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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Best for My Pets Bully Sticks Review

This time the dogs got to test and review something - Bully Sticks from Best For My Pets!

Product Description
  • MORE THAN JUST ENTERTAINING YOUR DOG! Did you know that chewing gives dogs a sense of comfort calming them down? More than that, chewing on BULLY STICKS becomes a fun and natural way to CLEAN TEETH and keep them strong. This delicious long-lasting chewing treat helps to maintain your dog's oral hygiene and health.
    ALL NATURAL, 100% PURE BEEF. Our bully sticks are free of chemical, preservatives or additives. Made of dried muscle, they are Gluten-Free and Grain-Free, 100% digestible. Hard like bones, it is very difficult to break them into smaller pieces. Choose something remarkable and safe to satisfy your dog's cravings to chew.
    DELICIOUS AND HEALTHY. Low in fat, our bully sticks are a powerful source of protein. Stop feeling guilty by giving your dog unhealthy treats. You will be pleased to see how happy your dog will be with our yummy bully sticks.
    THE BEST VALUE! We offer the same or better benefits than the more expensive brands BUT we believe EVERYONE should benefit from giving their dogs the highest quality bully sticks. We have the BEST VALUE bully sticks out there! Other brands will either have bad products for a lower price or the same product for a lot more money. TRY IT NOW! You have NOTHING to lose and EVERYTHING to GAIN.
    ✭YOUR DOG HAPPY OR YOUR MONEY BACK✭ At Best for My Pets, we fully stand behind our product and we go beyond the Amazon's 30 days return policy and offer you a NO-QUESTIONS-ASKED GUARANTEE. So if your dog does not love our bully sticks or if you don't feel 100% satisfied we will refund your money. No questions asked. Customer satisfaction is our number one priority and we want to build a strong and long lasting relationship with our customers. TRY IT TOTALLY RISK FREE! NO EMPTY PROMISES!

I like the bully sticks better than rawhide chews, which I no longer give to my dogs. They really like raw bones to chew but giving them bully sticks as a treat is MUCH easier and MUCH less messy! 

All the dogs really love them, especially the standard poodles. It takes the toy poodles a lot longer to chew their way through one of these sticks. 

Here are Willow, Victoria and Kodiak giving the bully sticks four paws straight up!

You can see Willow has already finished HER bully stick and is creeping up on little Victoria, hoping to snag her stick. 

You can get the bully sticks on here

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Insta Natural Deep Cleansing Facial Oil - Works great!

I recently had the opportunity to try out and review another product from InstaNaturals. This one is their Deep Cleaning Facial Oil. Here is what the company says about this product: 

Our Deep Cleansing Facial Oil contains the perfect blend of ingredients that melt away dirt, impurities and makeup without stripping the skin of its natural oils or disturbing the natural pH balance. This energizing blend of oils will gently clean your pores and remove dead skin cells, leaving your skin smooth and nourished.

Use with a washcloth or sponge and rinse off with warm water. Leaves a soft and silky feel on the skin. Wonderful for all skin types and especially regenerative for mature skin. Also great to calm skin after shaving or sun burns. Can be used to remove makeup - even mascara!

Key Active Ingredients:
+ Jojoba Oil
+ Olive Oil
+ Lavendar Essential Oil
+ Pink Grapefruit Essential Oil
+ Tamanu Oil
+ Hemp Oil
+ Sea Buckthorn Oil
+ Geranium Essential Oil

I was attracted to this product because I have used several other products made by this same company and I love them. When I looked at the list of ingredients I was thrilled that it contained nourishing natural oils and no harsh chemicals or ingredients that you can't pronounce, let alone know what they are or what they do. I was a bit concerned about cleaning my face with oil for fear that it would cause a break out but it didn't at all. This product does an excellent job of gently cleaning your face and leaves it moisturized and smooth. I have dry, sensitive, mature skin and am out in the elements several times a day. As a rancher, I spend a great deal of time in the sun and need products that will help repair the damage already done and prevent further damage to my skin. This product helps meet that goal. I use this cleanser in conjunction with other products from this company - vitamin C serum, Hyaluronic acid serum and the anti-aging facial moisturizer cream - and they work very well together. And, with a money back guarantee, what have you got to lose?! Give it a try!!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Summer is over...

Labor Day is behind us and Summer is pretty much over. We had a wet summer for a change, which was nice because it was getting really old loading up all our crates and cages to be prepared for evacuation due to wildfires. Because of the moisture, we have so much green grass (and weeds) coming up all over the property. The llamas are loving the grass in the pastures this summer! The greenhouse looks like something from the movie Jumanji.

I didn't even plant everything that is coming up in the greenhouse! In the center front is a vine that is some kind of squash. I assume it must have come from the seeds/feed that I gave the duck and chicks when they were in the greenhouse this past Spring. I set a bag of seed potatoes on the ground after planting some outside and in a potato pot and when I tried to move the bag a couple of weeks later, the bag came up but there were potato plants growing on the ground! I just piled some soil over them and let them go (that's mostly what is in the center of the greenhouse.) At the far center back is a tomato plant that is almost a tree/bush! It is loaded with tomatoes and I hope I can keep the greenhouse warm enough to harvest them when they're ready. There's another vine on the left, under the shelving, that I didn't plant and I assume it must be squash, the same as or similar to the one growing up front. I need to harvest the hot banana peppers that are so big and numerous they're making the plant flop over (back by the big tomato plant.) I think I'll try making some salsa using the peppers, tomatoes, basil and cilantro (which I didn't plant but it is coming up inside and outside the greenhouse.)

Outside the greenhouse is another lush paradise just loaded with blooms and fruits.

I planted a rhubarb plant up front against the greenhouse and it got HUGE. The potatoes are to the right of the rhubarb. Behind that is a raspberry bush that grew well but didn't produce any fruit this year, which is fine because I'd rather the plant get well established this year so that it makes it through the winter and will hopefully produce next summer. There are two lavender plants back in there, along with cilantro (that I didn't plant), two rose bushes, three different types of mint, peas (which I need to harvest today!) and a blackberry bush that didn't grow a lot but it was bare root so those take longer to mature.

A few weeks ago I made a strawberry/rhubarb pie using store bought fresh strawberries and rhubarb from the garden and OMG was it delicious! Maybe I'll try making some strawberry rhubarb sauce and can it. Or, I may take some of the rhubarb and wash it, cut it up into chunks and freeze it for use later this winter.

Because of all the moisture this summer, hay prices dropped so we were able to put up enough hay to get us through the winter and paid about half of what we paid the past couple of years. Later this week I'll do another post showing our two new hay "barns". We sheared the goats this summer and they look so cute with their curly locks growing back in. We also hatched out some chicks and added a few more to our flock - I'll post about chicks and goats later this week, too.

I know I've been neglecting this blog lately. With the exception of the posts I've done regarding product reviews, I haven't done much. My right knee is bone on bone and I need a knee replacement so this summer I didn't do nearly as much as I normally do so there wasn't that much to blog about!

Thanks for visiting - I hope you had a great Summer and are ready for Fall!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Mega Mesh Screen Door Review

Wow - I wasn't sure about this product but I was selected to review it so I accepted and have been impressed with it.

I didn't want to put it on one of our regular sized doors because I didn't want the dogs and cats to get out. So, I installed it on our sliding glass door and it works beautifully. It is a bit longer than our door height but that wasn't an issue.

It installed easily with the included velcro strips. One continuous strip goes across the top and I installed that on the metal of the stationary portion of the sliding door. I then installed velcro strips along the right hand side on the stationary part of the door frame. I then installed several velcro strips on the edge of the sliding glass door when it was open almost all the way. I could then either have the door all the way open or only partially open.

The dogs learned how to go through it in about two minutes so I am now able to leave the sliding glass door open all the way or halfway without having a gazillion flies enter the house. There are magnets installed where the two pieces of mesh meet in the middle and they are powerful enough to come back together quickly and easily after going through the screen.

We have a screen door for the sliding glass door but it was destroyed by previous dogs and we never repaired and reinstalled it because we figured the dogs would just destroy it again. So, we haven't been able to leave the sliding glass door open except when they fly population is small(er). The dogs love to go in and out into the fenced back yard so this has been a perfect solution. The flies collect on the outside of the screen but very few enter the house. Win/Win!!!

This product can be purchased on here:

If you want additional information on the magnetic screen, you can go to

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Soap Nuts Liquid Laundry Review

Recently I had the opportunity to test out some soap nuts liquid laundry detergent from Green Virgin Products. 

I used 1 pump in a small/medium load of light colored clothes but it didn't remove some of the stains so I increased the next load to 2 pumps and it worked better. Used with a homemade laundry detergent booster, it works even better. 
I have used soap nuts for laundry detergent for over a year now and I do find that the liquid is a bit easier to use and both do a good job of leaving my clothes smelling fresh. I use wool dryer balls so I haven't used fabric softener in a few years and with the soap nuts detergent I still have static-free clothes without using harsh chemicals to clean and soften my laundry!
You can find the soap nuts and soap nuts liquid at the Green Virgin Products website. Please go to their website to read about soap nuts, what they are, how they work, etc.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tiger Nuts - They're awesome - who knew?!

Last night my Tiger Nuts arrived in the mail. What are Tiger Nuts? Hee hee... not what you're thinking!

Here's what Tiger Nuts has for a Product Description:

Product Description
We are Tiger Nuts, and we are NOT Nuts!

Actually Tiger Nuts are probably the "Healthiest 'single source' snack food on the market", and they have been that way for over 4000 years and they are a Tuber, which makes them Vegan, but taste like a nut.

Tiger Nuts are 100% Gluten Free, 100% Organic, 100% NUT FREE, 100% Dairy Free, 100% Allergens Free, High Fiber (33%), Low in Calories & Fats, High in Nutrition and taste great too!

The people that like Tiger Nuts are into health and well-being, paleo, working out, can read the back label of a pack, struggle with celiac, diabetes, weight loss (they curb your appetite) and are generally looking for a snack that will hold them over to the next meal. It is enjoyable, tastes great and does you good too!

And from their website:

So what the....are Tiger Nuts?
Well, here’s the shocker! Tiger Nuts are NOT nuts at all! They are tubers and they grow on the ground, much like a potato. They are nature’s way of delivering a natural, great tasting, nutritious, GLUTEN-FREE, ORGANIC, health-snack alternative that gives you that boost of energy you sometimes need. Tiger Nuts are packed with fiber, which acts as a dietary aid, full of vitamins, have zero trans fats, and are perfect for people who are allergic to nuts or are diabetic. 
Are Tiger Nuts a SUPERFOOD Wonder Snack?
Well, pretty much, YES! We believe that there are no other health-snack products on the market that can offer you all the benefits of Tiger Nuts from one single source. They are the best tasting healthy snack food product that health-minded consumers, just like you, have been looking for to satisfy a snacking desire.
...and the only thing they’re choc full of, is natural goodness!

1. Tigernuts’ high content in fiber keeps your whole body healthy
2. Tigernut milk (also known as Horchata de Chufas) is a great substitute for cow’s milk
3. Tigernuts are a solid source of magnesium
4. Tigernuts can help control your blood pressure
5. Tigernuts may help protect you from cancer and cardiovascular disease
6. Tigernuts give you a potassium boost
7. Tigernuts are a good non-meat source of protein
8. Tigernut milk can help control diabetes
9. Tigernut rivals olive oil for “heart healthy” oils
10. Tiger nuts Can Help Fight Malnutrition in Under-developed Nations

I am really enjoying munching on these - so much so that I think I'll need to order a few more packages to have on hand! I've been searching for a healthy snack and I've found it!

If you want to try these yourself, follow this link to

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Argan + Coconut + Jojoba Oil Hair Treatment + Elixir Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Product Description

Do you have dry, damaged or frizzy hair? Then you can't afford to MISS OUT on this REVOLUTIONARY formula!

Our Unique Hair Treatment & Elixir (Made Up Of 100% Plant Oils) Will Revitalize Your Hair Instantly!
So Be Prepared To Be Flooded With Compliments...Because Your Hair Will Be:
• Deeply Nourshied & Conditioned. 
• Stronger, Longer & Healthier. 
• Softer, Silkier & Shinier. 
• Protected from heat and UV damage. 
• More beautiful than ever before. 

Customers LOVE Our Product Because It's Made From 100% Plant Based Oils:
Argan Oil - Improves the elasticity of dry and brittle hair. 
Shea Butter - Nourishes your hair from roots to tips. 
Olive Oil -A great natural conditioner that can revive even the most damaged hair. 
Coconut Oil - Works wonders for both dry and oily scalp. 
Jojoba Oil - Repairs damage and promotes hair growth. 
Sunflower Oil - A light moisturizing oil that softens the hair, while making it more manageable. 
Grapeseed Oil - Serves as a natural sunscreen for hair. 

100% 100-Day Satisfaction Guarantee! If you're not completely satisfied, just contact us and we'll give you a full refund (no need to return the bottle). No questions asked.
I tried this elixir a couple of times but found it to be too tacky and sticky for my taste. It left my hands feeling very sticky and was difficult for me to get worked through my hair. I think maybe the addition of shea butter is what causes this. I would probably like it if it didn't have that in it. I am going to try adding it to an argan oil conditioner that I have to see if that helps. 

I have very thin, baby fine hair and think that this product might work best for people with thick hair. 

That said, I think this product has some amazing ingredients in it. All of the ingredients are very nourishing and are fabulous for repairing damaged hair. I'm going to continue to try different ways of using it to see if I can find a way that works for me.
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Anti-Aging Facial Moisturizer Cream

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. I recently received this anti-aging facial moisturizer cream to try out and review. As you know, I'm a rancher and a fiber artist so I spend a lot of time outside in the elements - sun, wind, etc. - and the elements, especially at this altitude (8400+ ft) are brutal, and especially as we age! 

The cream comes in a handy push top pump bottle. The bottle is nice and fat so it is really easy for my arthritic hands to hold and pump - a big PLUS for me! It goes on smoothly and soaks in quickly, leaving my skin feeling moist and dewy fresh without feeling greasy. My face feels SO smooth, even after only a couple of uses and improves with each use. I originally started using it only at night, after using the Vitamin C serum that I reviewed earlier on the blog. Now, I'm using it mixed in with my homemade zinc oxide cream in the morning, as well.

Here is what Insta Natural has to say about the product on Amazon:

Can be used as an all over face moisturizer, hand moisturizer and even as an under eye cream moisturizer.

Reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Provides firm, even, bright skin and ultimate hydration for a radiant complexion.

HUGE 3.4 OZ Size ★ Made in the USA In Our Advanced FDA Registered Facility

98% Natural Ingredients ★ No Parabens, No Sulfates & No Alcohol

★ WORKS OR YOUR MONEY BACK ★ Our Guarantee: We back our products up with a 100-day hassle-free money back guarantee, no matter where you buy our product. There is absolutely no risk to you when you order now! If you are not completely satisfied, simply contact us and we will give you a full refund, no questions asked (you do not even have to return the bottle). Our #1 priority is to make sure our customers are completely happy.

Here is the Product Description on Amazon:

Product Description

Dealing with Fine Lines, Crow's Feet and Wrinkles? Then you CAN'T AFFORD to miss out on our revolutionary Youth Express Age-Defying Moisturizer.

Our Product Is The Perfect Solution To All Aging Related Issues!

• Reduces dryness by providing unsurpassed hydration to skin.
• Helps firm the skin.
• Improves tone & texture.
• Provides you with a more radiant and glowing complexion than ever before!

InstaNatural Youth Express Age-Defying Moisturizer contains the MOST ADVANCED CLINICALLY TESTED ingredients!

• Botanical Hyaluronic acid: This is the most skin nourishing ingredient.
• Clinically proven age-defying blend of Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, MSM, Cocoa Butter, Green Tea and Cucumber Distillate.
• Tested Organic and Natural ingredients for a glowing youthful face: Aloe Vera, Coconut oil, Jojoba oil, Sunflower oil, Rosehip oil, Flaxseed oil, Avocado oil, Lemongrass, Evening Primrose and more.
• This rich blend has the MAXIMUM potency to help you look beautiful and young!

100% 100-Day Satisfaction Guarantee! If you're not completely satisfied, just message us and we'll give you a full refund (no need to return the bottle). No questions asked.
We apologize if we're sold out...Our products are usually in high demand and due to limited quantities, we tend to run out of stock.

And, a list of the ingredients:
Organic Herbal Infusion, Organic Aloe, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Cucumber Distillate, Botanical Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C), Organic Sunflower Oil, Tamanu Oil, Organic Borage Oil, Organic Flax Seed Oil, Organic Evening Primrose Oil, Organic Rosehip Oil, Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Wildcrafted Arnica, Organic Lavender, Organic Calendula, Organic Anthemis Nobilis (Chamomile), Macadamia Nut Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Octyl Palmitate, Glycolic Acid, Organic Cocos Nucifera (-Coconut Oil), Squalane, Lactic Acid, Palm Oil, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cocoa Butter, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Stearyl Alcohol, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Stearate, Organic Beeswax, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil), Ubiquinone (Coenzyme Q10), Phytic Acid, Phospholipids, Dipeptide Diaminobutyroyl Benzylamide Diacetate, Vitis Vinifera (Grapeseed Oil), Wildcrafted Mahonia Aquifolium (Oregon Grape), Wildcrafted Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Camellia Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado Oil), Wildcrafted Euphrasia Officinalis (Eyebright), Helichrysum Gymnocephalum (Helichrysum Essential Oil), Organic Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice), Cymbopogon Schoenanthus (Lemongrass), Butylene Glycol, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C Palmitate), Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Sodium Carbomer, Sclerotium Gum, Benzyl Alcohol, Potassium Sorbate, Tocopheryl (Antioxidant), Lecithin, Pyrus Malus (Apple), Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon), Saccharum Officinarum (Sugar...
The cream isn't heavily scented. It has a dry, herbal scent to it. I can't really place the exact scent but it reminds me of dried herbs. 
I am going to order another bottle of this cream because I really do love it a lot!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Vitamin C Serum Review

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial. A few weeks ago I was offered the opportunity to try Valentia Evenglow Vitamin C Serum. Because I spend a lot of time outdoors, the elements have taken their toll on my skin and my face has suffered the most damage. 

Here is the information on the product:

  • EVENS SKIN TONE: Vanquish dark spots and skin discoloration, replacing uneven and ill-textured skin with smooth, wrinkle-free skin that leaves you looking flawless and ageless.
  • INCREASES GLOW & RADIANCE: Revitalize your skin with essential fatty acids that leave skin smooth and visibly brighter. Smooth skin capable of reflecting light will give your skin a youthful glow and a brilliant shine for that well-rested and refreshed look.
  • ABSORBS RAPIDLY: Moisturizes skin due to the capacity of the hyaluronic acid to absorb water, thereby increasing fluid between cells, giving your skin a smoother and younger appearance. This intense water absorption means no more dry, peeling or cracked skin, even in extreme weather.
  • BOOSTS COLLAGEN PRODUCTION: The presence of Organic Rosehip Oil and a foundation of 20% Vitamin C increases collagen production so your skin retains the elasticity responsible for a youthful appearance and prevents skin sagging associated with aging. Enjoy smooth and supple skin that takes years off your appearance.
  • REDUCES WRINKLES & FINE LINES: Special ingredients such us Hyaluronic Acid and Organic Sea Buckthorn oil work to plump up the skin, reducing wrinkles leaving skin clearer and younger.

The product can be found on here. I hope you can read the ingredients in the photo below. 

I have to say that the product lived up to its promises. My review reads: 

I have used this serum for a couple of weeks now and my skin is much softer, more even skin tone, the lines and wrinkles are reduced and my face looks and feels so much younger and fresher! For the first time in months I sat in the chair at the salon getting my hair cut and looked in the mirror without thinking "who IS that old bag?!" I am a rancher who spends a great deal of time outside in the elements and this serum is the perfect solution to repairing the damage done by the elements. I have very sensitive skin and have allergies, as well, and this serum has always soothed my skin. I look forward to continued use and skin improvements!

I encourage you to try this Vitamin C serum out for yourself! As for me, I will be ordering another bottle of this fine product!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Organic Matcha Green Tea = Yummy!!

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I recently received a package of  Organic Match Green Tea Powder to try out and review.

You can find the product on Amazon here:

They also emailed a file to me with lots of yummy looking and sounding recipes to use the Matcha tea in. I just used it to make Green Tea Latte, which is my absolute favorite way to use Matcha green tea! I love the green tea lattes at Starbucks but on a rancher's "pay" cannot afford to buy them very often. This tea, prepared with steamed milk and stevia (or honey) tastes very much like what I get at Starbucks, so I was very excited to be able to make my favorite drink at home!

The tea tasted delicious and it was easy to make. I can't wait to try it out in some of the other recipes they gave me. I like drinking smoothies, especially in the summer, so I'm going to try some in a smoothie next.

Here are some facts about Matcha green tea:

  • ALL DAY ENERGY & FOCUS: Lift your vitality and concentration with the slow release natural energy from Organic Matcha
  • CALORIE BURNING BOOSTER: Support your weight loss goals with an all-natural way to increase your body's metabolism
  • LATTES | SMOOTHIES | BAKING: Kiss Me Organics Matcha Green Tea Powder arrives in an easy-to-use airtight health grade packaging allowing for as much or as little use as you need for any occasion. Enjoy a relaxing latte in the morning, bake a dozen cupcakes or simply add a small boost to your morning smoothie
  • 137x ANTIOXIDANTS OF BREWED GREEN TEA: Matcha Green Tea can only be used in a powdered form because, unlike brewed green tea, it contains the entire tea leaf which dramatically increases the nutritional content.
  • IMPROVED HAIR & SKIN HEALTH: Scientists have discovered Matcha Green Tea helps protect from harmful UVA/UVB rays as well as free radicals damage

Tastes good and good for you! You can't beat that! 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We say goodbye to a Legend at Split Rock Ranch

This Tuesday we said a very tearful goodbye to a Legend here at Split Rock Ranch. Ivory Pond's Black Jack was our daughter's performance llama. We bought Black Jack from Stage Stop Llamas in the spring of 1998 when Black Jack was almost 7 years old. Black Jack had been trained by the kids in the youth group that Stage Stop worked with. Their first show together didn't go as smoothly as our daughter had hoped but they hadn't had much time to work together prior to that show - it was the Estes Park Wool Market in June of 1998 and there were so many entries back then, you had to qualify to even compete over the weekend. Qualification took place on Friday and we had gotten stuck in stop and go traffic for hours in Denver en route to Estes Park and by the time we got there and got settled, it was already dark out and it was starting to snow. Our daughter was so disappointed that she moped the entire weekend. We were none too happy ourselves since we had driven all the way to Estes Park, spent money on the hotel, etc. and then she couldn't compete. Needless to say, we stopped going to that show, although they did change that rule a year or two later because entries were down. But I digress...

J and Black Jack's next competition was at the LOCC Fall Classic llama show in September of that year. We were newbies to the llama show world and didn't enter them in all three performance classes - we only entered them in Public Relations and Obstacle but not in Pack class because we didn't own a pack. They kicked butt in those two classes and had the entered the Pack class, they probably would have been Reserve Grand Champion.

We bought a little day pack for them to use in the performance pack classes and their next show was the Western Slope and Banana Belt Llama shows in Paonia, Colorado. That show was run a bit differently from other shows - it was held Saturday and Sunday with two judges and two rings - one for performance classes and one for halter classes. One judge would judge performance one day and halter the next while the other judge judged halter the first day and then performance the next. J was very small (she was severely asthmatic and the drugs stunted her growth) and she was very timid and shy. She would stand behind me and I would be her interpreter when she wanted to talk to someone. Because we were also showing several llamas in the halter classes that weekend, I didn't have time to be there to help J with the performance classes. During one of the classes, she accidentally added an obstacle that was on the course but wasn't marked as NOT being part of the course so she lost points but she still earned Reserve Grand Champion that day. She was upset because she didn't hear the judge go over the course description during the walk-through because she was at the back of the pack and didn't see and hear all the instructions. I told her that she needed to say "excuse me" and elbow her way to the front of the pack so she could see and hear the instructions during the walk-through and then ask questions if she needed to. When an adult exhibitor asked her how she did that day, she told them she "only got Reserve Grand" but that "tomorrow I'm going to be Grand Champion!!". He laughed and told her he loved a kid with a goal. The next day, she went to the front of the pack, asked questions to clarify the course and then proceeded to earn Grand Champion.

That was the start of many Grands for the J & BJ team. Between 1999 and 2002, they earned 17 Grand Champion awards and 3 Reserve Grand Awards. In six of those shows, they were 1st place in all three classes. They also placed top 10 at Nationals two years in a row.

J and Black Jack were such an amazing team, they were a joy to watch in action at the shows. They trusted each other so much, Black Jack would do or at least attempt to do whatever J asked him to.

After the 2002 Grand Nationals show, J made the decision to retire Black Jack. He was 11-1/2 years old and didn't seem to be enjoying the shows as much as he did when they first started showing. J had earned all of her Superior Youth Awards, including top points earner awards, from ALSA by that time anyway.

J's relationship/partnership with her llama, Black Jack, helped her to blossom into the confident young woman she is today. Because she couldn't compete in school sports and lots of other activities that other kids got to engage in, she needed something to help her feel competitive without requiring a lot of physical effort. Showing her llama was exactly what she needed.

Black Jack held a very special place in all of our hearts. He may not have been a legend anywhere else, but he was the stuff that legends are made of around here.

This photo was taken of Black Jack on 6/16/12

Black Jack had been slowing down for several months, eating less and less and moving slower and slower. This past Monday he was obviously in a lot of pain so we gave him something for pain and then took him to the vet on Tuesday morning. We thought it was colic or an obstruction but the vet detected a severe heart murmur. The vet tubed him with a laxative and we were hopeful that he would pull through. Unfortunately, after checking him frequently after we got back home, I discovered him shortly after noon laying on his side in the shade of the tree...he was gone. We're so thankful that he went quickly and peacefully without days of suffering.

I hadn't sheared Black Jack for a few years because he got too cold in our severe winters. He had the most beautiful silver, silky soft fiber, and I couldn't bury him with that gorgeous fleece still on him so I sat beside his body with a pair of scissors and carefully sheared him. I'm going to wash, card and spin his fiber into yarn and then make J an afghan so that she has something special to remember Black Jack by. He will keep her and her husband warm on those cold winter nights.

Rest in peace Black Jack - you're forever in our hearts

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Goats and Chicks are Growing!

Rosemary and Sage, my newest fiber critters, are doing great. Darrel is being a bit of a butthead to them though. He rushes them and head butts them. They run when they see him coming. I'm not sure how to make him stop but perhaps time will take care of that issue. Once Rosemary and Sage are bigger and have their horns grown in, they could be doing a little payback. Watch out Darrel!


Doesn't Sage look studly?! He has gotten so much more confident in himself. What a handsome boy!

I have decided not to clip them this summer. I'm going to let their fiber grow all winter and then do a first clip next Spring. They should have a nice, long staple length and they'll stay warm and cozy all winter long in their long coats. I just don't think the fiber is long enough to clip yet and I'm afraid they'll get too cold if I clip them this late in the summer. We could easily have snow in 6 to 8 weeks.

The chicks are growing, too. Momma hen really wants out of the coop/run area but I can't let her out to free range for fear something will kill her or hurt her and the babies are still small enough that even one of the large ravens here could carry them off.

Here is Lovalea (momma hen) with the two chicks. Supposedly the one on the left is a male cuckoo black or gray Orpington and the one on the right should be a black Orpington but I don't know yet whether it is male or female. It is considerably larger than the other one so it may also be a male.

Cuckoo Orpington chick is in back (top/center) Black Orpington chick is up next to momma hen (center of photo) and momma hen is taking a dust bath

Another photo of the two chicks with Lovalea

Closeup of the Cuckoo Orpington rooster - see the bars of color? That is what makes him a "Cuckoo"

I made a video a couple of days ago. You can see what a brat Darrel is to Rosemary and Sage. And the little chicks were so cute running around and peeping like crazy.


Saturday, July 13, 2013

New Fiber Animals Here at Split Rock Ranch!

I love working with mohair in my fiber art. Mohair is the name for the fiber that you get from fiber goats, usually Angora goats. It is silky soft, yet strong, with incredible luster (shine) and slurps up dye like nobody's business. Mohair has gorgeous crimp and curl to it. Below is how mohair looks after being washed, rinsed and dried.

And to show you how beautifully it takes up dye, here are some dyed mohair locks - see that amazing shine?!

I wasn't sure if I could handle goats or not, so two years ago I got two young Nigerian Dwarf wethers (that means they've been "neutered"). Nigerian Dwarf goats are dairy goats, not fiber animals, but I didn't want to deal with the fiber aspects of goats just yet. Well, Darrel and Gladiator have proven themselves to be easy-to-care-for and a lot of fun. So, I recently added two young fiber goats to my little herd.

On the left are Gladiator (front) and Darrel (back) and on the right are Rosemary (front) and Sage (back).

Rosemary is a Pygora goat. Her mother is a Pygora goat (Pygmy/Angora cross) and her father is an angora goat. Rosemary is a gorgeous light variegated silver color.

Sage is a full Angora wether. Both his mother and father are Angora goats. He is a much darker color. His color pattern is called "reverse badger" - he has a dark body with lighter points. He was black and tan when he was first born and has gradually lightened up to the color he is now.

I can't wait to shear these little goats so I can use their fiber in something special. I'm not sure if I'll shear them this year or not. I don't have a barn to keep them in during the winter. They have a shelter but not a barn that I can keep them in if it gets really cold and snowy. So, I will probably wait until next spring and then do their first clip.