry critters who might nibble, and then... here. I'll show you." Meanwhile, I'm wrapping the bean vines around the supports I just put in and hoping they get the idea. And maybe hoping the neighbors didn't hear me.
  • You talk to critters who might turn up near your precious plants.
Hey, rabbit, how did you get in there? What do you think you're doing, relaxing in my lettuce?

I only came up with seven. Can you make this a top ten list, readers? Add your signs of a true gardener by commenting.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dear NFL Owners and Players;

Dear NFL Owners and Players;

I sincerely hope you'll find a settlement sooner rather than later. In the meantime, I'll keep harvesting and cooking one of my favorite fresh vegetable combinations:

Green Bay Packers beans.
Say it with me: green and yellow, green and yellow, green and yellow...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Farmageddon; a great movie supporting local agriculture!

As you all know, I am very dedicated to supporting my local farmers as much as possible.  But for me, living in the mountains and not really having local farmers that is a little harder to do.  It is a learning process (one that I am very much still in the process of), Colorado may not be the biggest agricultural state, but by golly it is an agricultural state by some standards; mine included.

I am very proud to be a part of the agricultural business, I say it is in my blood.  It must have skipped a generation (my Mom is not really into the whole animal/growing thing-ha!).  See, my Grandparents were farmers in Iowa; they moved here to leave the farm life behind, I do believe.  But somehow it is just inside some of us, and I can't help myself...when I collect the eggs I am fascinated with the smooth little jewels of various colors.  And oh, my wonderful sheep that bleat for me if I am late to feed them...

And as for my packing llama string...I recently saw some pictures on Pinecam (our local gossip emag-ha!) of our ranch with Charlie Royal doing pack strings with horses...Well aren't we just going full circle?  I wish I still had that much land Charlie...But anyway, the joy that they bring me and our visitors is unparalleled; we get to teach our guests about our area, our way of life, but even better yet, how to be good stewards of the environment!

So to me, being a farmer these days is a lot more than just throwing stuff in the ground or raising organic animals.  It is about defending our rights to do so.  And teaching people about why we are doing it that way.  And why it is so important for us to raise heirloom varieties and heirloom chickens and sheep so that we don't have only one kind of corn or tomato or potato (and that there are still some nutrients in them).  No matter which way you say it; tomato or tomahto, potato or potahto, if there is no variety it would still suck.

Needless to say I was really excited to hear about this documentary:

Farmageddon - Movie Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Made by a Mom.  Check it out, there are screenings in towns all over the USA, or you can buy the DVD.  I have to wait for the movie....bummer!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Garden Mishaps

I can't seem to get peas. I just can't seem to get them right. Either I have a wimpy support and the peas can't climb, or the peas are trapped in a non-sunny spot, or something unknown prevents them from doing well. My pea vines are already dying, and there aren't many pods to pick. You see the peas here behind my excuse for a scarecrow: old CDs.

Chuck came in and asked, "Did you kill your chives? If you killed the chives, I'm revoking your gardener's license!" Well, no, I didn't kill the chives. I transplanted them last year so they're closer to the house. He had observed these: the shallots.
Shallots were (are?) an experiment this year. I wasn't sure if I had the time or the right kind of soil to grow them well. I'm still not sure. This lying down on the job act: does that mean they're ready to harvest, or does that mean they're dying? Anyone have a clue?

To conclude this valuable discussion, I'll just leave you with some philosophy. Garden growth is dependent on so many variables. Rain, sun, quality seeds, critters... oh, yes, critters. I walked out to the garden to pick the few peas that are growing, and I found this little furball sitting in my lettuce. In my LETTUCE!!

My reaction (you won't be surprised) was to stop in my tracks, look that bunny right in the eye, and call out, "How did YOU get in there?" It didn't answer me.

I call him Peter, even though I'm not Farmer McGregor. He's better not invite Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cottontail to a lettuce party. I'll be waiting.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Speaking of soaker hoses....

While in the process of finding and then getting my camera to cooperate, I thought I would do a quick post on how absolutely brilliant I am.  Oh wait, I thought this post was about soaker hoses.  That's right.  See, this has some background to it, because the men in the family said I couldn't do it...So I, of course had to try all that much harder-ha!

For some reason this has been the year that a few of our hoses have decided it is their time to go.  Take for instance this last hose.  I was trying to water my new garden and was wondering what was wrong with the water pressure, when oh my, I turned around and my hose looked like Popeye!  I didn't even want to get near the thing in fear of it exploding!  Well, Tom had already insisted that one just like this was junk so I quietly set it aside until all the men were gone....

That is when the real fun began.  My daughter and I got up early one morning and got a nail and a hammer and we went to town on that hose.  I mean we just put holes in it everywhere, it was really a pretty cool project because there is no right or wrong about it.  I then just hooked it up to the water and watched it go.

By this time the boys were up, so I had to do my happy dance....Too bad Tom wasn't here to see it, but believe you me, he heard ALL about it-ha!  And we all got to be in on the fun of making little adjustments to the dripper system while it was running and add a few holes here and there and get sprayed in the face when we removed the nail.  We had a ball.

PS:  When I went online to look for pics I remembered that I needed to tell you that I had a sprayer nozzle that I used to cap the end of my hose, but I do intend to get some sort of more permanent cap.  When time and money permit....get things as you can is my motto, and make do with what you have.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Rain, rain, come my way!

The thunder yesterday sounded encouraging, but the storm dropped so little water that I felt I still needed to lug around the watering can again.

It's been so dry (how dry was it?) that I've used up all the water in both rain barrels and I'm filling the watering can from the house tap. Sigh. It feels so wasteful! I've almost - almost, mind you - been tempted to hook up a sprinkler.

In the category of wasteful, sprinklers score a capital W for Wasting Water. The water sprays into the air where much of it evaporates and never reaches its target. The area watered by a sprinkler gets wet - all of it. Vegetables, flowers, weeds, and walkways all receive the same amount of water. Water ends up soaking the leaves rather than the roots, too. Some water will evaporate from the leaves, but too much may cause diseases. When I bring out the watering can, I can direct the water to individual plants and pour it straight into the ground for those thirsty roots. A sprinkler doesn't do that.

Soaker hoses are better. I own a soaker hose, a short permeable hose that lets the water drip out into the soil. I can wrap it around the areas that need water the most and know that very little will evaporate. It's especially fun to hook up the soaker hose to a rain barrel, but you heard me earlier; my rain barrels are empty.

Sigh. Mother Nature, the rivers in the North Dakota are high enough. Send some rain this way!

Monday, June 27, 2011

the Gated Community - er, garden.

Last summer we tried. We had good intentions. But I was sick, Chuck had craziness at work, and we never got around to fencing in the newest garden plot. As a result, the neighborhood wild bunnies ate my broccoli.

Yesterday I came home from a baseball game with Amigo and found the wire fence had been tightened up, a gate installed, and my garden safe from bunnies! And when I say gate, I'm not kidding. I don't know where Chuck found this one, but it's very sturdy. Cute, too.

He was a little concerned about one of the tomato plants that had been squashed during the building process and the stem broken. I trimmed it, cut it back, and I think it'll be okay. If not, I have at least one other plant of the same kind.

The back view, behind the new gate, looks pretty good. It's no-till, so it's not gorgeous, but everything is growing nicely. If we don't get rain today, I'll use the rain barrel supply to water everything tonight.

By the way, I harvested spinach today, too. Anyone want some?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Weeding! It's not so bad. In fact, I enjoy it.

Finally, the plants are maturing enough that I can see what belongs and what doesn't. That means it's time to start weeding!

Readers, did you notice I didn't complain? Weeding is productive and therapeutic and even enjoyable. I searched through old posts and found out that I've discussed the positives of weeding in the past.

Here's one from June, 2007.
I enjoy weeding because I can see progress. My garden is divided into small sections, set apart by my stepping "stones" made from old deck and fence pieces. I set a goal of weeding one section at a time. When that's done, I can quit weeding or choose to finish another section. This is a managable goal; I feel productive when I can see the results in one part of the plot. It spares me the frustration of not "finishing" the whole thing, which is of course an impossible goal. Today I chose one triangular section of the garden and weeded out the many mini maples that flew in from the lot behind ours. If I ever abandon this small plot of ground behind my garage, I predict the mini maples will take over, leaving room for a blanket of clover underneath. But for now, look out maples! I have garden gloves and I know how to use them.
Here's an older post from July, 2006.
Weeding feels good because:
  • I can't hear the telephone.
  • Digging in the dirt is fun.
  • It doesn't matter if I'm all sweaty and grimy.
  • I can appreciate the growth of my vegetables by comparing them to the weeds I'm pulling out.
  • I see the little flowers that mean the plants will bear fruit -- some time.
  • I can laugh at the tiny "stray" tomato plants that grew where the rotten fruit dropped last fall.
  • The science teacher in me looks at all the clover and thinks, "Wow! There's a lot of nitrogen in this soil! Who needs fertilizer?"
  • I notice the little grubs and worms that aerate the rich soil; and they're not, I said NOT, yucky.
  • I notice how dark and rich the soil is, thanks to our home-grown compost.
  • The weeds (well, most of them) will become part of the cycle of life by decomposing in the compost bin.
  • Progress is noticeable. Every little bit of weeding shows results.

I heard a garden expert on the radio recommend that serious gardeners spend about 30 minutes a day weeding and maintaining. I don't come near that, so I guess I'm not "serious" by his standards. I do keep it up, though, and get my hands dirty and produce good things to eat. My garden makes me happy. Isn't that enough?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Jakoti has got it going on!

I can not begin to tell you how much I LOVE these new shears.  As a matter of fact, what got me to thinking about writing this post was the shears laying next to my computer.  That's right Rebels, these shears have become my right hand tool.

I purchased them as llama shears.  You know, to remove the wool from those fidgety creatures that inhabit my ranch...Well, let me tell you a little about shearing a llama at The Royal Ranch.  I don't think it's like shearing at typical wool producers.  We have to cut through hay and pine needles and whatever else is hidden inside that wondrous coat.  So over the years, I have learned A LOT about shears; and that is that they are truly lacking.

A good pair of Fiskars, which is our next choice since we hand shear will run us around $13-$15 with a coupon, etc.  If I sharpen it I may be able to get that one pair through one season of shearing, but sometimes they only last one llama!  If you get cheaper scissors, they will wear out your hands (not spring loaded), and big electric shears usually scare the you know what out of rescues so that is out for us.

I do want to give you a bit of background here, just so you know that I am sticking to my Rebel roots.  When I first heard of these shears, I was told that you could only get them in one place in the US; and that place is by a llama trainer that I don't particularly like.  This woman had rubbed my "animal sense" the wrong way over the years, but when it came down to saving hundreds of dying llamas in MT and all she did was offer reduced price behavior clinics for new owners while the rest of us small farms struggled with the starving...

Well, it made me decide to look a bit further for those shears.  And lo and behold I found them on the World Wide Web, funny thing about covers the whole world.  Better yet, I got two pairs, direct from the UK (yeah, I know, I'm normally a buy US only, but they just don't have this sort of shear...sigh), for a little more than I would have spent on one pair plus shipping on Ms. Behavior  Man, I hate it when people are buttheads.

But, anyway, these shears came and we have just been shearing our butts off.  Well, our butts are fine, and it is Tom doing most of the shearing anyway.  But dang do the llamas look nice.  And when I got on the link to send it to a friend, because believe you me, I'm telling everyone I can not to shop at so and so's-ha!, I read that they are great in the garden.

So, I took them outside and can you imagine the cutting power of these babies on grass?  Geez, if they can cut through that crap in the wool, grass and dandelions along the fence line is like butta, baby, butta!  And the best thing about it was that I wasn't polluting the air with a weed whacker.  I did go a little crazy and now the grass along the dog yard looks like it got a bad hair cut from Mom back in the sixties....

Well, I guess you get the point, if you're looking for either garden or llama, sheep or goat shears these are the ones.  Spring action, self sharpening, yes you read that right engineers, I don't really get it, but it says it does it...They are the best.  Oh, I do have one critique...they could use a "petite" size.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rock on with a rock garden!

This is the "before" picture. Mint, mint, and more mint. A few tulip and daffodil bulbs, but other than that, the area is almost entirely occupied by mint. Sure, it smells good. I could use it to make mint syrup or garnish a refreshing beverage. But this plant is aggressive. A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E. It takes over. I've tried pulling it; it comes back. I've tried moving it; it spread. I placed layers over the mint last fall, hoping I could start a new raised garden over the top. Nope; mint was determined to find the sun.

I started this time by again removing the mint. I moved the bulbs (see the daffodil remains on the right?) to a better place. I set the mint on a drying table in the backyard. I might compost it. Maybe. Does mint seed get destroyed in compost or does it flourish? I'll find out.

Next step: cover the soil, again. This time I'm going one more step. The area will become a rock garden. This concept worked around my rose bushes, intimidating the clover and other weeds into submission so the roses could thrive by themselves.

For now, it's just a batch of packaging held down by large stones and heavy planters. I have extra gravel; but do I have enough? Maybe, just maybe, I can build this rock garden without spending money on the materials. I'll find out, and I'll let you know on the next episode, when I hope to have a picture of all rock, no visible packaging, and certainly no more mint.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Breast Cancer; a Family Affair

You know it's really funny that I chose today to write about the breast cancer story.  See, my sister, Kelly, is recovering from a double mastectomy; and she has been so amazing during the entire process she deserves a book all her own.  So when I wrote about her "journey", I really wanted the post to be all about her and what she has gone through; her family and what they have been through....and really to teach people a few things in the process would be wonderful.

But, what I hadn't realized is how her cancer would affect our ENTIRE family so deeply.  My parents have never had to deal with a life threatening illness in one of their children know the regular stuff growing up and even what some would consider pretty scary stuff as a parent, but nothing like the big "C" word.  And they too, have handled things with grace and dignity.  As a matter of fact my Dad has a blog also and has chronicled Kelly's "Journey" on his blog...well worth the read.

If I am totally honest, one of the reasons that had been holding me back from writing this article is my different opinion than my Dad's....Gee what a surprise, eh Dad????  As you will read in his blog, Kelly found her cancer with an annual mammogram and they are strongly encouraging folks to get their annual mammos.  Well, sorry, but I felt that that might be a bit much radiation exposure for my liking.  What about every couple years...that would cut a persons exposure to radiation in half in their lifetime and not make it too long in between screenings, right?

I also have another sister, Lisa.  Between us three girls we have four daughters (Kelly has 2 and Lisa and I each have 1), so breast cancer in the family scared the s**t out of us.  Lisa, ironically had had to have a second mammogram done the same day as Kelly's (second mammogram); and they had her scheduled for the ultrasound in case they needed more pics.  Thankfully they didn't.  So, I scheduled my damn mammogram.

Now, this is where the story gets a bit interesting.  I would like to point out a difference between organized healthcare and private insurance.  I am a Kaiser patient (organized).  My first mammogram was 5 weeks ago, I just had my second mammogram and ultrasound yesterday and found out I need a biopsy.  In the 5 weeks following Kelly's (private insurance) first mammogram she was already preparing for surgery.  Just sayin'.

Thankfully due to some testing that Kelly had done, we know that our family (or at least Kelly) is not genetically predisposed to breast cancer.  This to me, is a big relief...for ourselves, our Mother and our daughters.  But why then, are 3 out of 3 girls suddenly needing second mammograms?  And what about the biopsies?  Is the medical field getting so far advanced that almost everyone is getting called back?  And what does that say about our radiation exposure?

Even the gal who was taking the second pics yesterday kept apologizing to me if she had to retake the image.  I finally asked her if it was due to the radiation and she said yes.  Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe that we need testing like this to save lives, I am just wondering if there might be a happy medium.  But, on the other hand, I have not had any imaging done in about ten years; the stuff that they will biopsy on me is a mass, while my sister who was good about getting hers done, caught hers at the calcification stage.

Okay, so what the hell is your point Judy?  Check your breasts.  Do your self exams and get the mammograms done as frequently as you are comfortable with (you know, probably more frequently than every decade!).  Bottom line...they are there to save lives; that is what they are doing all over the country and they have just done so in my own family.  As melodramatic as it sounds, it is true.  We are all so appreciative of the fact that Kelly's cancer was caught early....

Cancer is a family affair, whether it is genetic or not.  To watch my sister's family go through what they have been through is amazing (and heart wrenching); because I know that they will only be a stronger unit after this is over.  It has brought us all closer in a I'm sure it would in most families.

And No, I'm not too worked up over the biopsy thing (75% of all biopsies are benign).  Not that I'm really looking forward to having a needle in my boob, but I do feel confident that the news will be fine.  At least it got me writing about it....And I am very interested in your opinion on this matter.  What do you think of annual testing and its risks/benefits?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Party With No Trash...Okay Maybe Just a Little!

I woke up this morning feeling like a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders.  My biggest commitments for the summer are already over, and it feels wonderful!!!!  My sons graduated on Sunday and boy did we have a humdinger (does anyone still use that word?  And if not, they sure should, it's a good one-ha!) of a party!

We also had a baseball game yesterday that was a big deal as my daughter and the choir that she is in sang the National Anthem for the Colorado Rockies; and they showed the town how that song is sang!  I was so very proud.  The group of fourth and fifth graders walked onto the field with a march in their step, took their  places in the choir and belted out our National tune like any professional group could do....even my Grads were impressed!  And that my friends is pert near impossible to do these days, let me tell you.

But back to the party with no trash; really it can be done; with a bit of preparation (and a bit of yucky digging afterward, I must admit).  Now, if you have been a reader of mine, on either of these blogs, you know that I am not at all familiar with paper products.  I do not buy plastic bags or paper plates or even paper napkins; my one downfall is paper towels and I do buy those very infrequently in bulk.  So the paper product aisle itself was a bit overwhelming to me.
So, I headed straight to the party stuff.  I knew I didn't want any "crap".  You know what I'm talking about the kind of forks that break when you first put them into a bite of potato salad?  Or the plate that dumps everything on the unsuspecting kid?  Yeah, I wasn't having any of that.  Party stuff it was, and blue and black to match the boys' colors, easy enough.  From there, it is simply a case of turning the products over and making sure they are recyclable, if not, put it back.  There are plenty of choices out there people, we do not have to fill up our landfills.

Okay now we are at the party and of course we have not gotten the trash cans and the recycle cans marked like I wanted.  Actually there was a huge misunderstanding and we thought the neighbor was bringing some last minute supplies (like the grill, trash cans and bags) so we didn't have them to mark....but anyway; my point is is that it doesn't even matter if it all gets mixed up.  I was able to nonchalantly grab the plates out of the trash as I was going by and put them into a different bag.

This all may sound a bit yucky, but to me it was well worth it.  I had purchased cans for the kids to drink; we had recyclable cups for the keg (I even grabbed out a lot of the food trash for the chickens-ha!).....So let's run down what all was in my trash can when this party for about 75 people was over.  Bags for ice, bags for buns, plastic silverware (and damn did I try and find some that is recyclable, I will try harder next time!) and napkins; that is about it.  That is one small bag of trash for a very LARGE party.  Now, we have two HUGE bags of recyclabes, but that is okay.

We had a wonderful party to help send the boys off right; we won't be filling up the landfills and polluting my beloved Mother Earth in the process and I am done with my major commitments for the summer.  Now it is time to get to work on those campgrounds....keep those campers from burning down our forests and enjoy the time with my children.  Wow, I truly am a very blessed woman.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Rhubarb, tomatoes, and random thoughts

Rhubarb! I have rhubarb! In fact, I spent time last night looking through my new go-to books for canning, wondering if I could can some of this bountiful harvest. Since it was too cold to plant tomatoes until very recently, I focused on rhubarb.

I did find a recipe that looks a lot like the stewed rhubarb I made for supper tonight. It was like applesauce, but with rhubarb instead of apples. Make sense? I found one and thought Yeah! Canning commences! And then realized I will need eleven pounds of rhubarb to fill seven quart cans. Yes, I said 11 lb. of rhubarb! Well, if I harvest and freeze this week and do the same next week, I'll have all eleven before I know it. Yum.

The tomato seedlings are in the ground now! I tallied up the tomatoes and put the supports in place as a planning maneuver. All right, I also did it because I wanted to get in the garden and it was too darn cold to plant! Only a few green sprouts dared poke their little heads out from the soil, and they're all spinach. Yep. I will have a minimum of 13 tomato plants, even if those I started from seed do not make it (darn late blizzard) and at least 5 peppers. The pepper plants are coming up better from seed, and if they survive, I'll have nine pepper plants. Salsa time!

I'm experimenting with various new dishes, and right now rhubarb is my theme ingredient. Part of the locavore menu involves eating what's ripe and in season. By the time it's our of season, we'll be tired of it and ready to move on to something else. About the time my family rebels and shouts out "No More Rhubarb, Mom!" strawberries will be coming into their prime. Then I can mix strawberry-rhubarb pie, strawberry-rhubarb crisp, strawberry-rhubarb dump cake -- bwahahahaha! Just kidding, family. I'll be more creative than that. Maybe.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we helped another family rescue five bunnies last Monday night. I think that's a sign that I'm feeling a little more energetic; I went with daughter to help out, even though it was getting late.

I could share a picture of the garden plot, but it would be rather dull. It's exciting only to me. Soil, compost, remains from last year because I'm going no-till this time, and a few red spiral posts standing sentry over small tomato plants.

But trust me. I'll overwhelm you with garden pictures eventually - hopefully sooner rather than later.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Weekend To-Do List

The weekend's to-do list:

Buy plants from arboretum plant sale. Check.
-heirloom plants, tomatoes and peppers

Remove weeds from garden plot.
-the soil we bought last year (for the new raised bed) was weed-filled. I'm still fighting some of the more prolific weeds. Growl.

Set up rain barrels. Check.
-Husband was a great help. I had one set up already, and he felt obligated to catch up with me by setting up the other.

Make grid to guide planting.
-This takes time, but it's worthwhile. I'll have my tomatoes and peppers spaced well with room to grow, but not too much room for weeds.

Plant tomatoes and peppers.
-Fun! I add extra drainage by digging the holes a little deeper than needed and filling them with shredded paper before I put in the tomato seedlings.

Put in the tomato supports.
-I like my spiral supports from Fleet Farm. I'll post pictures later, I'm sure.

The Milwaukee Brewers were playing well Sunday afternoon, though. It was a little distracting. Must enjoy those home runs while they're happening! Go, True Blue Brew Crew!

The tomatoes can go in tomorrow.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Sorta Square Foot Gardening

I garden the way I teach and the way I cook; I don't always follow the script exactly.

In Square Foot Gardening, it's only right if the garden has a permanent grid and uses the perfect mix of soil. Well, I applied some of the philosophy. I rarely plant in rows; I usually plant in groups, often squares, to use the space more efficiently and choke out weeds whenever possible.

My soil, however, is the basic backyard garden soil with twelve years of compost mixed into the ground. It's not a perfectly lovely store bought mix, but it drains well and grows lots of vegetables. I don't use a permanent grid, either. I like the concept, and I measure (well, I estimate) when I'm planting, but I don't build a grid. I use temporary guidelines of masking tape or in this case, string. Again, not perfect, but it gave me the guide I needed to plant seeds in the right portions and the right places.

The walkway is an old board. I'm not even sure what it was anymore. Fence? Deck? Now it provides a boardwalk so I can stay out of the mud and avoid stepping on my precious plants.

This, my friends, is the before picture. In a month or two I'll post a during shot - if I remember. The after picture, the one with results, might not happen. Hopefully, I'll be too busy harvesting and preserving the goodies!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Seeds of Spring

I've tried starting seeds early a couple of years with minimal success. I'm trying again, this time with a better plan - I hope.

My Ultimate Greenhouse (set of shelves with a fitted plastic cover) is assembled and sitting on the deck. The herbs that survived the winter are there, as are the newly planted seeds. With about 6 weeks until planting time, let's see if I can put together a garden from scratch.

So far, I have:
  • jalapeno peppers
  • green bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • cilantro
  • oregano
  • yellow pear tomatoes
If I can maintain these and care for them well, I'll have seedlings when spring becomes summer-like and frost warnings are over, well, minimal. If the list doesn't sound like much, remember that I usually buy tomato and pepper seedlings in mid-May. I'll have them in plenty of time to join the pre-planted pals. Beans and peas and squash will wait until the end of May, too. I have a wish list of seeds that I might give in and buy from Hometown Seeds. I tested a variety pack from their site last year with excellent results.

My goal this year is to fill both new and old plots. Instead of telling you, I'll show you - when there are actually plants to show, that is!

Warm breezes, dirt under my nails -- it's definitely spring.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wanted: Additional Authors

GreenSpot-On would like to find a couple more Authors or Guest Bloggers.  Are you possibly that person?  Our goal is to make this blog a collective effort between people that have similar hobbies and interests!  Some of us have children, jobs, busy lives and unfortunately cannot post daily on a blog due to time constraints and commitments.  To keep content running constantly through GreenSpot-On we have been on a constant search for additional people to help!

Topics will be limited to Environmental & Wildlife Conservation/Education, Green Living, Recycling, Reuse and categories that lie within that range.  You can even do Do it yourself (DIY) projects and recycling/reuse art's & crafts! We are flexible!

We are looking for the following:

1. People who are interested in being a part of a collective effort on educating the public on these subjects areas.
2. Who are passionate about one or more of these subjects.
3. Who work well with others.
4. Can keep their work G-Rated (Remember the kids).
5. Can cite sources (With links if there are any sources used) for your writing.

We have received a few questions regarding a potential guest blogger or author positions on GreenSpot-On.  Please feel free to ask us questions!  Below are the questions some people had and the answers we provided:

Do I have to live in a particular place?  There are no restrictions on where you live.  Currently we have authors from Colorado, Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio in the United States. It does not matter if you live outside of the U.S. because we have readers that live outside of the U.S. too!

What days are open for posting to GreenSpot-On?  What happens if I can't post on my day due to commitments?  Currently we are trying to get an author for almost every day of the week.  The days that are already taken are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Occasionally there may be an extra post by the other authors on your day for posts like this one.  Sometimes the authors cannot post one week due to commitments and post the following week.  You can write posts ahead of time and schedule them to publish to the blog on a specific day and time if you want!

Do I have to be a mother or female?  There are no restrictions on being a male or female author.  You also do not have to be a parent but please remember that this is a family friendly blog and all authors are expected to treat it accordingly when posting.

Do you allow cross-posting?  Three of our current authors also have their own blogs, some of them do cross-posts (For those that do not know, it means that they sometimes post the same post to both blogs.  Though this is not the case every time).  It is a great way to get separate blogging communities to interact and helps drum up comments, questions and more for both blogs!  It also offers the authors a bit more flexibility and time to write.

Do I have to have my own blog to become an author on GreenSpot-On?  No, you don't have to have your own blog to become an author here.

We hope you will consider being an author or guest blogger here and can't wait to hear from you!

Please leave a comment below if you have other questions or are interested in being an author or guest blogger at GreenSpot-On and leave a way for us to contact you.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Gardeners' Sustainable Living Project

Over the ground lies a mantle of white... so how can I be thinking green? A week ago I could see brown - yes, the ground was showing! Then we were hit by a late-arriving record-breaking snowstorm, and my gardening goals had to wait. Again.

Each year, every spring, I expand on my eco-consciousness by choosing at least one more goal toward a more sustainable garden. Last year my goal was learning to can. I made jams, stewed tomatoes, and salsa. I blanched and froze green beans, sugar snap peas, and corn sliced off the cob. In fact, we just finished the last bag of green beans last week. I had just enough organic strawberries to make ice cream last week, and the blueberries in yesterday's muffins were organic, too. There isn't much left in the freezer; thank goodness spring and garden season is on the way!

My main goal this year is to plant primarily heirloom varieties of tomatoes and peppers. If possible, I'll do the same with green beans and squash. These seeds and seedlings may be more expensive than my usual stock, but the quality and perhaps even the quantity will be well worth it. Last year only half the new garden plot was planted; this year, I'm filling it completely.

Sustainable Gardening goal number 1: Plant heirloom varieties.
Sustainable Gardening goal number 2: Fill the space, square foot style
Sustainable Gardening goal number 3: Enjoy. Enjoy the planning, the planting, the process, and eventually, preserving the results (family says "More salsa this year, mom!).

Are you interested in becoming more sustainable? Join the Gardener's Sustainable Living Project! There's snow on the ground, but I joined in anyway.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Winter That Would Not Die

Is it just me or does the title of this post sound like a bad western?

As I have stated in past posts, I live in Michigan and have been here my entire life. I love it here! The seasonal changes, the unpredictable weather and great ways to spend summers! Being surrounded by the Great Lakes makes things interesting. This is where I must also admit I love winter. Watching snowflakes cover trees and the ground like a giant white blanket of cotton.

I enjoy wondering if I am going to be snowed in (Less likely in the city though it can happen; see pics) and if I'll be able to take my kids sledding or be making a snow fort instead of taking them to school (NOTE: I believe school is important but I love having snow days with my boys too)! Parents learn to be creative and imaginative during the winter to keep our kids occupied!  The following quote takes a whole new meaning:

"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."  ~Pietro Aretino

Pictured at right:  Snow drifts over 25 inches tall in our backyard from Hoth on Earth 2011 (Also known as the Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2011).  Pic taken on 2-2-2011 of my oldest doing random measurements of the drifts.  The snow in that spot was almost to his upper thighs.  Three snow days in a row for my kids is almost unheard of here.  We enjoyed every single moment.

Some fellow Michiganders would disagree on my assessment of winter because of the driving conditions, the cold and so on.  I agree it can be tough and sometimes downright brutal, but it doesn't make me hate it.  It does make me appreciate the other seasons even more!

So while our current winter is hanging on tooth and nail, I am dreaming about flowers and trees and the wildlife that will be coming soon!  I am already seeing new growth in my flower beds that will soon be marked with tulips, daylillies, columbine, pixie lilies, hosta and hopefully the other new plants that I put in last year will also have survived transplanting and be in bloom.  Yesterday I saw my first Robin of the year and it made me smile. A woodpecker was hammering away at the large maple in our front yard too!

(Pictured:  My tulips in 2010)
I know spring is here even though the weather isn't cooperating right now.  Like the hail we received last night and the freezing rain/sleet and snow we are experiencing today. We are at the threshold and I think every living thing can feel it coming!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."  ~Mark Twain

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Man's Best Friend

This video was shot not long after the tsunami rolled out of Japan.  Man's best Friend is also his own best friend...Thank goodness by the time this video aired the dogs had been rescued and were being treated at local veterinary hospitals.

The following is a translation of what the reporters are saying; it too is quite touching:

We are in Arahama area. Looks like there is a dog. There is a dog. He looks tired and dirty. He must have been caught in the tsunami. He looks very dirty.
He has a collar. He must be someone's pet. He has a silver collar. He is shaking. He seems very afraid.
Oh, there is another dog. I wonder if he is dead.
Right there. There is another dog right next to the one sitting down. He is not moving. I wonder. I wonder if he is alright.
The dog is protecting him.
Yes. He is protecting the dog. That is why he did not want us to approach them. He was trying to keep us at bay.
I can't watch this. This is a very difficult to watch.
Oh. Look. He is moving. He is alive. I am so happy to see that he is alive.
Yes! Yes! He is alive.
He looks to be weakened. We need to them to be rescued soon. We really want them rescued soon.

Oh good. He's getting up.

It is amazing how they survived the tremendous earthquake and tsunami. It's just amazing that they survived through this all.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Her name is Buttercup, and she is the most precious thing ever:

I took these videos a little over a week ago, and she has grown quite a bit since then:

But the funniest thing of all, is that her new best friend since I took these is Avalanche the Rooster!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Planning for Spring

Thinking ahead - gardeners do this a lot. I'm stuck inside with a major headache, but I can look out the windows and see sunshine in a late-winter thaw. Sunshine lifts my spirits and raises thoughts and plans for spring's eventual arrival. I don't have a drawing yet; yes, I often sketch the garden plan so I buy the right number of plants and seeds. Most of the winter I'm in brainstorming and dreaming mode.

Random gardening thoughts:
  • I'd like to incorporate shallots and leeks. They can go in the smallest corner of the triangular garden.
  • We'll have the fence up this year with a supporting border of marigolds, so I'll put in broccoli. Maybe our own bunnies will actually get to eat it! Last year only the wild backyard cottontails had the joy of fresh broccoli.
  • I'm letting the raspberries expand. I moved the chives and asparagus out of the general area of the raspberries, so nothing is in the way of their spreading. Not that anything stops raspberry plants!
  • Peas will go in front of the beans on a new trellis. They didn't get enough sun last year, so the move will help. Peas mature before beans, so they'll be harvested and gone before the beans need the bulk of the sunshine.
  • Squash! Where should the squash go? I'm putting in butternut squash and my usual zucchini. If I plant the seeds near the beans or peas, they'll grow toward the sun. They also mature later. This should work.
  • Bunny food! The usual lettuces and spinach and parsley will have a space. They might go in the area that will be taken over later by squash.
  • Tomatoes; oh, I love my tomatoes. I had success canning stewed tomatoes and salsa, so I'm going to put in more heirloom pulp tomato varieties. I'll still put in the standard eating tomatoes and the cherries; they're delicious and they freeze well.
  • Freezing: now that's another post.
You can get a sense of my garden plans for the coming season. I'm planning on using the space well, using the sunshine efficiently, and preserving more of the harvest. Oh, winter sunshine, you taunt me! I want to get started now.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

And the Winner Is....

And Rebel Jose!!!
And in rebellion of all the crap these guys went through, here is what I did:

 So, I am happy to report a win win win situation!!!!

After I saw this:
It changed how I look at "animal rescue" forever.
So as I was cutting off the hair off this magnificent creature;
kneeling in the snow and ice,

I secretly hatched a plan...
He was not going to be the only fella losing his locks!

For informational purposes only:  I have chosen Pantene Beautiful Lengths to donate my ponytail to this time.  I have blogged about donating hair before, and thought I'd try something new.  I chose them because I thought they might have a bit of a disadvantage since it is for women only and not for kids.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Spring Fever in the depths of winter

My garden is under a foot of snow. The topsoil is frozen, but underneath, the little microorganisms keep living and dying and decomposing, making the soil rich and fertile for spring. There are several piles of compost, frozen solid, dumped last fall but not spread, in between bouts with gout and an influenza-like virus. We barely got the rain barrels emptied and turned so they wouldn't freeze during the winter - spreading the compost just didn't happen. It'll have to get spread in the spring.

Spring. I can look to spring and think positive thoughts. I'll still be on my extended leave of absence. I won't be juggling planting schedules around school calendars; I can work on putting in the seeds earlier than usual, and care for the seedlings by putting them on the deck by day to soak in the sun, and bringing them inside overnight to avoid freezing.

In fact, in the middle of winter - in January! Football isn't even done yet! - I went to Fleet Farm and bought one of these. It's called the Ultimate Greenhouse. I don't know that I'd call it Ultimate, but it was an inexpensive set-up that will work beautifully on my deck while I'm waiting for the frost danger to end.

It does look handy, doesn't it? Mine will be full of vegetables rather than flowers. It's still in the box in the garage. When spring fever hits (April, most likely), I'll put it together. I'm looking forward to that activity, and that's what it's all about right now.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Montana Llama Rescue 2011!

Wow!  I have had one of the most amazing experiences in my life, really.  Even the big, bad, biker, Tom, said so.  And remember, he was my reluctant cohort in this rescue mission in the first place.  Well, not once he got there and met these wonderful folks:

The guy in the middle (the driver), looking at the ground, he too is a reluctant participant; because he is used to working with steers.  And until that trip, he thought llamas were sissy animals...I don't think he thinks that anymore; but he still didn't like his picture taken with a bunch of llama nuts!

This is the rig that he drove clear across Montana and Wyoming(in very bad weather, I might add) to deliver our boys to us:
Twenty llamas arrived on this trailer.  It took them two days to get to La Porte, CO.  Which is where we met them at our very wonderful host ranch.  Four foster homes met up to pick up their allotment of rescue llamas, a few various wonderful llama lovers, and rescue friends to lend a hand and a small crew from CSU Veterinary School was on hand.

None of us had ever met before, face to face; but we had been preparing for the big arrival via e-mail for a few we greeted each other as old friends would, with hugs all around (that poor cattle driver never knew what hit him...)!  All was well...

Until we saw this!!!!

This poor guy was down in the trailer, getting trampled by the other llamas as they unloaded.  We all held our breath...Was he alive?  He tried to stand up, fell back down, stumbled out of the trailer and then fell again....  The group, collectively, had not taken a breath yet!  He finally stood up triumphantly, and we all just stood there for a second in absolute shock!  None of us had ever seen anything like it.  His legs were so tangled up in his own wool, it had caused him injuries.  We didn't know whether to cheer for him or cry for him.

After our initial moment of horror wore off, we all knew what needed to be done.  An in field, on site shearing party it was.  With scissors no less...the poor guy got one hell of a bad hair cut, but I'm sure he feels A TON lighter!  After the shearing was done, we got down to separating the boys and figuring out who was going where.  Tom and I had to laugh later that all of us had bonded with Big Guy (the one with the bad haircut), so when the straws were drawn, and yes, we used actual straw, or maybe it was hay...We all wanted Big Guy!

But, as you can see, there were plenty of great llamas that needed care and love.  It was decided that Big Guy (his official name I heard via e-mail last night-ha!) stay near CSU because he has some very specific medical needs that I really don't want to take on.  I have five gelded (meaning fixed, neutered, castrated, whatever) males from this herd at The Royal Ranch, and it has been an adventure getting them home and settled.
As you can see from the pics below, they are settling in.  They don't like dogs...that is for sure!  But, as my youngest son pointed out, in Montana they've probably seen wolves and a canine scent is a canine scent!  When they see our Great Pyrenees, Tia, the big white one does the alarm call to warn the others of danger!
 Big Whitey (so far)~ this guy must have been one of the herd leaders (Wow! out of 800 llamas!) because he scored 4 (on a body scale of 1-9), which is quite good, so he was getting most of the food.  We also think there is a chance that this guy was at some point in time a herdsire, meaning that he was someone's top breeder.  See the tag in his ear?  That could mean that he is an import from Chile or Peru.

We got home well after dark on Sunday, and thanks to a good friend and neighbor's headlights, we got the trailer all ready to unload them, thinking they were just dying to be out after two days of traveling....and NOTHING!  They were comfortably bedded down for the night and that was that.  So we tied the gate of the trailer to the gate of their "Quarantine" area and left them be.

 This is Jose and Shadow, Shadow is our most critical patient (scoring only a 1-2).

 This is Mellow (so far) because he is Caramel colored and very mellow as you can see from this picture.  He is also the only one that willingly got haltered and loaded into the trailer!

 A better shot of Jose, if SWLR accepts us, we may adopt this rebellious boy, he pulled a muscle in the big, bad, bikers back putting him in the trailer, and he was the smallest of all!  Leave it to me, to like the roughest one of the bunch!
A group (or butt) shot of the boys checking out their small outdoor yard.  I wanted it small on purpose.  I don't need these boys getting a ton of exercise and fighting right now.  This is a resting and healing zone.  On the other hand, they do however have a huge covered area that gets a ton of sunshine and fresh air, just what the doctor ordered.  Maybe not the photographer though!
And this dear Readers, is your llama.  I thought it would be fun for you all to get involved with the naming game!  I am sorry about the light with this picture, but he is a spectacular boy, because he goes from a cream color to a caramel color that gradates into a dark brownish rust.  And then as you can see, he has some white socks too.  Once we get this nasty batch of wool off of him, the wool that comes in, will be fantastic!  I am hoping to find spinners for him, Big Whitey and Mellow, as they all have beautiful wool. 

It really has been an amazing few days.  Sunday was unbelievable.  Those folks were wonderful and are friends for life now, even if we just e-mail each other for support from now on...which the e-mails have been flying!  But to be a part of the nation's biggest animal rescue has been something I can't even describe in words...beyond satisfying?  Now you too can be a part of it, help name our nameless guy...