Saturday, October 26, 2013

Going Batty

After a day of installing insulation, we had a pretty good system down. The batts are an eco-friendly type... without treatment of chemicals like formaldehyde.

That's all, for now, folks! You'll have to wait another week or so for pics of the interior.   :)

Exterior & Windows

The exterior covering is very simple... tyvek, plywood and slab wood over the seams (not done yet so pics of that detail will be later).

The windows are double pane, of course, two are single hung, one is a slider and a double hung for in the loft.

The Roof

In the words of my nephew "You now have a shelter."

roof joists


tar paper

galvalume metal in place

Raising Walls

A group of wonderful, salt of the earth folks (friends and relatives all!) came for a day, and many scattered days thereafter, to help with this project. We are thankful beyond words. You know who you are!!!

wall #1- north side

wall #2- east side

all four!

loft floor joists

upper walls to support the roof

A Bunkhouse

After a famine of posts, get ready for a feast! We have been crazy busy building a bunkhouse. It's 12 x 12 feet, on skids, with a shed style roof, built with passive solar design in mind with lumber milled from our own trees. Very cool. And cute! 

In future, guests will have a cozy, private little space all their own! With amazing mountain view of the other side of the creek valley.

 A series of posts with construction photos follow.

Here are pics of the floor...

built upside down, insulation and skids are added

turning it over

putting on the plywood flooring

dragging it into location

Thursday, October 24, 2013

New Arrivals

The first batch of English Shepherd puppies has arrived - Fahey and Ailagh are the proud parents of Ten beautiful, vigorous babies! Born on October 21st there are 6 females, 4 males, in Tricolor and Black & Tan.

These are very special Puppies to us, being our 2nd generation of Naturally Reared dogs. We are accepting applications, so contact us to request one if interested.

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Love That Scent

I think the scent of cut wood is amazing, especially fresh wood. So the aroma coming from this gorgeous load of freshly milled fir and tamarack lumber, from our own woodland, is really a thrill!

Things are zipping right along lately!


It's hard to believe I am actually about to type this....

the infamous bridge is complete!!!!!

Aside from a few more big boards to place on the outer sides, it is fully drivable.... even with a trailer full of freshly milled green lumber (that's for another post!).

Danger of Ashes

We feel impelled to issue a warning, to spare other dogs and families this heartbreak.

Many people have recreational fire pits around which they enjoy relaxing time with family and friends. In the country people also have burn piles where wood and debris from around their property is burned. What most people aren’t aware of is the danger the resulting ashes present to one’s dog. It was our tragedy to learn this firsthand in the recent death of our precious dog Liam.

Consuming ashes is, at the least, extremely harmful to dogs. Most folks do not know that the old time way of acquiring lye for soap making is to leach water through hardwood ashes. The leachate is lye, a dangerously caustic substance, both internally and externally. However, even the ash of non-hardwoods when soaked with water will produce a severely caustic substance. If an unknown quantity of wet ashes and/or the soil underneath is ingested by a dog it causes acute alkalosis. In other words, the dog’s ph drops too low, too fast for its body to recover and acts like a toxin, killing the dog within a couple days. The dog suffers miserably. We know.

What can you do to prevent it? For fire pits- keep it cleaned of ashes, being extra careful after rainfall or if the fire pit gets saturated from a sprinkler. Keeping it securely covered so your dog can’t rifle through it would work also, especially if food is roasted in the fire there could be attractive smelling drippings in the ashes. For burn piles- do not bury anything that might attract a dog, like bones or spoiled food of any kind since dogs are scavengers. If possible, somehow block off a dogs’ access to it completely.

What if your dog does ingest ashes? We were told if you suspect your dog ate ashes to dose him/her internally with hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. This will not be easy or pleasant, but it’s the only thing that can be done. If your dog acts ill or vomits before you suspect, it’s too late to do anything. That’s what happened to Liam.

Please, spread the word about this danger. Safeguard your dogs without delay. 

And then give them an extra hug in memory of our sweet Liam. Cherish every precious moment with them!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Read All About It!

I enjoy writing about the things near and dear to my heart; such as our off-grid ranch life, animals, travel, cooking and real food, to name but a few. Natural animal health care through Animal Naturopathy holds a very special place.

I am delighted to announce the release of my first written creation - an ebook entitled “The Eight Laws of Health in Animal Naturopathy”!

Do you try to eat right and take care of your own health naturally? Ever wonder how to do the same for your pets? My new eBook will help you give your beloved pets a healthier life naturally!

In it you will find a brief overview of Animal Naturopathy as each of the Eight Laws is discussed in light of our personal experiences and how we deal naturally with issues in our animals on the Ranch.
There are two ways to obtain your personal copy of “The Eight Laws of Health in Animal Naturopathy”- 1) purchase it at Lulu, OR 2) be one of the first 3 people to subscribe as a Follower on any of our Blogs and I’ll email you a FREE copy.

This book combines my love of animals and natural health to help support my Blogs and the Ranch.

So, thank you for your support!

Good Health to You,


Friday, August 2, 2013


… of grasshoppers eating up all my potato and onion plants not to mention every other plant in their wake… and various grass seeds wheedling their way deep down into the fur of the dogs (and our clothing).


Sweet Liam

As the morning sun kissed the treetops greeting a new day, our Sweet Liam went to sleep for the last time. It was July 18, 2013, he was two years old.

There is an enormous hole in our life and hearts.

Souls come into your life touching it so deeply in such a short period of time that you are never the same again. Liam was just such a Soul.

He was an “old Soul”, wise beyond his years. He could look right into your heart with those amber eyes! Those same eyes could see your pain, and without so much as a glance his way hinting to the need for it, he would come in his quiet manner and gently give comfort.

There is a flower called Sweet William. The name Liam is the Irish form of William. Our nickname for him was Sweet Liam. It fit. His name also means “guardian”. From the beginning we said he was the guardian of our hearts. He knew he came to heal our broken hearts and he did, on a daily basis, bringing joy with his beautiful happy face. Now our hearts are broken over the loss of him.

He was the most loving dog we’ve ever known. Sure, he wanted attention, but he also gave it readily. “Loves” we called it, leaning in and burying his head in our chest (or armpit), or resting his chin on our shoulder, cheek to cheek. He loved being kissed on the head!

Liam appointed himself the Ranch guardian. He had the most amazing resonating, booming bark! We could literally hear him 1 mile away at our friend’s house! He warned off coyote many times, cougar, and also black bears. When Liam was on duty they dared not come close! We feel a little less protected and cared for without his presence. We listen for that reassuring voice to no avail.

Every time we realize we’ll never see him again it feels like a sickening punch in the gut. At the same time, we have his son Fahey who resembles him in many ways. In fact, all of Liam’s puppies have a strong resemblance to him. It is bitter sweet to catch glimpses of him through them. Oh, are we ever thankful he gave them to us! Fahey learned by his side to be a good guardian, and he has been from the tender age of 10 weeks. We know he will carry on in his sire’s footsteps with pride.

The death of two truly amazing English Shepherd males in as many years is a lot to endure. Humbled with gratitude for sharing life with them for a spell, in their honor and memory we forge ahead to give back to this incredible breed in the way of healthy, happy pups.

Sweet Liam, we miss you boy. You will always be in our hearts and a part of our life.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Officially Off-the-Grid

We are officially off the electric grid now!

About one month ago we disconnected. Unfortunately, we don't have a pv system yet so we are still heavy on the fossil fuel grid. Sigh.

It's been a learning curve.

Keeping the batteries maintained. Making sure we have gas for the generator (which we affectionately call "geny"). Remembering to take our power cord with us to charge the laptop at the library, etc. Weaning ourselves off watching movies in the evening to conserve on fuel used to power the geny which charges the laptop. So much to think about!

It sure will be nice to generate our own solar power soon!

Late Spring Rains

Goodness gracious, we've had tons (a slight exaggeration) of rain the past 2 weeks! It's slowed up final stages of the infamous bridge re-construction, but sure does make plants grow beautifully.

Here is a pic of our hugelkultur beds. We didn't get nearly as many built and planted as we wanted, but this fall we will. In the meantime we're sort of experimenting.   ;)  The pic above shows the potatoes in one loving life! That was taken 2 weeks ago, they are twice that size now.

Yum, taters!


... the newest addition to our English Shepherd pack… Highland Glenn’s Blackrock Ailagh! 

Ailagh is a beautiful Black & Tan female who came to us by way of her owner/breeder whose life circumstances changed dramatically. She needed to find a home for Ailagh in which she could blossom contentedly. Interestingly enough, we had hoped to get a female from Ailagh’s litter (knowing the cross with Liam’s lines would be a good one) but decided to keep one of our puppies. Isn’t it funny how things happen? 

We are simply tickled pink to have her! Ailagh (pronounced AY-la) and Fahey met last fall, hitting if off right away. Well they are the best of mates now!

Ailagh is Naturally Reared like our dogs so will expand our line of Naturally Reared English Shepherds.