Dead Heat.

I grew up just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, so I guess you could say that I’m accustomed to warm weather, sort of. When I first moved to Colorado, I spent my first winter living at 10, 600′ and I wore every article of clothing that I owned as well as keeping my heating pad on a chain-link of extension cords to get me from one end of the house to the other. I never thought I could grow accustomed to the cold, long winters, or to the cool, high country summers. Well, I was wrong. Although I now live at only 8000′, I have grown accustomed to snowy winters and mildly warm summers. Which is why it has come as kind of a shock to have such a warm…scratch that….such a hot summer this year. Records are constantly being broken all across the state, as well as across the country. Combined with the very small amount of snowpack, the early runoff, and the normally arid conditions for this time of year, our beautiful state has gone up in flames.

This past week has been especially draining both physically and emotionally. For starters, three of the five members of the Welch family have a particularly bad case of Strep (myself included). And, of course, the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs is, quite literally, too close for comfort. We are not in the fire’s path, yet we are a stones throw away from the massive amounts of damage, loss, and grief that are currently happening to our friends and neighbors. My husband works for our County Fire District and I can’t help but picture someone like him working day and night to protect people and their belongings from this type of disaster. I can imagine another young firefighter’s wife, trying to comfort her children as well as assuage her own fears concerning the nature of her husband’s duties while fighting such a fire. My husband is not currently fighting the fire in Waldo Canyon, just to be clear. But I still consider him, and every other firefighter he works with, a hero in each of their daily actions. It is an emotional thing to behold.

Tutu climbing on the rocks *outside* of her paddock.

Things on the farm are still moving right along. Tardy and Tutu are tearing up the pasture on a daily basis…well, Tutu is jumping on everything she can and occasionally escaping through the wide gauge fence to play with Sami the dog and to climb on the rocks. Tardy simply runs after her, making a lot of noise and generally irritated by the reckless abandon shown to us mothers by our kids. Miss Luxe has fully adopted Alan, which means that this week will end in a sorrowful splitting of the pair so that she can fully dry off before she is due to calve later in the summer. The Three Little Pigs are not quite so little anymore and we were able to score some spent grains from the local distillery in town. Check them out here: http://deerhammer.com/ We have to dry the grains out to get them to last us much longer than a week, but it’s free and totally worth it! The chickens and turkeys have made the move into the barn and we are working on their second story “laying/brooding” areas over this next week. The barn is coming along, though not completely finished. We are extremely happy with how the barn is turning out and I have to admit that, despite it being a shit-ton of work, it is better than I had imagined and worth every drop of tears, sweat, and blood that has gone into it. We are also very excited to be looking at a grain sprouting system to help with feeding the animals in this high desert climate. (We will have a post about this as it progresses.) Life is better than good, it’s Great!

Drying the spent grains from the Distillery before storing them as pig feed.

We have set aside some time this week to talk about our family AND farm emergency plans. I feel like this is something that everyone should discuss within their families and farms. Members of every age should know exactly what to do in the case of an emergency or disaster. Preparedness should also include preventative measures, especially where wildfires are concerned. For more information, please check out the Firewise website at: http://www.firewise.org/ I also feel very strongly that every family’s emergency plan should include their animals and livestock. Even if you do not have the means to move your livestock on your own, make sure you know someone who can and will in the event of an emergency – have a plan in place. Because in some cases, you only have a small window of opportunity to clear everything of value from your home and farm. And once you leave, you will not be allowed back. Emergency responders come in and try their darndest to protect everyone and everything from harms way, though they are not always successful. Regardless of the outcome, from here at the Crowded Acre, they are always appreciated, respected, and honored. Having preventative measures in place and having an emergency plan of action will only help emergency responders to help you, an act for which there is never enough gratitude to be given. Thank you, each and every one, from the bottom of our hearts.

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