Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

postheadericon The Goats Have Landed – Our Lives Will Never Be Boring Again

For many years the hubby told me that he didn’t care what type of animals we had, as long as there weren’t any goats. He had apparently been traumatized in the past by a little pygmy billy goat that had it in for him.

 

The hubby claims that the guilty-until-proven-innocent little goat ate parts of his Jeep. He supposedly broke the windshield on his other car by using it as a goat parkour springboard. I advised him that if there aren’t photos or a chewed up Jeep as proof, it didn’t happen.

 

Goat with tilted head at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So I went along with this edict without complaining, much. After all, we have horses, cattle, turkeys, chickens, dogs and cats. HE even had a Red-tailed Boa Constrictor as a pet snake for a while. It’s not like we are missing out on too many things.

 

But, anyone who is online these days knows the internet is overflowing with videos of baby goats. These kids are shown bouncing around and bringing joy to the lives of those who own them. You know I wanted to be one of those happy people. When hubby told me NO for the 500th time, I sounded just like my nephew at age 3. We had to tell him the pink Hello Kitty purse was his sister’s and not for him, “But I neeeeeeeeeeed it!”

 

(And before anyone protests that he should have been able to have a pink Hello Kitty purse if he wanted one, his sister was wanting to use her purse at that particular moment. We offered to get him his own, but he was immediately off and running to his next interest and adventure.)

 

Lawn mowing at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I used the fact that our spring has been one of the wettest in decades. We are overrun with tall grass and lots of weeds. My husband didn’t fall for my logic that if we had goats, he wouldn’t have to mow every few days. He couldn’t be swayed by the cute and bouncy videos I kept sending to his phone.

 

I reminded him that I would have access to fresh goat milk instead of canned for making cheese and soaps, he still said no.

 

 

 

Goat in Tree at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

I know these things are true, but….. Then one magical day, he just gave up. My persistence/pestering/pleading paid off. A good friend of ours needed to sell her two pet does. She had to find someone she trusted to care for them like she would. The hubby graciously caved and told me I could get the two girls. I made the deal.

 

Of course, I sorta forgot to mention that one of them was pregnant, very very pregnant, but he’s a good sport. “In for a penny, in for a pound” or in this case, “What’s one more little goat?” OK, so I may have also forgotten to let him know that she had twin bucklings her first time…

 

Goats Cookie and Nibbles at Red Barn Blue Skies

 

So without further ado and fanfare, meet The Goats aka The Goots.

 

The Goats

Cookie is a Toggenburg doe who is just over a year old.

redbarnblueskies.com Cookie the Toggenburg Goat

 

Nibbles is a LaMancha doe around two years old.

redbarnblueskies.com NIbbles the LaMancha Goat

 

And then, we have the kids: Groot (mostly black) and Greta (mostly white) are the bouncing baby goats (called kids) born to Nibbles on March 27th. Their father is a wandering Kinder buck so they are half Kinder/half LaMancha. They obviously didn’t inherit the itty-bitty ears of their mama.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Groot and Greta goats

 

The hubby won’t admit it, but he is smitten by all of our newest additions. The very first night they were here he ended up sitting in the pen with them until after dark. He has also admitted to looking forward to some of my goat milk cheese with herbs in the near future..

 

I am so blessed to have married a man who is just as big of an animal lover as I am – even when he pretends otherwise. Our life is full of love.

 

Please join us again soon as we continue to share the adventures of Groot and Greta along with the rest of our menagerie.

 

By the way, have you ever seen those darling little miniature donkeys?

 

postheadericon Celebrate Earth Day with Thoughtful Acts of Green

Learn what you can do to celebrate Earth Day 2017 on April 22nd by creating your own Thoughtful Acts of Green.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Earth Day 2017

 

Earth Day was first celebrated in 1970 by about 20 million Americans. Those numbers have reached into the billions now with several hundred countries participating in the annual celebration of our planet.

 

We try to do something positive for Earth Day around here every year. My first time posting about it was for my 2009 Earth Day Pledge. One of our projects this year involves turning all of our feed bags into shopping totes. It’s a true recycle/reuse/repurpose task that benefits us and our family and friends. (I’m hoping to do a tutorial with pictures soon.)

 

What are Thoughtful Acts of Green?

Thoughtful Acts of Green are those actions you can take to help improve our planet. Recycling, replacing plastic bags with reusable shopping totes, conserving water and resources, and many other conservation methods are all considered green actions.

 

From the smallest thing such as planting a few bee-friendly flowers to larger actions like cleaning up your local streams and rivers – everything you do can have a positive impact.

 

Some of the things you might consider to help your world be a better place:

  • Educate yourself and others about the environment
  • Plant a tree or twelve..
  • Plant wildflowers for yourself and future generations – check out these Earth Day seed bomb bags
  • Join local conservation efforts
  • Learn about bees and beekeeping
  • Recycle/Reuse/Repurpose – whatever you can
  • Teach children the importance of recycling
  • Volunteer to help turn your city green
  • Learn what you can do to help endangered species
  • Take THIS QUIZ to learn how to reduce your carbon footprint

 

Get outside this Earth Day and create your own Thoughtful Acts of Green to make this a better world for us all.

postheadericon America’s National Park Week Starts Tomorrow

Once again it’s time to join thousands of other Americans as we celebrate our nation’s heritage for National Park Week. Make a plan to visit one of our country’s most valuable assets – our national parks between April 15-23, 2017.

 

Hiker in Yosemite at Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

 

Every year, the National Park Service partners with the non-profit National Park Foundation to highlight our national parks. This is designed to encourage people to take advantage of special programs and events. With over 400 parks to visit, there is a park close by for everyone to enjoy. Hiking and walking along the thousands of miles of maintained trails are a favorite activity for all ages and abilities.

 

Marmots in Yosemite at Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

National Park Week Schedule

  • April 15-16 – Free Admission Weekend for the 117 parks that normally charge a fee – the other parks are fee-free all year.
  • April 15 – Junior Ranger Day – Kids big and small can have a blast learning about the park and its residents while earning a Junior Ranger badge.
  • April 22-23 – Free Admission Weekend for the 117 parks that normally charge a fee – the other parks are fee-free all year.
  • April 22 – Earth Day just happens to coincide with this weeklong celebration. Be a part of it and join in conservation programs and celebrate our natural world.
  • April 23 – Park Rx Day is celebrating its 2nd anniversary as the idea of parks being a gateway to good health is explored and encouraged.

 

Mirror Lake at Yosemite Red Barn Blue Skies for National Park Week

 

Our National Park System offers a lot of programs and fun activities for the entire family.  The annual National Park Week is just one of the many great offerings to be had. Be sure to check out their calendar or that of your favorite park to find more events coming up. Whether it is watching wildlife or just relaxing in the fresh air, you won’t be disappointed.

 

Bighorn Sheep at Yellowstone for Red Barn Blue Skies National Park Week

 

National Park Week isn’t the only time the parks offer free admission days. Many events such as National Public Lands Day are included.

postheadericon Protecting Your Farm with Good Bio-Security Practices

Bio-security is something every farmer or rancher should be aware of. It doesn’t matter if you have 6 pet chickens or 60 breeding birds, 5 head of cattle and 3 pigs. Protecting all of these animals is a priority. The key to keeping them safe is to use common sense and follow good bio-security practices.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Goat Kids Playing Red Barn Blue Skies

 

Ways in Which Disease is Spread

By knowing how diseases are transmitted, you can lessen the chances that your animals will contract any of them.

  • Just like people, healthy animals can become ill from sick ones. The usual methods are contaminated feed or water and actual physical contact. Dead or dying animals need to be removed immediately from common areas.
  • People can be carriers and bring disease home with them. They then spread the germs around unknowingly. It is easy to become contaminated on your person, clothing and shoes, feedbags and even your vehicle.

 

Photo of Julie's green muck boots at redbarnblueskies.com

 

Prevention is Key

Apply basic bio-security measures to every type of animal – whether domestic pet or livestock. It is less expensive and much easier to stop the spread of disease to begin with, than it is to fight it once it’s taken hold. After your animals have been exposed, it is already much harder to play catch up and you may still lose some of your livestock.

  • Good bio-security practices should become a part of your everyday routine. Any employees or visitors to your farm should be made aware of and asked to follow your rules. If at all possible, refrain from outsiders interacting with your livestock. For those deemed necessary visits, disposable clothing and footwear is a simple and useful precaution.
  • Overcrowding is something many people overlook. When you have too many animals in too small of an area, your risk for disease and illness skyrockets. Stressed animals are weakened and more susceptible to anything floating around.
  • Stay aware of local issues. Be sure you know what is happening in areas your animals may travel. This will include your dogs as well as the bull you’re loaning out for breeding. If you are told of any illness or issues, keep them home until it is resolved.

 

Red Barn Blue Skies Pig behind Fence

 

  • A simple precaution that is invaluable is to quarantine new animals. This is also good practice for any of your current animals who may be acting a little off or showing some signs of sickness. Any animals returning home from elsewhere such as a show or that prized bull who went visiting the neighbors should also do a little time in isolation. By keeping them from immediately contacting your healthy livestock, you can stop any disease from spreading if they have become carriers. A thirty-day quarantine is the widely accepted standard for this preventative measure for most animals.
  • Feed contamination can be easily prevented by keeping your feed covered, dry and free of mold. Rodents can’t ruin what they can’t reach.
  • Many other domestic animals and wildlife can be carriers of disease without showing visible symptoms. Keep contact to a minimum. This includes wild birds interacting with your poultry.

 

redbarnblueskies.com hand sanitizer bio-security

 

The Power of Clean

The number one weapon in the bio-security battle is cleanliness. Regular disinfection and having everything neat and orderly is a huge step towards fighting disease and illness on your farm.

  • All equipment needs to be cleaned regularly and disinfected when possible.
  • Regular cleaning is a necessity with ongoing manure and waste removal.
  • Always wash well before and after any contact with all animals. You must avoid the cross-contamination between healthy and sick livestock. Work with any ill or quarantined animals last in order to not carry germs or disease to the healthy ones.
  • Have your own special clothing and shoes to use when working with your animals at home. Don’t wear these clothes away from home and don’t wear your “town clothes” to the barn.

 

redbarnblueskies.com Pair of Oxen for bio-security article

 

Good Bio-Security Practices Should Become a Way of Life

The better educated you become regarding good bio-security habits, the better armed you will be in fighting the onset of disease. Stay on top of learning what illnesses are common or currently making the rounds for your particular livestock and the area where you live.

By taking precautions to keep your animals healthy, you are ultimately protecting the health and safety of you, your family and possibly your livelihood.

postheadericon Bluer Skies, Cleaner Air, and Greener Pastures

Spring Fever has hit us in a much, much different way this year and it all has to do with bluer skies and such. It has been more of an ending to our “winter of discontent” and a beginning to a whole new chapter in our lives. Hubby and I have been plotting and pondering a move for several years now and we are pulling the trigger on it, finally! This will soon become a regular view for us:

Lake Coeur D'Alene bluer skies at Red Barn Blue Skies

Bluer Skies

Hubby and I were born in California and grew up here. We were both also privileged to have spent time elsewhere in our great US of A. He served in the military in Alaska and I lived in Ohio for many years.

Because I worked for an airline I was able to see a lot of our country, both from the air and due to my inherited  love of road trips (inherited from Mom, definitely NOT Dad). Before hubby and I met, we had each returned to California to be near our families and friends again, but found that it wasn’t the same place or atmosphere we had left.

We had seen that green grass on the other side of the fence(s) and wanted to be there!

Bluer Skies at Red Barn Blue Skies Idaho

Cleaner Air

While we’ve talked extensively about different places we’d visited over the years, it wasn’t until we lost my beloved uncle that we found THE DESTINATION.

After a long life in Orange County, he and my aunt had unexpectedly and quickly, moved to Idaho when they retired. We all laughed and gave them 3 months before they’d be back – my aunt had always complained about any temperature below 70 degrees. How wrong we were!

They became firmly entrenched in their new home and community and you couldn’t have budged them with a crowbar.  Even with the unexpected loss of my uncle, my aunt is transplanted and will remain so. Imagine our surprise (as well as hers, I think) to find that she thrives in the wide range of temperatures.

Coeur D'Alene Lake from Arrowpoint Resort. with bluer skies

I fell in love with Idaho when I took my Dad up there for my uncle’s funeral. The super clean air, slower pace and sheer beauty was overwhelming. Hubby had to stay home to work and take care of the animals and ranch in general.

A second, unexpected trip came about a year later when my sister and I took a road trip to visit my aunt. Each time I came home, my discontent grew. Hubby put up with my moping around and complaining about using my inhaler as soon as my plane had landed back in our heavily polluted valley.


Bluer Skies Greener Pastures Idaho Red Barn Blue Skies

Greener Pastures

It wasn’t until last month that the Hubster finally got to understand and feel the pull of the great North for himself. He was in desperate need of a vacation and we had a nice little unexpected windfall land in our laps.

We put together a sight-seeing trek that took us from Portland, Oregon to the Coeur D’Alene, Idaho area. We rented a car at PDX (Portland’s awesome airport) and spent the next five days cruising through Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Hubby admitted that he now understands why I was so miserable coming back to California after each trip up north.

So what this all leads up to is the fact that we have had our bid accepted on a home in Idaho and will be making the move in the next few months to the land of bluer skies, cleaner air, and greener pastures. We can’t wait for this new chapter of our lives to begin.

Boise Idaho Red Barn Blue Skies Bluer Skies