Hello, Fall! – A Summer Recap 10/2/22

Scarlett the Faithfully-Following Adventure Cat joined Braydon and me on a peddle boat out on the pond one evening.

It is finally Fall and the leaves on the few deciduous trees around are starting to display the first tinges of their magnificent color! The nights are chilly and the days are only in about the upper 60s and low- to mid-70s. We know that colder days are rapidly approaching and so we are double-stepping on projects to wrap up before we migrate south with the birds. This past week the Redwing Black Birds were loudly gathering in the bushes around the pond and the first V of Canada Geese was seen flying overhead. Summer slammed the door as it left, but not before we had adventures and took lots of pictures!

Chicken Butchering Days

Both at the Forbes’ as well as at the Smith’s, we participated in the Chicken Butchering Days. We learned a lot about humanely and effectively dispatching and processing home-grown chickens for dinner table purposes. We were so enthralled (and covered in chicken bits) at the Forbes’ that we forgot to take pictures, but we took lots of notes and were able to help Bryan and Jer with their first-time butchering as well. Once everything was set-up at the Smith’s, we were able to get pictures to share with you!

The first step in the butchering process, as pictured above, is to gather a handful of hens into a container that is transportable to the dispatch site. This cat carrier did the trick nicely!

At the processing site, above, the hens are placed upside down into the cones to keep them from squirming while their heads poke out the bottom to allow for easy removal. The buckets underneath catch a majority of the blood and, as the hens bleed out so quickly in an inverted position, they don’t have any time to really notice what is going on. This is the preferred method by those wanting a simple and humane kill. Next, the deceased birds go into the pot of hot water over the propane burner to kill any exterior bacteria and, more importantly, loosen the innumerable feathers to allow for an easy “plucking”. It is this hot-water bath that makes or breaks the whole experience, work-wise. If the water is too cold, the feathers are a nuisance to remove; too hot, and the skin will tear in the plucker and you will be left with pieces of a bird instead of a whole roasting chicken.

Below is the plucker after several hens have successfully gone through it. Usually about two soggy hens can fit in at once and, while the water from the hose splashes over it, the drum spins plucking off all the feathers from both birds in less than 15 seconds. This one piece of equipment is a must-have for a large harvest as each bird can easily take upwards of an hour to pluck by hand!

Then comes the most time-intensive step of the process: the removal of the feet and innards. Careful removal of everything inside is important for a bacteria-free meal in the freezer. While it is always a good idea to cook chicken thoroughly, the cleaner this step is, the better. Bryan is carefully parsing out the chicken in the picture above while grandkids and a neighbor learn how to help.

Braydon got to take a “before and after” picture of the process. It was so reassuring knowing that at least this part of our collective diets was raised, processed, and prepared with the utmost of care and respect.

Trip to the Fair

Manila, Utah, is too small of a town to have a fair, but an hour north of here in Sweetwater County, Wyoming, there was a great County Fair that we got to go to!

While there, we watched an Australia presentation and got to meet some interesting animals!

One of our favorite activities at the Fair was a presentation about Australia. The woman giving the presentation showed us a Gila Monster, Bearded Dragon, Dingo, led us in encouraging a Kookaburra to laugh, and introduced us to several Kangaroos and Wallabys. It was so much fun!

Hike to Moonshine Arch

One of our favorite outings was when we drove to Vernal and hiked the .75-mile trail to Moonshine Arch. With the elevation, we took frequent breaks to catch our breath. One of those breaks was on a rock next to this branch, pictured above. It looked so neat I had to take a picture of it!

When we finally made it to the Arch, we had a great time enjoying the well-cared-for scenery!

As we sat in the shade, the archway made a delightful “frame” for the scenery.
It was so neat walking through and seeing the stone “walls” of this incredible place!
Here is another view of this high desert region we are calling “home” for a few more weeks.
Looking out over the landscape from the inside of a cliff was an awesome experience!
Jeff trecked all the way to the center of the arch!

Sheep Creek Nature Trail

About 5 minutes south of us on UT-43 is Sheep Creek with it’s marina, bay, geological loop, and nature trail. One sunny Sunday afternoon, we took a trip down to the nature trail and learned about the wildlife and Natives who have called this place home. It was so beautiful we had to take lots of pictures! It almost doesn’t seem real walking through this area. It’s as if you’re walking through a pop-up book or something, but it’s real – so real!

Unwelcome Intruders

I was cleaning in the bus the other day and, through the green door that separates our “mud room” from out “living room”, I heard a scuffling. What I assumed was Braydon getting into something he shouldn’t be, turned out to be the barnyard “kids” intruding on our personal space! They left quickly, but not before I had to “shoo” them out and tell them this was not THEIR house.

Sue Ellen Had Kittens

This is, however, Sue Ellen’s house. So much so that she decided to have her kittens here in the bus! We thought that with her wayward ways she would have the babies outside under the shed we are parked next to – her favorite place to dine on the plethora of potgut and prairie dogs. But she chose our home to be her kittens’ home as well! We were delighted! She has been such a good Mama Cat and the babies are growing rapidly! They are already three weeks old and are starting to climb out of their “kittening bed” and explore. Their eyes are now open and they are so adorable when they stare back at you! We are pretty sure they are both girls, so we will try to find good homes for them as its too complicated and expensive to get females spayed. I was kind of hoping for a boy that could be easily neutered and then we could keep him, but no such luck. We have named the orange one Tally and the black one Francis.

More Fun on the Ranch

We will wrap this up with a few random pictures of life as it has been on the ranch this past summer. We have so loved our stay here and can hardly wait to get back here next Spring and do it all again!

Jeff and Braydon collecting excess hay from the field that did not get bailed and hauling it to the barnyard for the “friends” to enjoy!
Jer planted these lovely sunflowers along the path this spring and Braydon loved watching them grow and get taller than himself!
Out here in the desert, if you want anything besides cactus and creosote bushes to grow, you have to irrigate. Using the water from the Dam at the Gorge, the farmers here can keep their hay growing nicely with these wheel lines. A big portion of Jeff’s job on the ranch this year was to move the wheel lines frequently as to allow for a bountiful harvest. They are so picturesque in the Summer sun tossing their life-giving water through the air to the eagerly-growing plants below.

Thanks for joining us on our journey this summer. We hope to update you with some Fall happenings before we head South for Phoenix. We plan to leave the first week of November, weather-permitting. Our bosses in Phoenix have already been in touch with us and we excitedly have our winter schedules already made with them! Everything is happening so quickly, so don’t blink!

8 thoughts on “Hello, Fall! – A Summer Recap 10/2/22

  1. Well, that was an exciting update! It’s so neat all the things you’ve been able to be a part of there. I send hugs to you all, especially dear Braydon. Wish I could come see where you live, Bray, and you could show me all the cool things! You are getting so big, and being such a great helper! Are the kittens so cute? I’ll bet they’re super soft too. ❤️ Love you all!


  2. it’s all so amazing!! from chickens, to intruding goats, to kittens.. such beautiful pictures and adventures you all got to do!!! Bray is getting so big and educated while having fun!! what more can you ask for!! you all look great and happy!!!! thanks for sharing!!! love your blog and enjoying your adventures and work!!
    safe travels back to Arizona!! love yas!!!! 💕🤗💕 give Bray a hug from GAJ! 😉


    1. Oh! Bunnies are doing great! There’s so many of them now it became commonplace lol. We have 7 from this year that made it and there are three of the original mamas and papa. So there are bunnies everywhere! And a least on bunny is pregnant again. We will give you a final head count before we leave.


  3. gram loved the chicken section!! could really relate, brought back memories of her childhood! 💕
    loved seeing all of you and the beautiful scenery!!
    she says hi and gives hugs! thanks again for sharing, really makes our day!! 🤗💕


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