Sunday, December 29, 2013

Indiana Jones and the Lost Sheep.

Indiana Jones earns his keep. Last night just before dark I walked by the bedroom window and much to my surprise what did I see on the hillside outside the fence but our 4 wild pregnant sheep! Apparently, I left the gate unlatched when I let Nella out for dinner and the ewes decided to make a break for it. After 20 minutes of hopelessly trying to guide them back, I brought an eager young Jones out and just said "go get 'em. " Incredibly, he ran a wide circle out to the far side of them and walked them straight back into their pen! I couldn't believe how his natural instincts kicked in and he did exactly what was asked of him. At 7 months, he is still quite young for official training but I think he will definitely be ready when the time comes. #herdingdogs #bordercollies #priceless

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Friday, December 27, 2013

Frankie Blue Eyes

Clarice has some competition for favorite goat! We brought Frankie home Tuesday and she is as sweet as a puppy dog. Very social, leash trained and pretty as a peach. Eyewitness reports that she may be preggers too. #nigeriandwarf #ranchlife

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Gimme shelter

The goats were eager to test out the new pallet shelter/gym. #dyi #reclaimed #multipurpose

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Merry Christmas! Looks like we are ready for some serious star gazing here at the ranch. #nonoisepollution #astronomy

Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Meet Roger, our new nigerian dwarf buck. He's already making the girls swoon with those baby blues! #herecomesthestork #babygoats

Monday, December 23, 2013

Fancy rooster

Here's a young rooster with some fancy coloring. He was thrown in with our maran order but I'm not sure exactly what he is with those white legs. Probably a cross. #backyardchickens #ranchlife

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Ruckused again

Ruckus likes to remind me that I should always put my tools away at the end of the day. #destructivecriticism #raisingaruckus #destroyerofworlds

Saturday, December 21, 2013


Somewhere in this barnyard walks a very sore chicken...  #backyardchickens #whobroughttheostrichhome

Friday, December 20, 2013


We are up to approximately 500 chill hours already! Even the apple trees are going dormant. #backyardorchard #promisingharvest #nature

Monday, December 16, 2013

9 months

9 months old day after tomorrow and over 100 lbs already. #raisingaruckus #sweetrizzo #Anatolianshepherds

Friday, December 13, 2013

Wednesday, December 11, 2013


This young black copper maran rooster is really starting to get some nice coloring. #backyardchickens #ranchlife

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Unlikely companions

Scout has a BFF (best feathered friend) that she hangs out with and grooms on occasion. #unlikelycompanions #shelties #jerseygiants

Morning chores

With temps in the teens, it's nice to come in from chores to a nice hot bahh-tte mocha.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Food plot

It's actually supposed to rain tonight so I thought I should take advantage and get my food plot in the ground. First I lowered the rippers on the box scraper and sod busted. Then I hooked up the rotohog (a little undersized but will work for now) and tilled it under. Next i filled the hopper with barley set the spreader to the right drop rate. Last, I lowered the culti-packer attachment and tamped the soil for better germination. Now if the weather cooperates there will be plenty of munchies for the deer and hogs right under the deluxe tree stand I plan to build in that tree. #foodplots #farming #johndeere

Thursday, December 5, 2013


21 degrees here at the ranch this morning. That's california cold. The leaves on the mulberry trees turned black overnight. Just about everything else is already dormant with nice fuzzy buds ready for spring like this Double Delight nectarine.#backyardorchard #stonefruit #thisbudsforyou

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


Mike's new invention... A cage to haul our livestock auction treasures that breaks down flat when not in use. The liftgate even comes down to make a step.#ingenuity #ranchlife #ifionlyhadawelder — atVicarious Ranch.

First frost

The hens had to break ice to get a drink this morning. #winterishere #frostonthepumpkin #ranchlife

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Ruckus actually earned his keep today. #dairygoats #livestockguardiandogs #Anatolianshepherds #ranchlife

Monday, December 2, 2013


A housewarming horseshoe above every door catches good luck for us. #pleasebringrain #thanksmo

Tempie and Fifi

We try and make it to the local animal auction on the first Sunday of each month.   There is a lot of livestock that comes through, but we mostly watch and seldom buy.  Buying at auction isn't always the bargain it seems. Many times people use the auction to sell off sick, old, lame or infertile animals.  Many are to be purchased for slaughter. 
When we arrived we immediately noticed these two ewes.  They looked really healthy, clear eyes, clean noses and trimmed hooves.  The fellow who brought then to auction was there and told us that he had purchased them for slaughter with a large herd and soon realized they were bred. So for obvious reasons, he pulled them and brought them to auction instead. 
We had a maximum price in mind and thankfully the bidding didn't go above it.  So, short story long, we have two new pregnant ewes, bringing our herd to four.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


Our sheep are settling in but are still a bit skittish.  Millie is the braver of the two but still has her panic moments.  Yesterday I brought some beets, roasted pumpkin and pear trimmings to the chickens and Millie was gobbling them up. Apparently she enjoys the occasional treat.  I'm hoping to get her confident enough to eat from my hand without fear.

We've got plenty of time!

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Turns out my decision to put the portable fence around the turkey fryer was a good one... #raisingaruckus #thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

New fencing

The goats are trying out the new 1/2 acre pen we just fenced off for the sheep and hogs. #crossfencing #livestock #ranchlife

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Vet bills

Another expensive foxtail removal. Nella consoles Rizzo after her successful surgery. #vetbills #LGDs

Egg hunt

When you have free-range chickens, you can expect to find eggs just about anywhere. #polish #ranchlife

Sunday, November 24, 2013


Nella 's the sweetest dog you'll ever meet... But I'll bet you ask for a formal introduction before you come through that gate. #newsheriffintown #Anatolianshepherds #noriffraffaroundhere

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Green thumbs

Rizzo and Lester doing a little gardening with the azalea mix I brought home. #jerseygiants #Anatolians #greenthumb

Friday, November 22, 2013

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

John Deere

Spent all afternoon going over this little beauty with a fine toothed comb and tried out all kinds of implements. It's a 1998 JD 870 and tomorrow it will be delivered to the ranch with a box scraper and post  hole digger! #myachingbackthanksyou  #nothingrunslikeadeere


Score! Look what we happened across on our way home last night from the feed store. A 1978 2-horse trailer for hauling our critters. Now we can order our hogs and bid on that mini-donkey at the livestock auction with confidence! #ranchlife #haulinass

Monday, November 18, 2013

Vet visit

Had the vet out today to vaccinate and certify the herd. Clarice set a great example by going first. #goatfarm #ranchlife

Monday, November 11, 2013

Surprise delivery

Surprise! Look what the stock trailer delivered today. A pair of pregnant ewes. We should have babies by February! #stcroixsheep #needmorefences

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Score! Our neighbor was culling her orchard and offered us over a dozen crabapple trees, two cherries and four Osborne prolific figs. Looks like we'll be digging some holes this week. #backyardorchard #freetrees

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Russell Dunbar

Russell Dunbar, the little Casanova. #buffminorca #backyardchickens #cockadoodledoo

Friday, November 8, 2013

Dumpster service

Another dream come true... No more dump runs! #thelittlethingsinlife #modernconveniences

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fire in the sky

The sucky part of being a farmer is that you get up before sunrise every morning... Unless that sunrise looks like the one we had today.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tug of War

Jones is scrappy but my money is on Ruckus. #tugofwar #bordercollies #Anatolianshepherds #shelties

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Giant is right!

Up to 18 eggs a day now. This Jersey Giant one buried the needle on the egg scale.

True Ameraucana pullets

Moving our 8 week old true Ameraucana pullets out to the main coop today. #backyardchickens #dontcallmeeasteregger #blueeggs

Sunday, November 3, 2013


our girls love to play "king of the hill" 

Bare root order

We are fortunate to live near Bay Laurel, one of the big online bare root tree nurseries in California. They can get just about anything we want so here is our wishlist for this winter. Since we are local, we can pick them up in December rather than waiting until March for them to ship. As you can see, we are adding a bunch of new apples and hope to dabble in cider making. This will bring our fruit tree count up to 90!

Belle de Boskoop Apple on M111
Cox Orange Pippin Apple on M111
Calville Blanc Apple on M111
Peter's Honey Fig
Orange Quince
Pineapple Quince
Arkansas Black Apple on M111 (ours died of drought)
White Pakistan Mulberry
Ashmead's Kernal Apple on M111
Golden Russet Apple on M111
Hudson's Golden Gem Apple on M111
Pink Lady Apple on M111
Pink Pearl Apple on M 111
Spitzenburg Apple on M 111
Yellow Bellflower Apple on M 111
North Star Dwarf Cherry on Mahaleb
Montmorency Cherry on Mahaleb
English Morello Cherry on Mazzard
Burgundy Plum on Citation
Chocolate Persimmon
Ambrosia Pomegranate
Improved Brown Turkey Fig (squirrels killed ours)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Finally got a measurable dose of rain this week. First since March or April. #crazyskies #ranchlife

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Death from above... Almost.

Guineas making a racket outside, peacocks strutting by the window with their necks puffed up, hens clucking up a storm, dogs agitated... Finally put on some shoes and went out to investigate and found a hawk in the tree above the house. It took off when it saw me and all 3 of the anatolians chased after it for 100 yards across the ranch growling with hackles high. I knew they'd be good against the coyotes but I never thought they'd be so on top of keeping an eye on the sky. Impressive showing by all parties! #naturalalarmsystem #keepinemsafe