We are wrapping up our move here in California while Nick the ranch hand is taking care of things up north.  We had a yard sale on Saturday that was very well attended.  I put an ad in the newspaper and on craigslist that said “8 am to 4 pm” so they didn’t start ringing our doorbell until 6:45 am.  While we were cleaning and sorting and packing, Rick wanted to throw away lots of stuff, but I insisted we could sell it at the yard sale.  And we did!  Some stuff we were going to have to haul away we sold – one for $5.00!

We sold most of the stuff that we didn’t want to move, but by about 3:00 pm the crowd had dwindled and we were tired and hungry.  I already had Goodwill scheduled to come on Monday to pick up whatever was left, so we decided to just move everything out to the driveway, put a sign on it that said “Free” and call it a day.


All the left over stuff – and all gone in 3 hours!


We put the signs out  – and an ad on craigslist – at 3:30 pm and went inside.  I took a nap and Rick watched his race.  I went out to check and see if anyone had picked anything up at 6:30 pm.  Everything was gone!  Everything – in 3 hours!  Even the old, rusted  paint cans that we had sitting outside before we took them into the hazardous waste disposal.  Amazing!  We have decided that we could put our trash out front and put “Free” on it and someone would haul it off 😉

Pictures and Words from the Ranch Hand

So here are a few pictures and words for all to enjoy! This was what the chicks looked like the day they arrived.


Today this is what they look like.  They now are making the transition from cute little chicks to ugly large chickens.


 Have you ever felt like you looked just a bit different from the rest of the crowd?  Meet Bernadette the odd looking chick.  If you’re wondering no I have not named all the chicks. 


I have included some before and after pictures of how things are changing around here. Three weeks ago this was what the weather was like.


Today this is what it looks like.  I think that spring is here!


Look flowers!



Project number one.  Cut split and stack some wood for next winter.  This I love doing!  As a seasonal fire man I can not get enough of cutting wood!! So doing this “work” really was more fun than work.



So I love burning things, this trip has been very rewarding for me!  Having the wood stove to cook on, the outside fire pit, and the inside fireplace.  Life is good!!


The scout came in handy!


The finished product.


I was left with this as a project.  Looks easy right?


It works too!


 Gun fire is a normal occurrence here, but last Saturday I was out making a jig for cutting wood into seventeen inch links when I heard what sounded like a battle.  My suspicions were put to rest when I went into “town” and remembered that it was the civil war re-enactment weekend.  There were people all dressed up and they all had guns and two cannons.    


It was different…


 The best part was the cannon!  That thing was loud!


I just loved this guys hat, when I grow up I want a hat and a beard like that guy!!


Until next time…

Tractor Show

We are still here in sunny California.  This past Saturday we went to Tulare for the Tractor Show – Antique Tractors.  I guess you know you are really old when the tractor you drove as a teen is now on display at an Antique Tractor Show.


Russell (Rick’s Dad) went with us and enjoyed looking at the hundreds and hundreds of tractors.



Green tractors and red tractors – we saw them all.


 There were lots of other pieces of old farm machinery.


I remember having milk delivered in glass bottles, but the truck our milkman drove was a lot newer than this – really.


There were other unusual items that we all tried to figure out.  A motorized bicycle?


A rototiller cart?


My favorites were the kids.  These three were in the parade of tractors – though they really don’t look too excited about it.


Now that is a REAL tractor pull!


 We had a good time, didn’t get too sunburned  – a good day.

Nick the Ranch Hand

Rick and I have returned to California for a couple of weeks to take care of some business (whoever invented income taxes and quarterly business reports should be shot).  While we are away Nick is keeping an eye on things  at the ranch, including the new chicks.


 He’s been very versatile working on different projects the past week or so.  He helped build the chicken coop.


 He’s very handy at hauling sheets of OSB.


 I think his favorite was getting to use his chain saw – he was very excited about that.  Doesn’t everyone travel with their own chain saw?


This little tree wasn’t much of a challenge for his saw, but hopefully we can find him some bigger ones to work on.


Here he is hauling bales of wood shavings up into the loft.  We’re planning to install a hoist, but in the meantime Nick is doing a good job.


We’re glad he is available to be at the ranch while we are away.

The Chicks Have Arrived

The guys have been working hard to get the chicken coop portion of our coop/shed building completed.  They finished the trim and hanging the doors on Saturday evening.


Sunday after church we filled the coop with wood shavings and warmed the brooder box  – and not a moment too soon.


We got a call from Cathy at the post office that our chicks had arrived bright and early Monday morning.


How can it be that live chicks arrive from Iowa in less than 48 hours and our mail often takes two weeks?  These hatched Saturday at 6 pm.


I dipped each of their beaks in the water dish first thing.  This is their first experience with water and drinking as they are newly hatched when they are boxed and shipped with no nourishment.


At first they all huddled together under the heat lamp.


After just a few minutes they started moving around and eating and drinking on their own.


They do sometimes flop down all sprawled out like there is something wrong – but in a minute or two they hop up and move again.  They all seem to be doing well and survivied their shipping ordeal just fine.


The hatchery we ordered from also has many exotic and very rare types of chickens.  As a bonus they will include one of the rare or exotic birds with your order.  You don’t know what breed you might get, only that it is rare.  The chick on the right is the exotic one we got.  She is larger than the other chicks and has feathers all the way down her legs, so we think she is some type of Cochin – a fowl originally bred in China.  It will be fun to see how she looks as she grows.


While we were settling the chicks this morning, we needed to get the shed warmer.  Nick built a fire in the cookstove and then made good use of it to cook breakfast.  He’s getting pretty good on that thing!


The calendar says it is April and spring has arrived.


The snow has melted and the robins are out in the orchard looking for worms.


Tulips are peeking up through the straw.


The mountains around us are beautiful and snow covered, but spring has arrived here – not!


The tulips are now peeking out of snow and have been the last two mornings.


 Fresh snow in the trees and lawn and hanging off the porch roof.  We have just had the coldest March – with the most snow – since 1976.  Whatever happened to global warming?


The guys have been working inside on the garden shed / chicken coop.


John the carpenter is supervising his assistants as well as doing his own work.


The little cook stove keeps the place cozy and works well for cooking too.  Nick is making lunch.

Nick and Riah

We have been enjoying the company of our nephew Nick and his fiance Riah.  They drove up last week.  Nick was here two years ago, shortly after we bought the place, but this is Riah’s first visit.


We had a cookout with our friends John and Mary.  Poor Riah looks a little cold.  She brought a wonderful smoked beef brisket with her which we enjoyed with potatoes and vegetables cooked on the open fire.  Dessert was popcorn popped on the grill – Mary is holding the handle of the popper above – and s’mores.  Sticky and messy but mmmm good.


After dinner the boys of all ages shot off some fireworks in the snow.  The is a really grainy photo of Nick lighting one.  Riah’s visit was too short and now she has flown back to California.  We will miss her, but Nick is here for a while longer.