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Updated: Mar 8, 2021

Welcome to our Homestead

We did not always have the plethora of animals we have today. We moved to this little piece of God’s world, with our daily view of the Big Horn Mountains, just weeks after our wedding day in 2003. We were young and thought living on a hill was no big deal. It would keep us fit. Some days I crave walking on something flat and wish it wasn’t always down hill or up hill to do something. The property came with a 80 foot 1970 trailer house and almost 6 acres. We thought this would be our starter property. We would save up, build a house and move to a bigger place. That was 16 years ago. I should of known this was only a half baked dream. I should have realized that I am the type of person who likes to see new places but would never go live there. I like to tell others that both my husband and I are Sheridan County Raised. I know now that we always will be.

We started our homestead with three dogs and a horse. I brought one dog and my husband brought the horse and the other dog as our dowry. The third dog was add during our year long engagement.This was our norm for a few years. Most of our first years on the homestead were spent raising kids instead of animals. Dear Son #1 one was born the next year and I changed to only part time working in town. Dear Son #2 was born 2 1/2 years later. This is when I came home full-time. My job now was to raise thriving children and grow as much food as we could. This is when the garden started. Then we added another horse because we need something for our first Dear Son to ride. This horse would have a colt two years later, which would bring our herd to three.

When I was pregnant with our second Dear Son our garden was taken over and eaten to the ground by grasshoppers. Our whole valley was flooded with them. We were gifted 3 hens and one rooster from my husband’s mother to eat all the grasshopper larva the next year. We kept those four for many years. The three hens were called Henny, Penny, and Margret. Henny would sneak off for a while and we would think she had become someone else’s dinner. But in about 28 days she would parade herself and a few chicks back into the garden a proud mama. The rooster was called Reggie. Reggie left the farm when Dear Son #2 was about 4 years old. He was gathering eggs and came running into the house to exclaim, “ Mom, Reggie tried to get a free piggy back ride. But I didn’t want to give him one so I hit him with my bucket.” I believe this was our start to the menagerie we have now. Because a few years later we added 15 more chickens, and expanded the garden.

After eating our fresh eggs, there was no going back. They reminded me of my childhood. When staying at my grandmother’s house we would get fresh tortillas and two fried homegrown eggs every morning. My father brought some of my grandmother’s chickens home when I was ten or eleven. We were living on Pass Creek then and the chicken coop was in the old Slack Post Office. One thing a person needs to remember about old buildings, is to always be on the look out for snakes. I remember many a times when my younger sister and I would sit on the corral fence that surrounded the coop arguing about who’s turn it was to go in the coop and who’s it was to keep watch for the rooster. Once it was decided, I would jump off the fence and run as fast as I could to the coop. While my sister would yell,” he’s coming, go faster.” Once I reached the coop I would scan the floor for snakes, then gather the eggs. I would then wait to hear if the coast was clear, so I could sprint back to the fence and be thankful for one more day. The blessings of a childhood on a Wyoming ranch.

Let's see what was the next animal we added? Oh right, ducks! As a young wyomingite, I participated in the local 4-h program. I loved it as a child and young adult. I rode my ranch horse in every event I could, from trail class to western pleasure. I wish I had a picture of my old horse, Ginger. I showed pigs and steers. As for indoor projects I was in sewing, crocheting, cooking, and cake decorating. I learned so much from how to change leads to the meaning of loss. ( I will have to tell you that story another time) I wanted to pass these skills on to my children.

When Dear Son #1 came of age he decided to take chickens. I had never done this but thought what is a few more chickens. But when we arrived at the feed store and saw the cutest thing alive, baby duck, plans changed. I did still get more chickens. My husband wasn't pleased, he has always been the calm to my storm. But once he peaked in the box his heart melted like it always does. We called them Sir Frances Drake, Abigal, and Daisy. As you can see our Dear Son #1 has always been a history buff. He did quite well at fair. Sir Frances won Grand Champion and Bird of Show. So off to State Fair we went, where he won second over all.

Let's see, when Dear Son #2 started 4-h he choose to do rabbits. I wasn't very good with them. His first two I left in the sun too long. He learned the meaning of loss very quickly. He got another rabbit which he named Eragon. We just lost Eragon to old age last week. Not sure if we will get more rabbits.

Both of my sons chose small animal because we wanted to start small. I had done large market animals and wanted the boys to learn the things only market animals could teach you, like money management, patients, self control, and herd management. With only a few acres, that were not being used by the horses, we decided to take market goats. They are small and we could raise 3 to 4 goats as one animal unit instead of one cow. We still have their beginning breeding Does, Bree and Loretta Lynn. The girls both had kids this spring. My boys have learned so much. They both run their own herds and money. With breeding stock they have learned a lot about animal husbandry and artificial insemination. I am so proud of them. But I was feeling a little left out.

I have been trying for years to have some kind of dairy animal. While helping the boys find and research their Boer goats I fell in love with Lamancha dairy goats. My favorite thing is they remind me of a Angus cow. That is probably a wierd comparison but hear me out. My father, who raised cows for most of his career, told me this, "why feed a tall gangly animal, who takes more feed, that will give you the same product as a smaller compact animal, who eats less food, and therefore saves you in the long run." Lamancha are much the same. They are smaller and eat less. I also love the no ears. They are so cute. I just had to have my own goat herd. Wyoming doesn't have many Lamancha but luckily I found a 7/8 Lamancha in Douglas and a friend of mine decided to get her sister so she would pick her up for me. Of course she was only 6 months old and I had to wait to get milk but my Red Ridge Midnight Ebony was just the beginning. That winter my dear husband bought me a full blood Lamancha named M.A.s Amber Ale. Last winter we Artificial Inseminated Ebony to buck named Nova. She gave us triplet bucks in July of last year. I had fun teaching her to stand on the stanchion. She kept us in milk all winter. We breed Amber to a Buck born in 1979 using AI. She gave us two beautiful does. I have decided these two will stay on the farm and grow my registered herd.

I believe that is our whole story for now. Of course every day and every year will bring new things.

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