More Plants, More Wildlife.

We’ve had a few planting days, and in our second big planting day, we sowed carrots, onions, cantaloupe, brussels sprouts, and a few random flowers. So far, everything except the random flowers have sprouted and are growing well! Our third planting day we did zucchini, watermelon, and cucumber, and have since had another sprout surprise!


So when we first planted the tomatoes in the greenhouse, we had a few really cold nights, and tomatoes aren’t super hardy, so we figured they wouldn’t survive. We gave them a few weeks but nothing ever sprouted, so we went ahead and planted the zucchini, watermelon, and cucumber in the greenhouse instead. We had a couple of sprouts, and figured, well, they must be the zucchini! That’s awesome! So then, a few days later, this other HUGE sprout popped up. R assumed it was a weed, but I refused to pull it until we were sure. I did some googling… and sure enough… the first sprouts were the tomatoes, and the big one is zucchini. I’m constantly amazed at how resilient these little seedlings are. We’ll transplant the zucchini to another bed once he’s a little bigger and healthier.


Tomato, followed by Zucchini.


Watermelon babies.

In other plant surprises, if you’ll recall, last fall we planted some kale and spinach just for fun in a small bed near the cabin. We got quite a bit of good kale and spinach out of it. Then winter came… 3 feet of snow happened… then spring happened… the mint sprouted (which was expected), and this other thing sprouted. A KALE SPROUT. Kale isn’t supposed to be a perennial. But here it is, after surviving the whole winter, sprouting. It has continued to grow and grow, and is now flowering and starting to seed. We’re actually out of kale seeds at the moment, so how rad would it be to harvest seeds from this little dude? What better plant to harvest from, too? This thing has SURVIVED. We’ll have the toughest kale around.


Super Kale.

In other news, we had a black bear on our porch a couple weeks ago! Around 1:30am there was a big ol’ CRASH on our porch, and I woke R up, did you hear that?? I got up and went downstairs, shined the flashlight onto the porch; I could see our little pile of firewood knocked over and the ax in the driveway, and my half-a-bag of duck food missing. Yeah, yeah, I shouldn’t have stored duck food outside, but it had been there for like a month with no issues! I’m not used to living with bears yet!


Look at our Turnips!

So R, sleepily, from the loft, is like, so the skunks are back? And I’m all like, well, I don’t think a skunk could drag off 20 pounds of duck food, so… So he gets up, and goes outside, and sure enough, 50 feet away, is a big ol’ black bear with Amelia’s food. R starts yelling and throwing stuff at him, honking the car horn and such, and the bear just kind of grumbles and walks off. It must’ve been uncomfortable enough for the bear though, because he never returned for the duck food. Neighbor told us if we don’t have pictures it didn’t happen… but it happened!

Also, lizards:

IMG_20160602_180151_423 (1)

Also, Columbian Silk Moths! (Ok, this wasn’t at the ranch, it was at work in town, but STILL). How cool, and fuzzy, are they?!



Also, Amelia’s been busy:


All the eggs.

Also, the furry kids are figuring it out:


Right before Arches slaps the dog…

That’s all our updates for now! It changes daily around here 🙂


Over the winter our little cabin kind of turned into more of a storage space than a home. We brought R’s inversion table for his back out from storage so the weather wouldn’t compromise it, and it sat in our living room (ha, I say that like we have different “rooms”), for months. And yes, he definitely used it, but it takes up a lot of precious space. So now that the weather is warmer, we moved it into the greenhouse, and at the same time, tackled a bunch of indoor storage projects.

We have now built a bench:


A dresser:


A duck ramp:


And a little project I’ve been wanting to do since way back when we were still in Utah: the tearing apart of the ottoman!


“I like boxes. Meow.”

(Obviously all of these projects have the added benefit of entertaining the cat as well.)


The ottoman has been this subject of contention at times. It’s big and takes up a lot of space. And it’s totally useless except for the fact you can sit on it. So I had this idea, like a year ago, to cut it open and build a box inside of it to store stuff. And last week we made that dream a reality! I put some random stuff in it at first, but now I’ve changed it and it stores ALL of our camping gear. Tents, sleeping bags, pillows, blankets, hiking pack. Just that opened up so much space in our storage loft, that we were able to get a bunch of boxes out of our storage space in town. And we don’t feel cluttered! There’s still quite a bit of space in the storage loft; I went through 3 boxes of books (thrift store’d a whole box, sent some as gifts, and the rest fit in our already-up shelving) and most of our junk is out of our storage space in town (a few big things are left). Oh does it feel good to get rid of stuff. You should try it. Spring cleaning!






The bench has provided not only more sitting space for when we have visitors, but also more storage. You literally CAN NOT have too much storage in a tiny house. The dresser serves the same purpose, now instead of random piles of clothing upstairs, there’s actually a place to put them. Our sleeping loft looks, and feels, more and more like a bedroom now.


Stretch those wings!

The duck ramp was this kind of small random project. I had some bird mat material that had just been sitting around and I want things to have a purpose! So we added a piece of plywood as a ramp to the roof of her duck house, I attached bird mat to all of it, and we’ve now increased her square footage! Also, the way the sun comes up in the morning, she can get on top of her house and get into the sun earlier in the day. It’s pretty adorable to look out the window and see her chilling in the sun on top of her house, preening her feathers and soaking up the warmth.

Getting more and more comfy here at the ranch!

First Planting. Part 2!

So, some of our seeds didn’t survive the first planting. Most everything in the greenhouse probably got killed by frost/overheating the first few days, so never even sprouted. I had one little basil plant survive… until we’re pretty sure a vole made it his dinner one night. So we called the greenhouse a wash and started over. We planted zucchini, watermelon, and cucumber in there a couple weeks later, and so far we have 2 zucchini sprouts! Here’s hoping they make it.


Swiss chard.



None of my outside herbs made it either, besides my anise seeds. I have two little anise sprouts that are doing well. We had a pretty heavy rainstorm and frost right after our first planting, and those herb seeds are so tiny, I think they just got washed away. It was too much for them. So I ended up re-planting most everything this last week. All the veggies, greens, and sunflowers have sprouted so far though!


Collard greens.

It’s been pretty fascinating to watch these little sprouts grow. I’ve never really gardened before, and you feel this true excitement when you see those little green babies pop up out of the ground. It’s like, you made it! From a little itty bitty fragile little seed, into this plant. Just some dirt, water, and sunshine. It amazes me how just those 3 ingredients cause this amazing reaction in these seeds that don’t seem… alive. How do they know?! When they’re in dirt, when the sun is out, when to break free of their seed shell, which direction to grow?! Truly amazing.




Basil (RIP). Voles are the reason we got a cat.

When they’re newborns (by that I mean, when they first pop up), they seem to be distinctly two different “types” of sprouts. They usually have two leaves, and they tend to be either pointy or rounded. And they all kind of look like one or the other until they get a bit bigger and start to differentiate. It’s pretty cool. A newborn radish and a newborn turnip look exactly the same, which is also like a collard green or an endive. Newborn spinach looks exactly like swiss chard and beets. The only obviously different sprouts are the sunflowers; they’re BIG and bright and ready to take on the world!




Mammoth sunflowers.

We’ve had a whole second planting as well, and some of those are just beginning to sprout now, but that’ll be a surprise for another post 🙂 Aren’t my kids just so cute?!




Living without running water is definitely a challenge. You get used to it; things like composting toilets, doing the dishes with a bottle of water, washing your hands outside under the water cubie, filling duck bowls from buckets. And so far, since we’ve lived here (which has been just over 9 months), we have not paid a dime for water. There are a few places in town where you can fill up 5 or 7 gallons at a time and no one minds. So that’s what we’ve been living with.


Then, our very generous neighbors gave us a 125-gallon cistern. We didn’t have the truck at the time, so the cistern just kind of sat for quite a while. We didn’t have any way to take it and fill it. But now, with Maximus, we have that ability! So we loaded up the cistern and now we can fill it up for all of… one dollar. It costs one whole dollar for 128 gallons of water. There are lots of people in our area that haul water, and almost everyone has a cistern in the back of their truck. Now we look like we belong!



So even if we fill up once a week, that’s $4 a month for water. How silly is that? Our monthly water bill in Utah was $40. Granted, we don’t have the convenience of running water in the house (yet), but only paying a few bucks a month for water is worth it.


So now, we’re able to back the truck right up to the garden, we got a hose attachment for the cistern, and we can water the garden straight from the truck. It’s a pretty rad system. And we’re much less stressed about our water supply and how often we need to fill our little water cubies. We even have enough to fill Amelia’s little kiddie pool so she can get a good swim!


We feel like real farmers now: up before the sun rises to water the garden, and usually in bed at sunset. Those little green babies need lots of water, especially with all the sun we’ve been having lately. It’s like summertime now! Sunny and 70s!