Maria Brown

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since Aug 27, 2015
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Recent posts by Maria Brown

We would have to borrow on the land to be able to hire the fencing done. Which we are unwilling/unable to do. The Forest Service required him to fence all the allotments (which cost him over $100,000 to hire done), but there was no requirement of him to concern himself with fencing our land in the middle.

The land is about 50% meadow and the rest aspen/conifer forest It is entirely surrounded by the 5 allotments he has, we are in the center of the wheel. There are 3 gates we can push the cows out, the rest is forested and impassable.
3 years ago
My spouse and I live on an old family homestead (been in the family for almost 100 years). Elevation 8400', mountain country (rocky tundra), completely surrounded by US Forest Service lands. We love it here!

Except for the little "cow problem"...

The Forest Service allows a cattle leasee to run 350 cow/calf pairs on the land surrounding our 160 acres. And Colorado is a "Fence Out" state, meaning *we* and we alone are responsible to fence out the bovine hord. The fence line was done many years ago in 4 strand barbed wire, a lay-down type, metal T-posts holding it up, aspen stays creating the fence. The beauty of this is that it can be let down onto the ground before the heavy snow flies. The difficulty of this is that it was not let down for many years when no one lived here and the weight of snowpack (often 6' deep in the depth of winter) pushed the wires and T-posts into the ground in many places. So "restoring" this fence is laborious. The alternative is to let the T-posts, which are pushed into the ground to 6" high in many places, stay in the ground and do some other type of fencing over the top of it. Instead, we've been jacking the posts out by hand gradually and setting up the old fence. Then letting it down in the fall. This is a couple miles of fence, mind you, and much of it in heavy forest or on rocky hillsides. We are years along into this project and it has been a bear.

They, the range cows, prefer our meadow valley with two natural springs to the rugged hills around us, so they come in all the time to graze because our fence is still down in many places we haven't gotten to. We ride them out on horseback and with dogs. But it is a "several times a day" summer project from July (when they are allowed to be put on the allotments around us) till Oct when they are hauled off. I am unable to work offsite in the summertime. We are unable to take vacations away because the cows would come in en masse in our absence and the destruction is profound...hundreds of head on our mountain tundra is devastating...we are trying to undo the damage they've done over decades when no one lived here or monitored the situation.

The cattle leasee is not a very nice guy, not attentive to his cows while they are here. Sometimes they die and we report this but he does nothing to remove the dead bodies. Sometimes we see ill cows or injured ones and report it, but they are not tended to. We don't keep cows here, partly because we could not keep them away from the trespassing herd. We do keep horses and sheep and have had serious illnesses come in that are likely traceable to the range cows. He has been frustrated in the past when we push his cows out, to the point of physcially threatening my husband and (12 yo at the time) son, of filing a lawsuit about the problem of us evicting his herd and causing him trouble in having to move them back around to their appropriate allotments...which lawsuit we won. But still the trespassing goes on due to the Colorado Fence Out law.

We hoped, since the land has been in family hands for so long, we might ourselves be able to take over the lease/allotments and either graze our own cows or sheep or let the lease "drop" and be free of cattle here on this fragile land which they are destructive too in such large numbers. But we have not been able to "nose in" to get the lease, it seems quite impossible to claim that it would be more appropriately ours.

I'm just reaching out for ideas re: legalities from those knowledgeable in this area of law. And re: fencing...I think there must be a better "mousetrap" but my husband feels the old way of lay-down fence is the only thing that will work.

Hoping to resolve this huge problem before the next generation becomes discouraged over it and sells the place to be free of it.

3 years ago
An interesting side note: Saffron is being studied as a promising treatment for depression.
4 years ago
Here in the high mountains in Colorado, I've been using a hoop shelter for summer grazing months for my Icelandic sheep for several years. Two cattle panel pieces wired together w/ poly tarp. I have to drag it out to the new pasture each time I move the flock; drive in 4 corner T-posts and some metal rebar stakes placed along each side to keep it all up. The tarp was a heavy duty hay tarp and lasted 3 summers. It's heavy and has been a beast to drag around through grassy pasture (my morgan mare does the hauling), though the setting-up only takes me about 15 mins each move.

But...the tarp is decrepit now and the cattle panels got very bent during a heavy, early fall storm last Oct. Andm given my penchant to use more natural/biodegradable materials, my thoughts are turning toward the idea of a canvas tent instead with semi-permanent aspen frames set up in the 4 places I have been placing the portable shelter through the summer season. Kind of along the lines of the "Glamping Tents" that are being used for human guest businesses in wilderness settings.

I am planning to buy raw canvas, sew the tent and wax or oil it. Just trying to work out the design details of constructing the aspen frames (sturdy enough but also movable if I want to place them differently and avoid repeated pressure of the sheep on the same ground too many times/too long of times so their presence doesn't destroy the forage underneath the shelters. Would be nice if they could be skidded along by horse power.

5 years ago
Here in our forest in the Colorado mountains, rose hips are plentiful in the fall...big red ones everywhere. When I trail ride in their season, I gather them in my saddle bags and sometimes have a couple gallons to dry whole and store for winter.

I use them for our meals when fresh (cut up with other fruit in oatmeal or added to pancake syrup, pies, jams, yoghurt. And then, in winter when all we have is the dried hips, I grind them up in a little coffee grinder and use the powder to sprinkle on foods.

And I give them whole to my sheep and goats as occasional treats. They beg for them.

Some varieties of conifer needles can be an abortifacient. Use them with caution and sufficient research.

5 years ago

Alder Burns wrote:The ram lamb eventually did get aggressive once he was mature enough to breed.  Finally I penned him separately and feed him hay, silage, weeds, and coppice. But before I was able to set up a pen I found by trial and error that a squirt bottle filled with urine, beefed up with a dash of ammonia, would make him keep his distance for hours at a time.  The nasty sludge that drains from the bottom of my black soldier fly bin, flung in his face, would work even better....

IMHO, this is not a ram to keep nor to breed from.
7 years ago
I've enjoyed our Icelandic sheep immensely over the last 5 years. I am a rug weaver and I tried out many other types of wool for my work pretty thoroughly for years before deciding on Icelandics as being what I liked to work with best.

I invested in good breedstock so that selling lambs to breeders would be a possibility. I have to use portable fencing, as my perimeter fence is just 3-strand barbed wire and the sheep go right through it. But I have not had losses to predators, even though our "neighborhood" in the forest here in Colorado has healthy populations of bobcats, coyotes, mountain lions and bears.

Between breedstock sales, the abundant fleece (for my own work and to sell raw to hand spinners), the very mild meat and now, just this year, beginning to use their milk in the summer time to make easy, soft cheeses (which I then freeze for winter use), I am managing to cover hay costs plus a little extra...and we have grass-fed meat and milk that we enjoy much more than what we could buy.

My nephew, who also now has a small Icelandic flock, recently told me he is divesting himself of his cows, as he enjoys working with the sheep more and their family likes the meat better than beef.
7 years ago
The vitamin C content varies according to the process used to preserve rose hips...with drying in a cool, shady spot or freezing (after blanching) being better for saving it than canning.

As for separating the seeds and pulp :

*Simmer the "hip stew" and the skins will burst and pulp will rise to the top and can be skimmed off. Chickens and goats love this.
*Strain the rest through a fine sieve or cheesecloth to remove the seeds.
*Dry them and grind them. Then moisten the "flour" with water and reboil to extract the vitamin E.
*You can use this water for various purposes for its nourishing liquid.
7 years ago
A few things that have helped my lifelong insomnia:

Attention to thyroid issues from a naturopath (who treated me when my family practitioner didn't think it was a problem)
Kelp for trace minerals
Avoidance of dairy products and any caffeine after noon

A couple products that I keep on hand, just in case I can't sleep after an hour of trying:

Rescue Remedy Sleep (homeopathic)...mild
Tranquil Sleep (melatonin, L-theanine, tryptophan)...this comes in a chewable/breakable tablet so I can adjust the dosage easily. Totally effective and yet gentle.
7 years ago
Porcupines *do* have a natural predator in the fisher, which possesses an enzyme in its system that dissolves quills. Truebeans. Unfortunately, like so many other US species with a beautiful winter coat, they have been decimated in many or most areas.

Our homestead is in the high, remote area of Western Colorado and we have plenty of the quilled rodents. But they give us relatively little trouble. There is, however, vast habitat open to them surrounding our inholding within National Forest lands.  

A good, sensible dog is a must in areas with high porcupine populations. They discourage them from coming in close enough to expose our farm animals. Our experience has been that a young or clueless dog will get too close only once, never again. When this has happened, 2 or 3 times over 30+ years, we've been able to remove quills ourselves and have had no eye or other permanent injuries. This year, two young Morgans had a "quilling"...but again, we were able to remove the quills alright ourselves.

7 years ago