Replacing and building new fence

The goats and their livestock guardian dogs need a real fence.  Not a few strands of barbed wire erected 50 or more years ago.

Fencing is hard work, especially on steep, brushy terrain.  The 330′ rolls of livestock fencing weigh 180 lbs each, and they have to be unrolled through the old growth, then stretched and attached to the posts after the old, barbed wire is removed.

About 3000 feet to do.

Making stairs

The lumber we sawed a few months ago will be used for a number of things, including stairs to the shop loft.

I found this great, online calculator that creates all the measurements needed for various specifications.  It also does spiral stair calcs, and ballisters, among other things.

The stairs we are building will actually have two runs, the long one pictured here up to a landing, the landing, and a shorter run from the landing to the loft.

The calculator site is linked below.


Someone else’s short stories

humans would adjust to aliens taking our hands (if we could still keep our office jobs)

This was from an NPR “All Things Considered” segment with Audi Cornish and Anjali Sachdeva.  Anjali writes short stories.  Her interview was about some of the stories in “All the Names they Used for God”.

I think it might be worth reading!

Book cover of "All the Names they Used for God" by Anjali Sachdeva
A collection of short stories

When things are being torn down, it helps to remember what it feels like to build things up

Three, purple digitalis blooms on green and purple background of leaves and buds

Yes, it is true that our world has lots of bad news today — rhinos going extinct in Africa, bird populations plummeting in France, data scientists and tech companies taking advantage of people to further manipulate them, torturers being promoted to lead national spy agencies, presidents bragging about all the jobs created by weapons sold to kill thousands, and so much more awful exploitation and willful, malice-based destruction.

I do feel we need to be aware that these things are happening.  I also think we collectively can create a better vision for our world, and a future we like better.  But along with being aware, I also have to remind myself to remember the feelings of what it is like when people grow in awareness, love, empathy, and understanding … to remember what if feels like to actively facilitate these things for ourselves and others.

Today it feels important to remember what it feels like when people strive to lift other people up, to promote growth in beauty, love, and symbiotic relationship with all things.

Today, is, after all, the first day of Spring at Two Bucks Ranch.

Bottling the beverages

Grolsch bottles of carbonated beverages and a bottle of port setting on a table

Hard lemonade in a Grolsch bottle


Hard cider in Grolsch


We reuse the Grolsch bottles for the carbonated beverages — nothing extra needed.

Corks and manual corker are available at local brew shops or online — easy to clean, reuse and cork a wine bottle.

For the ciders and lemonades, we usually decant the liquid from the carboys (see earlier post) when fermentation has stopped, along with a teaspoon or two of sugar (to restart fermentation in the bottle and create a nicely carbonated beverage).  Monitor the bottles periodically to make sure they aren’t building too much pressure.  Relieve pressure or keep very cold if too much pressure builds up, or the bottles will explode.  A Grolsch top is easy to pop and close up again to relieve pressure.  Seriously — very dangerous if too much pressure builds up.  With too much pressure, bottles will explode and spray bits of glass everywhere — with extreme force.  How much pressure is too much?  When testing, if there’s a volcanic eruption of fizz, that’s too much — slowly release it (so you don’t lose all your liquid) until the fizzing stops pushing liquid out of the bottle, then close it up again.   When the pressure is just right, you hear a nice pop and gentle fizz — like opening a bottle of Coca-Cola.

With port, though, fermentation is unwanted after bottling.  We have had fizzy port — not for guests!  After fermentation is finished (several months), the port wine is fortified in the carboy with brandy (which should kill remaining yeast).   Let the liquid warm a little (room temperature) in the carboy for about a month.  Watch the airlock for bubbles to ensure fermentation has stopped — then bottle, store, and use later!  We haven’t started using oak barrels, yet.  However, oak chips are also available at local brew stores and those can be added to the carboys for a month or so before decanting to bottles.  We have also experimented with very subtle additions of coffee or vanilla, with interesting and pleasant results.

The guardians – 451 pounds of dog

Pictures are not the most current, but weights are.  Ages are 9 years, 3 years, and 4 years.

Love these dogs.  The goats love them too.  When we took the big boys to the vet this week for rattlesnake shots and weighing,  the goats bleated — they were not happy that we were taking their protectors away.

Guru, Story and Goatie

Right, privilege, good fortune


This is a crayon drawing from where I grew up, a 21st birthday gift from an old college roommate who visited a few times in the summer.

It was a privilege to live there, and there were many causes for this blessing:  good fortune, country and all the people who came before, energy slaves (gasoline) and frugal, hard-working, loving parents among them.

The world seems so crowded now, so competitive, so morally exhausted, it is hard to see the beauty of the place pictured above as a right — because now it seems there’s not enough to go around for every kid to grow up in a place like this.

We seem to have arrived at a time and place where very few children have the opportunity to grow up in open, safe, clean spaces with adequate education, good food, and a beauty all around.



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