Friday, April 16, 2010

Got Mice? Bitter about it? Good.

We live in the country and so do a lot of mice. It's a constant battle, especially in the fall when mice like to come in to get warm. We use Agri-Pest commercial grade sonic deterrents to help keep the population down, but the sonic waves won't penetrate cabinets and drawers.

I loathe mice. And I really loathe cleaning up their scat and nests that they build in my kitchen. We are an organic ranch; we don't use poisons. One spray I like is Repels-All-Animals which is sold by Arbico Organics, where we also purchase our Agri-Pests. If you purchase through one of our links here, Arbico will donate a small amount back to out nonprofit. We'd be thankful for the help. But we don't like that spray for where we keep our utensils, it repels us as well.

So last fall, on a whim, I tried one of our staple dog deterrents, Bitter Apple. Our Labradors lap the stuff up, but other breeds like our heeler/border collie mix are horrified by it. Unlike the Fooey, which we use with our Labs, Bitter Apple has no foul taste to people. So after running all the flatware through the weekly wash and cleaning out the drawer & dividers I sprayed Bitter Apple into the drawer, and I mean I soaked it, and allowed the stuff to air dry. In when the dividers and the flatware. And I mentally lit a candle - a mouse shaped one.

Every day I opened that drawer and scanned for tell tale scat. Nope, none. A week passed. So I cleaned and treated another drawer that held utensils. Checked the flatware drawer. Still clean. Added another utensil drawer. Flatware drawer? Still clear of scat after a month! Pretty awesome, huh? But I hear my late mother's voice, dump the drawer, wash it all, clean the drawer - it's a monthly chore! But now I add the soaking of Bitter Apple to the  pattern. Mice have been conquered!

So here's the deal. I'm using Bitter Apple for Dogs. I've since googled and they have a product for hot spots on rodent pets. Took some sleuthing, but I finally have a contact number for the company and I'll be contacting them with my experiments. But until I learn more about the different blends they make, go to your local pet store and pick up a any big bottle of Gannick's Bitter Apple and mouse proof your kitchen.

Get Good & Bitter and mouse free!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Support NPPG's Sliding Scale with the Promo Code: LLWA

In early March I received an email from Dan Engel of the Non-Profit Purchasing Group (NPPG). I was intrigued by the idea, but as With Alacrity is a very small nonprofit, the membership price of almost $100 per year was staggering and just not in our budget. Most nonprofits are small, really small, and every penny is thoughtfully spent. I just couldn't see how our organization could access the possibilities offered by this group. So I picked up the phone and called Dan Engel.

Dan called me back within a half hour. And I pleaded our situation. Our annual budget is about $5,000 annually. With our new litter of pups, we need to double our donations and find more ways to save money. I argued for a sliding scale. Dan's experience is mostly with large well funded nonprofits, and he didn't realize how hard or simply how many of us small groups are out here struggling to make a difference. Emails flew, calls exchanged and Dan offered us a discount code while he contemplated a breakdown of how a sliding scale should break out. And then Dan agreed to offer a generous sliding scale and swiftly implemented it. And it's a very good sliding scale, one I can't even ask him to improve. Our potential savings with Office Depot alone are going to make a drastic difference in our financial outlook!

So now is the time to show NPPG the power that small nonprofits have, to spread the word, to share the wealth. Dan has created a tracking code: LLWA  - which is short for Live Life With Alacrity™  for all of us to put in the promo box to show our support of his implementation of a sliding scale. I ask all of you that spread the word to link back to this post. By entering the code in the Promo code box - you will be telling Dan that you appreciate the negotiations that we have made so that small nonprofits can participate in the buying power of a larger group. 

We are very pleased to be a part of NPPG and look forward to a long relationship. We hope that if you join, you will be as happy as we are. But when and if you join, please use the LLWA code to show your appreciation of the sliding scale. We get the same discounts as you receive, nothing else. But by using the LLWA code, you’ll show Dan that small nonprofits appreciate his adjustment of pricing to accommodate our tight budgets.  Thank you Dan! And thank you to all that have read this and are sharing this.

To share post:

With alacrity,
D. Titus Blackwood

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lost my shoe in the mud. I need some Sweet Tea.

I lost my shoe twice in the mud.
It's officially springlike enough to qualify for some sweet tea and porch sitting in the sun.
Vitamin D Here We Come!

Today's sun was happily shared with Chef Rick Kangas & his lovely friend Miss Lucy. I can't express how nice it was to just "be" in the sun with lovely company, snoozing puppies, no phones or electronics, and nature enveloping us.

"Louisiana Sweet" Ranch AlacriTea™
  • Luzianne Tea bags - 16 regular or 4 family size
  • Mint, fresh - handful pinched in clothespin, preferably Kentucky Colonel
  • Evaporated Cane Sugar - 1/2 cup
  • Liquid Stevia - 1/4 teaspoon
  • Lemons - stain juice of 2, Meyer preferred
Add boiling kettle of water to teabags & mint and steep exactly 5 minutes. Remove bags & mint. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Add more hot water if required. Add stevia & lemon juice. Stir well. (see note below) Add ice & cold water to make 1 gallon and refrigerate. Serve in Mason Jars over ice. Garnish or not. Find a patch of sun and a rocking chair.

Note: I prepare this in a 2 quart Pyrex measuring cup. If planning ahead for a party I will make multiple batches and freeze in quantity and add water later to save space. Likewise, I may freeze half and prepare half to drink if I'm alone. Another short cut when you find yourself with a wealth of cut mint is to steep the mint 5 minutes, add the sugar and freeze the simple syrup to preserve the bounty to add later. Same with Meyer lemons - zest well, spread thinly on parchment to freeze dry and then bag or jar and freeze juice in an ice cube tray and crack frozen cubes into a bag. Return both zest and cubes to freezer until needed. ;)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Freya in the Cabin

Fall is insanely busy at the Ranch but we've been very photo conscious because we are applying to Big Dogs, Huge Paws to be a Foster Family. We are finally down to our home inspection which will be done initially by photographs. We all are very camera shy, each preferring to be the photographer, so we have made an effort to combat this situation, and also to sift through existing pictures to show just how animal friendly the Ranch is.

So this is Spring '08, Evening chores are finished, and I hear the strangest noise upon the inside stairs - sounds that any child would expect upon the roof on a any given Christmas Eve...and up pops Freya, my favorite of the yearlings.

Freya used more caution with her antlers investigating then the young dawgs do when managing their wagging tails. She checked herself out in the mirrors of the armoire - Yes, I am very pretty! She warmed herself by the fire. She declined a glass of wine, she wasn't of age yet, she well knew.

Freya sniffed everything with glee. She considered joining the pups on the couch, it looked pretty comfortable. But oh, she had so many stories to tell the rest of the herd now. Only she of all the reindeer had been in the big people barn! She'd dine on this for weeks, getting a larger share of beet pulp until the other reindeer grew bored with her stories of what was in the log cabin people place. Maybe they should lobby for a couch of their own? Freya took it all in again, observing well and stepping out on the the wrap around porch, she surveyed her home from up high. It was dark, but maybe the herd could hear her hooves on the porch boards. Maybe. And then she gingerly walked down the outside stairs and headed home to the South paddock to tell of the wondrous things she'd seen.

Monday, June 15, 2009

White Dove Release

Vail Valley photo: Dove released |

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado — Jack Dunlevie, left, releases white doves in the Vail Valley to help open the Edwards Farmers' Market on Saturday at The Corner in Edwards. The market runs every Saturday through Sept. 19.
Kristin Anderson/Vail Daily

Posted using ShareThis

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Friday, June 5, 2009

Waxing Moon but Waning Phase

This evening I learned a website – no…The Web Site- that I've been a fan of for some nine years, and more if you count its conception on, has ended.

I mourn

Nine years and I've been absent the last few, and I regret those. I've met in real life so many of my invisible friends from there: had them as house guests; had lunch; attended the symphony together; been a brides’ maid & the yenta , too; acquired some of my dearest friends; gotten great business advice; and of course as it was a site about books! I found incredible reads, became friends with some authors and many readers. Discovered ideas to put before my eyes I would have never found. Oddly enough, my online nickname became a character in a book, and a tough bitch she was! 

I wondered what would get me back to blogging.  

I never imagined Readerville would go away. That's Speedy up there, the lion running, I have all kinds of schwag with that logo. I drink my morning cawfee in a mug with Speedy. And I still will. 

Readerville has been in my life for a decade as have been its people. In this time frame I can only say that assistance dogs & the death of my mother have had as great of an impact. Karen Templer's website might vanish, but the community she built is strong and we are together and that's what really counts in the end: Community. 

Community & reading & writing. Who cares about arithmetic? 

Yet, we can add it up. Readerville is, was, and is still a plus. 

Thank you Karen. 

Brava, Karen. Brava. 

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Billy Ray's Got Wood!

Billy Ray isn't the name we write on his checks, but it's been his nickname since his early Vail bar-tending years at The Club. It has something to do with that bit of wall art bearing the title "Billy Ray's Pool Hall" - you've seen it. Or maybe you'd had too much to drink to remember; that happens at The Club.

Billy Ray used to do our snowplowing, and he still provides our wood. He always brings a smile with him. I always have a beer for him & his crew.

King of the Mountain! Billy Ray & his gorgeous girl are moving over one valley this winter so he's trying to get all his wood out there so there will be no need to do deliveries in February. He also just bought a fancy lil' dump trailer than hauls two cords at a time. So dump he did, and then he stacked before I got a chance to take a picture of all that wonderful wood in a dog-tempting climb-me-now kind of pile. Maurepas, on the right, felt there was enough challenge remaining and fought off all contenders.

Ted Ted had to check out the stacking. I think he was really looking for another place to lift his leg.

We've definitely lost a lot of porch room on the wrap around, but Maurepas & his litter mate Manchac got right to the point: too much shade. All those stacks blocked some of their favorite sunning locations. Manchac & Maurepas

I heartily sympathize because the lounging spot in front of the glass-paned door is where one of my favorite chairs gets a great winter midday beam.

That will definitely be the first wood to burn.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Teeka, our baby Reindeer

Looking for a way out.Teeka has been very elusive since she was born this May.

Today was her first day to be separated from her mother for the late afternoon and evening. The calf & mother honk to each other, and Teeka ran about the pasture honking for Mom after the ladies had left for an evening display and round of reindeer rides at "A Grand Holiday" in Glenwood Springs CO.

Wanna play some reindeer games?Teeka calmed down after a bit and soon was up to her mischievous ways, sneaking out through the pasture gate to visit all the other Ranch creatures. She can't get back in the same method of egress, so she circles the pasture and ducks back in through a drainage, which oddly enough, she cannot escape through. So in & out she played, driving her dad, Magnus, nuts, because he was totally distraught that his bevy of beauties had all left him behind. And then there goes Teeka, off to start some reindeer games with the other animals!

To see how she has grown, here's Teeka when she was just a day old, un-named, nose to nose with young Ruby, about 7-8 weeks at the time. Check out that "Hello World!!!" kiss.

Holiday Trees

There's Ted!This will be the third holiday season at the Ranch and at last we have trees that sparkle with light and color. I have been shopping yard sales, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore & every deep clearance I've seen to stock up on options.

I did however forget to keep an eye out for grounded extension cords.

You can never ever have enough extension cords at a ranch.

As the storage shelves in the pump room overflowed with supplies, Kristin became infected the holiday spirit bug. We planned which trees, and lamenting our lack of solid color strings, we decided to do the tree trunks in a single color and the branches in white.

Kristin has been wrapping for weeks! What wonders she has created! Thank you!