Homesteading Blog exploring Tears and Celebrations of Life - Gypsy's
homesteading blog of one
woman's life experiences where she gives homestead tips and advice
as learned through her happy wanderings along the path of life. This
blog is about simple living and getting on with the job of honest
homesteading. It's about working with the land, and the animals. It's
about hardships and tears, joys and celebrations. Follow her regular
contributions by visiting often and we wish you all happy reading!
Hello and welcome to my
homesteading blog. Like most who deal with
spend most of my
life, wondering why I’m doing this, and
the other part, wondering how I
am going to do it. I hope to share some of
what I have learned, with
I'm the owner of One
Ranch in SW
Iowa. I named it One Sky because there truly is One Sky above
all people, all creatures, no matter how different we think we are, we
only need to look up, and remember there is but one sky, and one heart
to all of us.
I came to this place when I was 27
years old, with 2 young boys and the shirt on my back. The first thing
I did was trade my mule for goats. We could eat goat meat and drink
goat’s milk, which is more than I could say for that mule! I learned
how to make
cheese and eventually opened
up a chevre’ and chevron
business with milk soapas a sideline.
Eventually I bought sheep, a cow and
learned how to make over 300 kinds of cheese. I learned what plants I
could use when I ran out of rennet, and what flavored the milk the
best. Hand milking 120 goats a day, every day was not what I really
wanted to do, so I did it until I could go back to my profession. I
was, and am a horsewoman. I even went to college for it. Yup! Read the
books and everything. So I saved my money and bought thin junk horses,
fattened them up, broke them to ride and re-sold them, always buying
better until I got where I wanted to be. I now have Andalusian,
Lusitano and Criollo horses; and love them.
Somewhere along the line I decided I
wanted to be a cowgirl. Trust me when I say it’s a far cry from the
hunt to an 18 hour day in the saddle with no one to talk to but your
horse. I loved that job. It was the highlight of my life. It ended one
day when we were sorting cattle on foot and a steer ran me into a gate.
I was paralyzed. I cried harder about having to leave that life, than I
did about having to pee in a bed pan. I missed the badger cubs playing
in the corn fields, the hawks when they were on the hunt. I missed
seeing every thing no one else ever sees. I still miss it. This is when
a friend taught me how to work leather and in 1999 One Sky leather
works was born. But that's another story.
One day, a friend of mine called me
from his cell phone from my drive-way. He told me that there was a thin
cow in my corral that was abandon in a sale barn and hadn’t eaten in 3
weeks. I had better get out there and feed her. I know why he called me
from the drive way. I would have liked to have killed him. I told him
to "Take her back, I can’t walk." she would surely die if he left her
there. He said no, he knew me better then that, and, "Oh, by the way,
there is a walker on your back porch." The corral is about a 1 minute
walk from my back door, it took me 45 minutes with the walker, but I
made it. Come spring the cow had a calf that I then sold to pay Dale
for the cow, and I was walking.
Over the winter I had a lot of time to
get on the phone and track down her brand, so by spring the cow was
also now a registered Longhorn. I took her to get bred to a Longhorn
bull and the following spring I still wasn't walking well, but good
enough I was there for the birth of that calf. You will recognize him
in my photo below.
with her steer at One Sky Ranch, Iowa
Because of that calf I kept going and
soon learned to run. He and I started the International
Riding Steer Assn.,
and later I wrote the book "The
Complete Book of Riding Steers" that has sold
wide. Freedom is now 8yrs and I'm still running out to greet him.
Another tragedy in my life started a
new and wonderful chapter as well; rabbits. My horse, the one I
cowgirled with was killed on my birthday in a freak accident. The
following birthday my son took me to buy a Flemish
Rabbit; it was love at first site. I'm still
showing Flemish and now getting involved with rabbit agility and rabbit
hopping with my young granddaughter.
I had had rabbits as a child, my sons
showed rabbits but if not for the death of my horse, my granddaughter
would have missed that wonderful experience. You don't have to ask me
if I believe that something good comes from something bad. I do.
It's been twenty years since I started
this farm with one mule and a suitcase of clothes for me and 2 boys.
Through learning to garden, using the animals to work for me, not me
for them, and doing every little thing myself, One Sky Ranch has become
the place of dreams come true.
It is my pleasure to get to share those
experiences and knowledge learned with you now, through this
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great tips and advice that you will learn along the way.
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