We are Tim and Laurie Bratten, of Guffey, CO. We retired in 2015, moved to Guffey, planned and built our home, and are living our dream. We had previously lived just east of the Rockies in Northern Colorado on a small, 4-acre ranch we called “Golden Gaits Ranch.” (“Gaits” is not misspelled. It was named for our gaited horses.)
Several years ago our passion became to live more simply. We began to let go of our former lifestyle and values. We learned to be more relaxed, to enjoy the simple things, and to live more frugally. Spiritually, we began to focus more on our Creator and His son, Jesus, who Father sent to show us what He is like and the way He wants us to live–the way things ought to be. We stopped listening to what men had to say about God and we go straight to His son. We sold and gave away some of the “stuff” we were wasting our money and time on. We began re-using things rather than buying new things. We limited the things we purchased and the way we spent our money, and began to volunteer to help others in various ways. We began to appreciate more than ever that “the best things in life are not things.”
We also began to think about living our lives more naturally, which included using fewer chemicals in the household and additives in our food. We realized we would benefit by growing some our own food organically. While it was pretty easy to find good organic food locally in the stores, there is just something right about growing it ourselves, and we had the space and resources to do it. In addition to the garden, we began raising ducks for eggs. There’s a satisfaction, a benefit to the soul, by growing our own food, eating it ourselves, preserving it for later, and sharing it with others. It’s just good to get the hands dirty, to be creative with choice and design, and enjoy cooking and consuming the harvest. We even began bartering a bit with some neighbors, trading plants and our harvest for their beef or eggs. For us, it’s part of the way things ought to be.
After vacationing with our horses in the Guffey area during the summer of 2014, we were soon the proud owners of 40 acres at just less than 9,000 feet. We began making plans to retire. We designed our new, round (14-sided) home ourselves, got the plans drawn up, and in the spring of 2015 we sold our former home and moved our “Golden Gaits Ranch” to the mountains. We lived in an RV for 10 months while building our home, which was completed enough to move in the first of March 2016. Now (2019) the house is pretty much done with only a few minor things left to complete inside.
The first couple of growing seasons we were too busy building and finishing the house to even think about starting a garden. We did purchase some new ducklings and created housing and a pen for them. Early 2017 we began planning our new high country garden. We created our raised beds as the spring weather allowed, and in June the planting began. We added a greenhouse in the fall of that same year.
We enjoyed the first three years here with our three horses, working on training and also riding them to various places in Pike National Forest, including a couple of trips to the top of Black Mountain. After Laurie’s riding incident and some broken bones late summer 2018, we realized that our age caught up with us, and that the risk involved with riding was too great. Our two younger horses were sold to some folks who can enjoy them for a few more years, and our oldest was put to rest due to some health issues. We loved our horses and miss them, but we know there may be greater things ahead that we couldn’t have done with them tying us down.
Our dog, Goldie (German Shepherd/Boxer mix), brings us lots of laughs & KK, the cat, keeps the mice at bay. Five ducks provide us with eggs.
In these pages are some of the things we have learned–and are still learning–through the process of planning & planting the garden and greenhouse, raising our ducks, enjoying our harvest, and just generally living at high altitude. Occasionally we’ll also add some insights we’re learning about living our lives with our Creator as our guide. We believe He made us to enjoy His world and to be stewards of all He’s given us, and we want to share that with you.