Friday, January 18, 2013

it is all in a name

One of the things you get to do when you own a ranch that you don't get to do when you own a condo is name it.  We've had a poll up on the blog for a while asking for suggestions and voting on a name for our new place. There were some great suggestions and we thought long and hard before picking one.
Eventually we settled on Vicarious Ranch. I really liked "Triple Yak Ranch", but the reality of us not having yaks, let alone 3 of them, came to fruition when we lost Lucky a couple of weeks ago.   "Sweet Retreat" is another great name, and we believe we will use it as an event name when we hold our confection classes on the ranch.  In the end, we felt that "Vicarious Ranch" best suited our plans for the place.

While we will start small, with a large garden, a few roaming animals, a dairy herd for our own personal use, thanksgiving turkeys, laying hens, eventually our plans are to expand.  The name Vicarious grew from our friends and family expressing that what we are doing, is what they wish they could do.  We heard more than once "i'm just going to have to live vicariously through you."  
We thought why not? Why can't people live vicariously through us?  Why can't we offer something that gives people a chance to experience what we do, but in a way where they can get their hands dirty, muck about, shoot a bit of archery, milk a goat, make a bit of cheese, and then go home.
Ranch living is hard work, but for a weekend, or a few days, it is invigorating.  For those whom have always wanted to have a goat in their garden, but have neither the space or the time, we imagine a program whereby you can "adopt" a kid on our ranch.  If you have visions of putting up a whole pig, raised in a way to produce the most succulent meat, but don't have a can look to us.  Chefs have been doing this for years, and we plan on bringing the concept to home kitchens.
Today, the first step in our process was to secure our name and file as an LLC, was completed.  We received our approval from the state our EIN number and our member certificates.  
We are official 
now to"
secure the fencing
plant the garden
build guest quarters
and on, and on, and on....

Sunday, January 6, 2013

lost luck

Yesterday, our caretaker called to deliver some bad news. Our yak Lucky was dead.  I experienced a sadness that I hadn't really expected.  Not the grief one feels for the loss of a friend or family member, or even a cherished pet. But a sadness, driven by the unexpected nature of sudden death.
Lucky was pregnant. By our estimation not too far along, perhaps 3 or 4 months.  She had trouble in the past, making it to full term, but had calved several times.  Cooper is hers, her legacy, born 2 years ago. 
On Christmas morning, Lucky and the others greeted us up at the ranch, and I gave them a treat of dry hay and alfalfa.  Alfalfa is quite the treat, and Lucky ate some right out of my hand. Which was unusual. You see...she really didn't like me very much. When we were looking at The Ranch, prior to purchase, she charged at me.  A no holds barred charge. She wasn't scared of me, and made it very clear.
Her eating from my hand should have been indication that maybe she wasn't herself.  She looked tired and worn, and we attributed it to her pregnancy weighing her down a bit.  We planned to have the vet back out this month to take a look at her to assess the pregnancy and the next steps.
Lucky beat us to it.  Her body just gave up on her.  Not far from the house, on a well worn footpath, she laid down and died. Her last breath not much before we got the call. 
Immediately, Mike and I packed the car and drove to the ranch.  We arrived here well after dark and in the rain.
There aren't a lot of choices when it comes to dead livestock.  leave it or bury it are really our only options.
 There are plenty of wild animals that could benefit from a meal of her rich meat; eagles, vultures, coyotes, hogs, mountain lion. We decided to let nature take its course.