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24 Comments

  1. I really enjoy reading your story! I like the way you write and glad you have adapted well to your new home and found a husband. Looking forward to part 3.

  2. Wonderful saga, thoroughly enjoying every bit of it. We too pride ourselves on, “learning by reason,” and might add, “observation.” Hence, we didn’t get any further than, “what about a goat?” Thanks for reinforcing our own reason/observation they’re not a good idea. Did go the chicken route (primarily eggs) and haven’t regretted it. Concur BYC blog is the best. Been thinking about rabbits. Did you ever consider them?

    1. Dear SamAyeAm, I certainly did consider rabbits! When I was growing up in the swamps, my family was poor and my father fed us by either fishing or hunting rabbits in the sugarcane fields. He referred to them as “canefield chicken” and I think I was 12 before I knew it was really rabbit meat! (I figure I’m living proof that you can survive quite well on rabbit meat, since we all managed to thrive.) Because of that experience growing up, I thought that raising rabbits might be a great idea and purchased a couple meat rabbits at the local feed-store. It turned out that I was just a miserable failure at raising rabbits, evidenced by the fact that they would sit on my lap as I fed them expensive “boo-berries” (blueberries). They were simply too cute and ended up being pets. Along the same lines, I haven’t been really successful at keeping deer away from one of the apple trees. The first time I walked onto the front porch and saw a spotted fawn look at me with apple juice dribbling down its chin, I just said “OK…. you win. You can have those. I’ll plant some more trees.” I turned around, walked back inside, and started researching new varieties of apple trees! LOL! Of course, I don’t spray that tree with any pesticides and the apples all have little wormy holes in them, but they end up also being nice treats for my cows who tend to be pregnant in the fall and who appreciate the extra goodies.

      1. Re: Coddling moth worms in your apples-I made a trap I found on the internet that worked pretty good. Mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup dark molasses, 1/8 tsp ammonia with 6 cups of water. Pour about 2″ of mixture into a plastic rinsed-out milk jug, cut a wedge out of the upper side (like a smile) and hang in your tree when it’s almost done blooming. Refill it a couple of times until it’s gross enough to replace the jug. My traps caught lots and lots of coddling moths.

  3. Ok, I hope I am not the only guy on the blog that sits down to watch the occasional movie with their Wife. We all like popcorn right?
    Your story belongs in a novel and I would watch this on the big screen.
    I know I know…..in my spare time! You could fund your next ranch with a stroke of the pen. The story is that good.

    I have shared the first two installments with my Wife and I have enjoyed listening to her giggle as she reads through your story. She is laughing with you. Your story leads her to ask me the “remember when we” questions.

    A sense of humor and humility can take you far.

    We are looking forward to the next chapter.

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I realize my experience is very much from a feminine perspective, but since we gals are part of the equation in a family, I hoped that sharing my goofs, embarrassing errors, and even successes (despite myself sometimes) might help other ladies and families. (And good for you for watching movies with your wife! My burly husband has been known to even watch a Hallmark movie with me from time to time, especially at Christmas time!) What would we ladies do without you wonderful fellas? You don’t get the credit you deserve!

      1. Grits, I had the wonderful opportunity to coach a great high school soccer team.
        I had only coached young men before I took the high school job.
        The young ladies I had on the high school team taught me a very important lesson.

        I was coaching soccer players.
        I was not coaching lady soccer players.

        You are working with the rest of us because you need to see what is going to happen next.
        You are one of us.

        Thank you for a wonderful story.

        PS Hallmark was my first thought. We like those movies.

  4. God worked a few miracles and I made a similar re-location. I chuckled at the part about hard to find items in the re-doubt that are readily available in other regions. When you relocate to the redoubt here is a guide line….. “Bring it with you or do without”.

    Hobo

  5. Enjoyable to read and a great experience for you, but having experienced the aggressive dog behavior, I would get rid of those dogs…You might find yourself homeless if a lawsuit prevailed. It’s like having a loaded 44 magnum laying around accessible to children.

    1. Our dogs are protective, but not aggressive. There’s a difference. Our adopted adult Anatolian actually found and protected a neighbor’s 4 year old child who wandered away from home and onto our property, and our adopted “puppies” (now grown) have frustrated our 3 year old grandson to no end because they protectively “herd” him back toward the house when he gets too close to our horned cows. However, it’s always good to do risk assessments specific to your unique situation. Frankly, I’d be much more worried about someone seeing me out in the pasture hand-feeding our bull, make the mistake that he’s a “friendly pet”, and decide to take a short-cut across our securely fenced pasture. An encounter with our bull could have a very serious consequence and I guess I could end up with a lawsuit for that, too… (because people can sue for anything really). I recommend that you determine the laws in your state regarding trespassing and follow those laws to the T, and have solidly built fencing designed for the animals you wish to contain within it. That’s what we do.

  6. Liking your story, can identify with much of it including living in Rockies (northern Colorado), chickens, off the grid, and a pair (brother and sister) of Colorado Mountain Dogs (Great Pyrenees/Anatolian mix). What a pair of protection for livestock and family.

  7. Thanks for sharing this series. I really appreciate your writing, and you’re sparking many memories of our redoubt years.

    We, too, also were introduced to the real benefits of Scotch Highlander cattle there. The rancher we got ours from alerted us to the fact that several times Highlander beef carcases won the prestigious Denver Livestock show, above all Angus and every other breed competitors.

    I traded an older dump truck for 5 heifer calves, which we reared on milk from our tiny dairy goat herd (yes, they’ll totally consume all desirable woody plants along your creek!). We loved our dairy goat herd and reared sheep bums as well as the calves, but I absolutely love fresh goats milk, even though I grew up in W WA with years of fresh dairy cow milk experience.

    In a grid down, I will really miss fresh butter and milk. There just won’t be any for 98 percent of the population in grid down life. The thing I missed in Afghanistan the most was the absence of butter. Cattle in a pasture will be the first things pillaged, and largely wasted, here.

    Looking forward to the courtship episode tomorrow!

    1. I think you made a great deal trading a dump truck for 5 heifer calves!! As for milk and butter, and cattle pillaging, I agree with you. I worked in Sri Lanka with the WHO during their civil war way back in 1990. I missed milk and butter and clean hot showers very much. I was quite an idealistic young woman back then, thinking I could show up and save the world. I soon got a rude awakening and learned that “saving the world” was going to be quite a slog. Any difference I made would happen one person at a time, hour by hour…. so I worked lots and lots of hours. I often wonder if I would have been as grateful for my many blessings as I am today had I not gone through that miserable and humbling experience.

      Thank you **very much** for your service to our great country. And I wish I knew as much as you do about managing goats and sheep! That’s a skill set to be proud of!!

      1. Thanks for your kind words. I never aspired to world travel, but treasure the experience of being with the people who struggle to exist without modern technology. Observing the disease and parasite problems, seeing plowing done with an ox paired to a heifer, watching people walk down to the river to defecate (need water to rinse with when no toilet paper), and the general desperate lifestyle coupled with desire for modern stuff…..gave me a deepened insight and appreciation. God Bless your crew and keep on writing.

  8. Thank you for writing frankly and honestly about Anatolian Shepherds. Like owning a Pit Bull Terrior-a dog that has a strong physical ability and dominate personality is not for everyone! The owner needs to immediately and consistantly prevail as the pack leader, otherwise things get out of control quickly. Be honest about your capacity and competence to handle a dominating dog. If you also want house-pet dogs, ie spaniels, daschunds, laso apsos, etc: realize that you cannot have both. The smaller and gentler house-pet dog will be killed and everyone will be traumitized. Get a large dog that is more dog friendly. German Shepherd, ENGLISH Mastiffs, Great Danes, Irish Wolfhounds, etc can all be raised and trusted with smaller dogs. Do your research and talk with your vet.

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