Michigan Update

Update on our move to Michigan.  We have been overwhelmed with getting things done, unpacking, getting the property secure for the goats and llamas.  Several of our plans have changed such as our building project will have to be postponed until next year as that entire budget will now be shot on taking down trees.  We have numerous old poplar, white birch and scotch pine that are dying, dropping and falling and need to be cleared to ensure the safety of the buildings.


I had a tree fall on the lean to a few weeks ago.  Thankfully it did not crush the lean to as that is where the VW bus is housed and Charlie would have been crushed had his bus been crushed.

To date we have had about 30 trees taken down.  The house is secure for now and the trees that were tangled in our power lines are now down as well.  Since we won’t be doing our building projects until next year, we didn’t really have a location to unpack our last semi to.  We ended up buying a 53 ft long white semi trailer to park in the drive and unpack our things to.  Wow is that looking very redneck.  I did not want to do this and told Charlie is it only temporary as it is NOT staying and had an expiration date.  It was the most economical way to store the last load as the storage fees that we were paying would have been half the building fund for next year.  It is logical.  I know that.  I do NOT have to like it.

The trees around the semi that were dangerous are already down as well. More trees will be coming down in another month or so.

Raised bed with blueberries

Charlie has the front gates up and has started on the fencing.  He is starting on the hay barn tomorrow as we need a place for storing hay that is more than just 40 bales.

We have also done a fair amount of gardening and planted about 20 trees, 25+ bushes and various other loads of plants.  Our garden is coming along and we are slowly fixing many small things that need doing.

I have finally unpacked the fiber store mostly and am getting ready to so some spinning and some dyeing in the next week or so.  Stay tuned for photos of fiber fun.

Pretty Flowers

In the mean time, you can enjoy some of the photos that I took out in the garden and gazebo area today.  Isn’t it looking marvelous?


Alba Ranch Moved to Michigan

Alba Ranch has moved to Michigan.  This has been a very long and tiring journey over the last 4 months.  We are in Michigan and unpacking.  We will most likely be unpacking for the next 6 months or more!!!

I, Melisa, am just back online tonight for the first time and the connection is slower than my usual as I am tethered to my cell phone.  Soon I will have my proper internet installed but first I was hoping for my hot water heater and maybe my washing machine.  I have been boiling water in the kettle for hot water and going to the local laundry mat.  However that will not be happening again as someone stole my laundry from the dryer tonight.  I now have lost my blankets!!  I think all the other blankets are in the semi that we plan on unpacking in July.  sigh…. so you have to bear with me as I try to get all these things done and not forget my name or my new address in the mean time.

Lovely view of our stream in January when we first saw our place

We have springs, a stream and pond.  20 Acres of woods…sugar maples, beech, birch and bramble berry everywhere.  Grass for the critters, studio for both of us artists, garages, barns, and a wee little house that I just love.  Now I have to figure out how to condense enough stuff for a small country into a 1250 sq foot house.  But it is MILES bigger than our 12×18 cabin.  Wahoo! more to come later.

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat Kids Everywhere…..



Appletini Doe 2 SOLD

Appletini Doe 1 SOLD







Baby goaties everywhere.  Here are a few photos for your enjoyment.


Reecy Peasy Retained

Aspen Buck 2 Sold







Kidding season for us is mostly over for the time being.  I have one doe to kid late May but otherwise we are through kidding season.


Jill Buck 1 Sold


Jill Buck 2 SOLD













Flight and motion!! Buck on Right SOLD

Outlaw – Dad to these kids














Cameo’s Buck

Cameo’s Doe – Ginger



A couple of the kids  that I am retaining:



First Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat Kids Born on Alba Ranch

Jeff, the new buck

We have had a few new arrivals.  Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat Kids!!  Ana had triplets on January 9, 2013.

She had been locked in the barn in the kidding pen for about 3.5 weeks by that time as I swear she was going to explode much sooner.  Temperatures were really low with snow and high winds so very glad we had them inside.  There were two bucks and one doe born.

Smut, the new doe

The third kid born, second buck, was weak from the start and unable to hold his head up.  He died about 2.5 hours later.

The remaining doe and buck are growing and moving around well.  Doe is a little thin and I can feel her bones.  Buck is fat and plump so you know who has been at the milk bar the most.

The doe has a black smudge smut stain on her nose like she stuck it in a coal bin.

Twins together in the hay stack

Aren’t they just too cute?  all fuzzy, small, spotted, speckled and darn cute!  There is NOTHING cuter than a baby goatie.

Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats have an average butterfat of 7-10% and given that whole milk is about 4% that gives you an idea of how creamy and wonderful their milk is.  They are on par for similar taste and creaminess of a Jersey milk cow.  I can not drink cow’s milk but I can drink goat milk.  I have had at least 5 different breeds or crosses of full size dairy goats in my time and they all had some of that “goat taste and smell”.  Many were very milk, but I could still taste it and I am very sensitive to that smell. I would use the milder goat milk in cheese and cooking but never drank it straight.  I drink the Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goat milk straight all the time.  Charlie teases me that my 24 oz coffee is a minimum of 12 oz goat milk and 12 oz coffee.  He says that he has seen darker tea before. ha!  I can’t wait to see how these little ones develop.  Their momma is one of my favorite milkers, so easy to milk and gentle on my weak and sore hands.

I have been wondering about names.  I have been kicking the names around of “Smut and Jeff”.  What do you think?  leave me a comment and tell me your name ideas and what you think of my idea.

Dr. Bj Ferrell

Dr. Bj Ferrell

Monday, December 3, 2012, Dr. Bj Ferrell passed away unexpectedly.  Words do not express how broken my heart is.  I have never experienced a loss so profound or difficult as this as I have been fortunate in my life to almost never experience death.  I am at a loss to know what to do or feel.

Bj to me was a mother, mentor, teacher, best friend, my student, joy and buddy, holistic doctor, and the first person that ever truly saw me for who I was next to my husband Charlie.  It is very rare to find a friend that will give as much as I give back.  She was that and more.  She allowed me to give to her just as much as she did to me.  That is a real friend.  She knew the real me….all of me and still loved me fiercely.   She was trustworthy to know the real me and I don’t know if I will ever find another friend like her.  She means more to me than anyone else other than my husband, Charlie.

She never judged and always encouraged.  I had never met anyone like that before other than my mother in law, Grace Morrison who passed on 2 years ago.  To a person who was criticized, judged and found wanting her entire life…Bj was a breath of fresh air to me because she was so different from my previous life experiences.  It took me time when we first met to really trust her love because it was so foreign to anything I had ever known.

Dr. Bj Ferrell, an ordained minister, officiating at her Grandson’s wedding.

Oddly enough, we both recognized a deep connection the moment that we first met.  We may have only known each other 8 years (6 of which we were living in Colorado) but we were soul sisters from way back.  Had we met 25 years ago, that connection would have been the same.  It just took our coming to Colorado to put our souls in proximity with each other so that we could meet in body….finally.

I am not the same person that I was prior to meeting BJ.  I am a better person for knowing her.  I am alive because of her holistic knowledge and help with my health.  I have no doubts that had I not met her when I did that I would not be alive and here now.

She has been a constant source of encouragement and interest in all the crazy things that I do.  Animals from all walks of life.  Making, baking, creating and canning all sorts of foods.  She was always willing to be my experiment and try whatever I had created. She was brave that way.  She knew the old ways and understood them better than I hope to ever know.  Her fascination with all my fiber creations was a great joy to me even though she was allergic to wool and couldn’t wear most of them.

Her interest and joy in speaking with my husband, Charlie, on so many different topics was always a constant pleasure to me.  Charlie knows so many different things on so many different topics and some of those I haven’t a clue about.  Bj knew those things and they could converse in a comptuer programming language that made my eyes bleed.  But they were having fun!  They both loved photography and painting, and although I dabble in both, they are not my first loves.  It was fun to see how animated both would get discussing a new topic or technique and there you go…my eyes would glaze again and I was lost.  I could however enjoy watching the two of them yacking away.

Dr. Bj Ferrell

Bj had so many degrees, so much learning, so much knowledge and so many life experiences that she is a great loss to all of us that knew her.  Her obituary is here at the Daily Record in Canon City, Colorado.

My Scot Born husband does not always express how he feels to the world.  He posted his thoughts about BJ on Facebook and this is what he said:

I had some very sad news when I was travelling this week.
Dr. Bj Ferrell , our first and best friend in Colorado, suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. I am still trying to get to grips with her loss.
BJ touched the lives of Melisa and I, deeply, and in so many ways.
BJ was a superb mentor to Melisa, continually encouraging her and furthering her knowledge in health, wellness and alternative medicine and therapies in addition to being the best friend that anyone could hope to have.

For me, I will cherish the memories of all the discussions that BJ and I had on such an eclectic range of subjects. We talked about so many different things; Colorado places and wildlife, American history, world politics, music, art, photography, food and cooking, computer programming and webpage design, and even our cars. (I think she was as excited about our two new VW additions as we were ourselves!)
I will miss her candour and honesty, her sincerity and compassion and, most of all, her deep, deep, friendship.

My heart goes out to all her family and myriad of friends who will all, like us, miss her so much.


I will miss you Bj…more than either of us ever knew could be possible!