This is a snapshot of what goes into my life on the Nebraska Prairie. What living on a small ranch is like and what goes into running a small business from home. Life is very unpredictable out here on the prairie and activities vary from day to day. Here is to that life....
This last summer the Nebraska Prairie Girl and her family, including their Danish daughter Signe pronounce see-na (ex-foreign exchange student) planned a little vacation to Custer State Park in our newly purchased old motor home.
Planning the vacation on its own is a feat for the Nebraska Prairie Girl. If you have ever planned and taken a family vacation you can probably relate to some of this. First, there was the planning and then the packing involved for a family of seven and our two dogs. Which brings me to the reason we bought the motor home in the first place. Well, we own a TIPI that we camped in for many years. (another blog for another day) But with the addition of all the children and the fact that we (Dave and I) are not spring chickens anymore, but not stewing birds either, we thought owning a motor home might be a lot easier. Well sure, you have all the amenities your house has to offer on wheels, why wouldn't be easier?
Well, this might explain why! After staying at Chadron State Park for the night we headed into Chadron to our favorite little coffee shop, the Bean Broker. That day was fixing to become very warm, hot actually, so we wanted to treat the kids to a nice cool drink and head on our way. With everyone loaded back up in the motor home we were ready to roll. We were heading to Hot Springs South Dakota to take the kids to Evans Plunge for a fun day of swimming. We just started heading north out of Chadron and there was an awful loud noise that came from the rear of the motor home. Then came a noise that sounded like someone was tearing the back of the motor home up. Well, Farmer Dave slammed on the brakes and we came to a very quick stop. The first loud noise was one of the rear tires blowing and the second noise was the blown tire tearing up the back of the motor home. YIKES! In order to limp back to Chadron on the only remaining dual tire on that side, Farmer Dave had to cut out the blown tire. It had decided to wrap itself around every thing and anything. Being a farmer and never one to go with out his pocket multi-tool, Dave proceeded to crawl under the motor home and cut out the tire. Once he got under the motor home he realized that the tire had destroyed all the propane lines and propane was leaking. Once the propane tank was turned off (to avoid blowing up !!) Dave got the shredded tire cut out of its tangled mess. Our only option was to turn around and head back to Chadron at a turtles pace and find a tire store. To make a long story short there were no tires in Chadron for our motor home. They had to be ordered and would take a couple days. So, driving on our only spare tire, we headed home feeling a bit nervous,. And to top it off we had no propane for cooking or heating water!
Dave lacing up the Tipi
This were I thought WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TIPI !!!!!!! The Tipi does not require propane or tires for that matter. It something breaks on the Tipi you can usually find a replacement part out in nature without spending a dime. So as we drove home I thought to myself all the reasons we wanted a motor home are now the reason we had to cancel our trip.
So lets compare the two:
Tipi- Takes an hour to set up and is hard to move from place to place because you have to dismantle and put back up with every move. Sleeps an unlimited amount of people. (Well not really but it sleeps at least 12) You have to use the outhouse or the port-a-pot if you are in a pinch. Your heat and cooking fire are one and the same right in the center of the Tipi, works great! Great for meeting people from all over the world because everyone wants to come in and see your Tipi. You have out of town guests every night in your Tipi, because you invite folks to come sit in the tipi around the fire after dark.
Motor home- fully self contained, has heat, stove, microwave, bathroom, shower, running water, heated water, stereo, comfy beds, refrigerator, oh and did I mention comfy beds! You never meet anyone from other countries because they are all camping in campers too and they really do not want to see your camper. Terrible gas mileage, blown tires, no propane so no hot water, no stove, no refrigerator, no camping trip. And needs two thousand dollars worth of repairs. WE SHOULD HAVE TAKEN THE TIPI!!!!!
Surprisingly, I have never been to a sale barn. I have never purchased livestock from a sale barn nor have I sold any animals at the sale barn. That is until now............................
Since the increase in the size of my goat herd has resulted in more kids born, I had a lot of excess goats this year. There was not much interest in goats locally, so we decided to take the goats to Centennial Live Stock Company in Ft. Collins, Colorado. (A very nice clean facility) My friend Sarah Pinet went along with us to sell some of her milkers she was culling. We both had high hopes for the sale of our goats not just monetarily, but also in finding great new homes. Well, here is the good, the bad and the ugly of my Sale barn lesson.
First off, get your livestock to the auction very early. We got there by nine-thirty as we'd been instructed. Well, that is a great time if you want your livestock to go last in line. They sell the animals in the order in which they are received. ( Kind of like when you are put on hold when you call a business. ) So get your critters to the Sale barn early.
Second, if your critters go through the sale later than the rest of the livestock, you will notice that the sale prices go down more and more. Folks run out of money and bid less.
Third, separating out your doeling from whethers (castrated males) really is a waste of time, because they will just throw them all in together and sell them in one big lot. My hope was the the doelings would go to a buyer looking for good quality dairy goats. They would have been great to start a new milking line for next year. But they were sold with the whethers I brought, and sold as feeders. We all know what feeders are! I knew that the whethers would go as feeders but I wanted better for my doelings.
Fourth, just because you take two really nice looking two year old bred nannies, does not mean they will go to someone for milking purposes. I bred these two nannies in hopes that when they went to the sale barn they would go for milkers. Well guess what? You got it, they went most likely for meat.
Fifth, taking a friend to the sale barn who is equally as hopeful for a positive outlook for her critters is helpful. You can discuss your sale barn woes with each other the whole hour and a half ride home.
Sixth, never, ever go to the sale barn with any preconceived notions about your critter going off to live a great life as a productive member of society.
Seventh, do not name all your critters. Only name the critters you intend to keep. That way when they look up at you with a long sorrowful face, you do not have a name to go with that face.
Eighth, and the most important lesson for me. Send your husband to the sale barn for you with strict instructions to tell you the following: That your critters were purchased by a nice person who intends to put them out to pasture for the rest of their lives. And tell your husband that no matter how much you bother him for the truth about the sale, he has to stick to the original planned and scripted answer!
Unfortunately, with the growth of my herd there will probably be more runs to the sale barn. I have tried to sell them locally. Unfortunately, the Nebraska Prairie is not a bustling goat industry. Now, if I could disguise them as Angus cattle... hmmmm. However, I do not plan to go to the sale barn myself. I really am planning on sending my husband. He has no attachment to my goats like I do. I guess when you are there during their birth and the first part of their life you form something of an attachment. At least I know that while my goats were in my care they got the best possible treatment.