Reading, Writing, and Ranching

I still can’t believe that its been more than a year of being a ‘published’ author. It is really an amazing thing. Last year I made enough money from my books (mostly from the paperbacks I sell myself) that I was able to buy myself a registered doe this spring. Yes, it isn’t nearly enough to support myself, but the money from book sales really has helped. I know now that it will be my ranch that covers costs and makes ends meet for me. I write my books for the joy it brings me and for the little bit of additional income. I think that my biggest accomplishment so far is having my five books on Barnes & Noble. They are on eBay and Amazon too, of course. But Barnes & Noble has always been a name that has stood out to me and screamed “Real Author“!

In the last year, I’ve seen my books change. I’ve learned new techniques and have found my own personal writing style. No, my books aren’t perfect. I know I still tend to shift tenses (i.e. past tense to present tense), have yet to master editing, and most of my books are novellas. But I am happy. That, I believe, is what matters. I know I would feel differently if I was still trying to make a living off my books, but I’ve finally realized that it just won’t happen. So I’ll be happy if I make a few hundred dollars a year off my books. I’m not going to get rich being an author, I know that and I’ve made my peace with that fact. I will continue to write books, hopefully publishing two or more a year, but I can’t afford to stress over it any more. I remember how heart-broken I used to be when I didn’t get a single book sale in over four months. But I can’t sweat the small stuff anymore. There’s too many other things in life that deserves to have me panicking over. Like the fact that I have three new mothers (my two ewes and yearling doe) due to give birth in the next few months. That is a stressful event in itself, especially since I’ve heard from multiple people that it has been unnaturally difficult year to keep goats. It must be the dry weather that has the goats stressing, but whatever the reason, I’m worried. My friend lost three mother goats and seven kids this spring. She has been raising goats for four years and that has never happened before. So needless to say, I’m worried about my new mothers. I’m also bottle feeding two kids (Zeena and Zayva) and attempting to tame a third (my registered doe, ‘Clover’). My brother’s goat hurt himself last night, and now I’m scrambling to find him a ‘room-mate’. Between that and getting new predator-proof pens and shelters built, I’m also dealing with cows. One of my cows lost her calf a few weeks ago, but luckily my dad had a motherless calf on hand that we managed to get her to accept. We’re also dealing with some bloat problems at the moment, and may have to move the whole herd to another pasture soon.

And here in another month or so, farming season with start. That, in itself, can keep up busy from early in the morning to late at night…and that’s if nothing goes wrong! There’s also the permit in the mountains to keep up with, which means fence building will be beginning in the next few weeks, as well as branding and vaccinating calves.

See where I’m going here? Yes, my books are still important to me but I simply can’t spend time worrying over things I can’t control, such as no book sales, low ratings, and bad reviews. All I can do right now is smile and find the good things in life. Like today. Today is my 21st birthday. No, I don’t drink, so that’s not why this birthday is a mile-stone for me. But because I am now ‘officially’ an adult. When I was younger, I told myself that I had to do something important before I was grown up. And that’s what I did. No, I didn’t get my name in the history books like I was hoping for, but that doesn’t matter to me any more. I’m an author. I’m a rancher. I’m a cowgirl. I’m a shepherd and a goat herder. I’m Briana Vedsted.

I managed to do all that before I was grown up. I showed the world (maybe not the whole world 😉 ) what I could do as a child, now it’s time I show the world what I can do as an adult. I’m betting that my adult years are going to be even harder, but I’ve heard that the Lord doesn’t give you a harder like than you can handle, and I believe that’s true!

I looked up which song was Number One on the Country charts when I was born, and here it is. My song. 🙂

Now, for the pictures! 🙂 I may be absent for awhile, so these will have to hold you over until I get back!

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Draculara’s new grey baby!                          Herefords!                                  My “Texas”

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Me and my pregnant ewes, Mavis and Matilda                       Mother-to-be, ‘Princess’

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Zeena                                   Zayva                                            Clover

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Billy the Kid

Some think Billy the Kid was a bad man. Some think he was an unsung hero. I personally think that he was a kid with a good heart who got portrayed as a villain as he vainly tried to bring justice to the world he lived in. I remember when I became interested in Billy the Kid when I watched the movie Young Guns as a child. Yes, the its a movie of historical fiction (just like my book, Me and Billy the Kid, is) but it was enough to get me thinking. I started researching the young cowboy and found so many ‘holes’ in history that didn’t make sense to me. And of course, different books portrayed him in different lights, which gave birth to my quote:

“Even the History Books tend to favor one side of the story.”

As with so many things in life, you have to make a decision about what to believe and what to ignore. For me, the fact that Billy stood on the right side of the law and was seeking to avenge his friend’s death makes him quite endearing. Yes, he killed people. But war is war. Death is inevitable in such situations. If you are faced with a kill-or-be-killed situation, I know I would do what I had to do to protect myself and the people I care about. That was exactly what Billy was doing. So in my book, I did my best to stick to the facts that most history books agreed upon, but it was my goal to do that in a way where all my readers could see Billy how I saw him. As the good guy. And I found an easy way to fill those ‘holes’. With a girl. A girl that maybe the history books left out, even thought she played an important role in Billy’s life and the events of the Lincoln County War.  A girl I called Angel. And with her help, I was able to put all the pieces of Billy’s life together, every last piece, to see the man he really was. A good man. A kind man. A man with a bad reputation he didn’t deserve. And thanks to Angel, I got to meet the real William H. Bonney, alias Billy the Kid.

 

 

How to deal with a few common problems among sheep and/or goats

Come and visit my new blog! If you’re interested in raising sheep or goats, my blog (Colorado Sheep’n’Goats) will help get you started! 🙂

Colorado Sheep'n'Goats

The following is a list of fairly common problems you may run into while your blooming sheep or goat herd, as well as naturals ways to cure the different ailments.

Scours. Scours can be a life-threatening problem if not dealt with ASAP. Basically, your animal(s) has a bad case of diarrhea and they are going to become dehydrated very quickly. If left unattended, your animal is going to die. The best was to cure scours is to dose your animal with an off brand of Pepto-Bismol. For adult sheep, give them two chewable tablets (by mouth) daily. Usually that should clear them up in about three days. If not, you may need to contact your local veterinarian. Another method to treating scours is to use Probios and/or electrolytes.

Bloat. Bloat can be another life-threatening problem, caused by overeating or if the animal has eaten something high in nitrates…

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The Sheepskin Gloves

Colorado Sheep'n'Goats

The Sheepskin Gloves

Sleek and thin. Glossy and tan.
But once you were white and wooly and warm.
On long black legs, full of life, you ran.

Young and spry, your chocolaty eyes so full of devotion,
Across the meadows and into the valley deep.
A playful bleat for every emotion.

But then you grew old.
You were no longer a lamb; no longer did you dance and jump.
And so came the day you were sold.

The day came for you to die.
Now you’re just a pair of sheepskin gloves.
I never even got to say goodbye.

***

Please note: I am in no way an animals right’s activist, but I thought up this poem one day and decided I would share it. Please understand that all animals have a purpose in life, whether that purpose is to be a pet for you or your child or…

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The Cowboy Crew

Here’s a poem I wrote some time ago, but I thought it deserves to be posted again! 🙂

***

The Cowboy Crew

Aboard a ship set for the sea,
A crew of cowboys were shanghaied.
Taken away from their ponies, their loves, and from all land to see.

No easy spirit to tame, the cowboys did not bend.
To whip and chain were they submitted.
Finally to the plank, did the captain send.

Never to waver, brave and strong,
the cowboy crew lined up on deck.
Willingly, they did leap, and met their death during the mermaid’s last song.

Cowboy Poetry

A poem by the very talented Dani over at http://fallnlovecrafts.wordpress.com/ !

The Community Storyboard

Submitted by Dani

Cowboy Grit
Through whispering willows and age old pines,

Thin mist veils,

The red sunrise eerily shines,

Over rocky roads and dusty trails,

The Cowboy rides,

Looking for strays and ones left behind,

A glimpse of a horn, and maybe some cowhides,

Could be all that he will find,

But he will not quit,

He’ll find those critters,

What true grit.

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