Welcome to the Lazy Dog Ranch!

We hope you will find inspiration, information and most of all humor as we share our adventures in advancing a more sustainable lifestyle in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Being Prepared

Our snowy weekend started Friday afternoon and we enjoyed big beautiful fluffy flakes through the evening followed by snow for most of the day Saturday.  Today we are expecting a cold reprieve before another system comes through.  Weather reports of course conflict- but we expect at least a foot! 

So once my Happy Snow Dance is out of the way- the list making starts.    We have so many things to think about- making sure neighbors and family close by are OK, checking our backup systems,  food for animals etc.    Karl laughs at me when I go about setting by water for us and animals and oh yes- TOILETS.   Most of my life has been spent on well water ( thank god)  but it has its challenges when we have hard freezes and power outages.  There is just something NOT FUN about going outside and baring ones bum to 7 degrees to attend to necessities.  So I run buckets of water  and fill the tub while Karl laughs at me-  Perhaps I will make him go outside.

While I sit here musing about our sense of being prepared, and what our ancestors had to do to leave here in the Mountains- we seem so soft, ignorant and unprepared on how to really live in isolation.  Fortunately for me, I am only one generation away from it.  My mother grew up in Moravian Falls, and remembers what it was like to heat with wood and grow her own food.  Her family were homesteaders in the truest sense- outhouses, gardens, plowing with a mule.  Yesterday she told me she remembered that when she was young, it was customers- honor to read the meter and send in money monthly for electricity.  Her family had only 2$ a month budgeted for electric a month and when the meter hit that- he would turn the power off until the next month.  Imagine- electricity was a LUXURY!

What things do we consider essentials now that were a Luxury not too long ago?  

As I obsess over being prepared- I am watching the news about the horrific shootings in Arizona.  How can anyone be prepared for such senseless violence?   6 dead, 13 wounded a little girl only 9 years old-  chillingly born on 9/11. 

How can you be prepared for such tragedy?  I go back into checklist mode- insurance, bills payed, -  but all that seems so inconsequential - How did I live my life?  Do the people I love know I love them?  Reminds me of the ole Garth Brooks tear jerker- "If Tomorrow Never Comes"    Not something we want to think about but it is irresponsible not to.... I like to think I try to live each day with mindfulness and gratitude- but I am sure I could work harder at it.  How bout you?

Sunday, December 26, 2010


SNOW!   It is the legendary stuff of songs and the perfect fluffy finish to the Holidays.

We have a White Christmas and what a beauty it is-  the snow was falling Christmas Morn and still continues the day after- coating everything in muffled silence.

Everything is cozy and warm inside and we have made several trips outside to revel in the snow. 

The roads are silent, the animals snug in their little hidey holes - our ladies are not really happy about having snow in their coop and have expressed their outrage with cackles and lack of eggs.

We see little birdy track and bunny hops in the snow and our kitties are too comfy in the garage to even care.  The dogs romp for a few minutes and are ready to return inside for a warm toasty bed.... ahhhh snow!

Karl spent a few hours trying to beat the snow off our cypress trees to avoid the ugly splitting we had last year.  The results of his 40+ tree-whacking tirade are yet to be determined- stay tuned. 

Mom made it home yesterday shortly before they closed I 40 in Mc Dowell County.  Our good bud Bob stopped in on his way today from Knoxville to Fairview- defiant that he will be able to catch a flight out to San Diego tomorrow.  We wish him safe travels but are so happy that we have no where to be but home, enjoying the weather.

Stay warm and cozy- but take some time to walk in this Winter Wonderland!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Too bad dogs can't read

Too bad Dogs can't read!

Ahhhhh the memories.  Our first project as a married couple lo these 7 years ago was to install a huge fenced- in yard for the dogs on the Lazy Dog Ranch.  The pups now boast a big area with trees and an indoor/outdoor run.  Karl electrified the fence a foot off the ground to dissuade digging and thus far- we have yet to have an escapee. 

It was a fine summer day in 2003 when we cranked on the voltage.  The wire had been strung a few days before and we watched the cats - Cletus and Roscoe rub their backs on the wire- like we had purposefully installed a "cat level backscratcher"    Now our cats are twins so one would assume the same level of intellegence- and we have simple found this is not so.  Roscoe immediately noted a hum on the wire and gingerly stepped aside.  Cletus- well he decided to do the ole rub- got a good dose of electric shock thearpy and proceeded to race around the enclosure like a racehorse with every little white hair standing on end.  Karl and I were there to witness this feat only previously seen in cartoons and we laughed until we cried.

That wire has not been necessary for over a year.  Recently, Sammie, the wee little Cocker Spaniel decided that he was going to try and dig out in multiple areas.  So Karl turned on the voltage and poor Sammie proceeded to imitate Cletus today in a yelping, screeching rant around the yard.

 Sammie has recovered and let us pray this will protect him from escape and potential harm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis The Season

Our challenge to you this holiday season- find new and creative ways to help those in need.

As my niece Anna asked in her Christmas Letter to Santa ( mailed today)  "Please take care of the poar people"   Hey - at age 7 if she is concerned about others above her toy requests- perhaps we older folks need a wakeup call!

We have contributed to the "routine charities" this season and somehow, this year it did not seem enough.  We are so thankful to still have our health, our jobs and our families - we just felt like we needed to do more.

It does not always have to be money or "things"-  For Example:  I reassured an older gentleman who has no other family that if he should pass ( he just lost his wife) that I promised to care and find homes for his 4 cats.  The promise will stand and the reassurance was free but it meant the world to him to know that his fur kiddies would be cared for.  

Is there someone in your neighborhood or church who may need a little TLC?  Your time and elbow grease are free- but the result may be worth it's weight in gold to those who cannot tend to the heavier tasks.  Does someone plan to spend the holidays alone? Do you have an extra place at the dinner table?

Perhaps you are more comfortable with the furry persuasion?  Karl and I are going to try and help out at our local Horse Rescue- STAR Ranch. http://www.star-ranch-rescue.com/index.htm

Wish us luck- we go out Thursday to see what we can do to help out over the holidays when help is thin and hope to be able to continue to help.  We do not have the facilities for larger animals but the desire is there to offer some love and affection to those in need.  I fear we may come home with goats and a horse :)

Stay Tuned and be creative in your holiday charity this season!  There are many ways to offer love and peace to the citizens of the earth be they human or furry!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Holidays

One of my resolutions is to pick this back up again- I have signed up for a writing class through UNC-A so we will see if perhaps my prose improves:

We try so hard not to write one of those droll letters so here was my attempt at humor :)

Happy hollerdays from the Lazy Dog Ranch!

Daisy here- a quick note to let you know that Karl and shannon are alive and well but too lazy to write a letter- so they allowed me to slobber up the keyboard to wish our friends and family a wonderful christmas and a healthy and happy new year.

This year has been blissfully peaceful. I finally limped and gimped enough to get a new dog bed- and I am allowed indoors when it gets below freezing. However, I cannot seem to convince mamma that wearing cat crap smells good so she bathes me whenever I roll in it ( which is every chance I git)

Jesse, Sonny, Sammie and the kitties are enjoying a new cedar and pine kennel and remain healthy.

We have had a great time continuing our homesteading adventure in the mountains and try to write about our forays into sustainability and they are usually more humorous than productive.

Shannon hopes to resume her blog now things have slowed down- so if you want to see what is up on the farm check us out


This year we are thankful for our friends and family.

The "new Normal" in this economy has brought us closer and increased appreciation for what we do have.

shannon and Karl have enjoyed- sharing crops with neighbors, reusing and repurposing, and discovering new modes of entertainment- like stump burning parties in the neighbors yard and turning the garage into a disco to host the Surgical Services Christmas Party.

We wish you in 2011 the bounties of good health, good friends and an appreciation for what we all have

Monday, October 4, 2010

Where did the time go?

Has it really been 2 months... things are finally slowing down and I must admit- after a banner year of Maters--- I am GLAD we are expecting frost becuase I am SO TIRED OF PICKIN MATERS.  I have dehydrated them, canned, made salsa and given away more maters....

Our pantry is well stocked and we await the fall and winter, the cool is now in the air and the leaves are changing.  Perhaps now the flurry of summer activity is over- I can concentrate on writing again.

My niece Anna is now reading and I look forward to sharing life on the farm with her while she is away in Raleighwood!