Author: Wayne Dorband

Pallets Have So Many Uses!

We believe that there are so many ways we can be more ecolonomic in our life.  Here is just one more small example – reusing pallets!  What can you do with pallets?  Well there are so many things.  You can use them for gate panels, you can use them for pasture upkeep dragging them behind a four wheeler, you can build small housing from them, and you can use them for livestock housing. 

A livestock pallet barn in a temporary pasture at Mountain Sky Ranch

We have been using moveable pallet barns here at Mountain Sky Ranch for over six months with much success.  They provide protection from wind, rain and snow.  They are easy to move around, and they provide excellent sun protection in the heat of the summer. 

Our structures are about 9′ x 8′ and about 8′ tall in the front and 6′ in the back.  They are made from recycled pallets that we can obtain for between $5 and $8 each.  Only the steel roof of this structure is new material.  The total hard costs (excluding labor) for these barns is less than $150, a one person can construct one with a circular saw and a hammer in less than 4 hours.  If you value the labor time at say $20/hour then the cost of these very effective barns is less than $250!  I know you would pay almost $1000 for a commercial three sided barn.

You are also doing a great carbon balance act by recycling material that would often be going to landfills.  They are actually even better for animal care than hard sided barns because they “breathe” by allowing some air to flow through them, while still keeping out moisture for the most part.

Mountain Sky Ranch has many other examples of this sustainable use mentality.  We would love to have you come and visit us to see how you could make use of these types of technologies on your own property.  You can be lowering your carbon footprint and bettering the planet.  Come to our special Celebrate Sustainability Event on October 23, 2010 and see these pallet barns and many other cool agricultural practices.

Celebrate Sustainability

Mountain Sky Ranch to Host the Second Annual Celebrate Ecolonomics Event Near Carter Lake on October 23, 2010

Loveland, CO, September 11, 2010.The Institute of Ecolonomics (IOE) and Mountain Sky Group (MSG)  announce the Second Annual Celebrate Sustainability Event to be held again on Saturday, October 23, 2010, at Mountain Sky Ranch, near Carter Lake.  This one day free event will feature discussions, displays, activities and entertainment related to sustainable living and agriculture.

Mountain Sky Ranch which is a commercial sustainable agriculture ranch as well as an agritourism, demonstration, education and research campus will host the Celebrate Sustainability  Event for the second time, on October 23, 2010.   Dr. Dorband, President of IOE states, ” our inaugural Celebrate Sustainability Event last fall was so much fun that we knew we wanted to do it again.  We met so many environmentally conscious people who did not know what we did and we want to continue to show the community how to be more earth friendly.”

Celebrate Sustainability is a family oriented event running from noon to 7:00 PM which is free and open to the public.  Throughout the day there will be discussions, demonstrations and activities showcasing:

  • small acreage farming for anyone;
  • sustainable livestock;
  • aquaponics for home food production, and;
  • tips for sustainable living.

Deb Dorband, Mountain Sky Ranch owner says, “Come for an hour or spend the day.”There are ponds, a stream, timbered mountain trails, and restful meadows to just relax in.  Bring the kids for fishing and other kid friendly activities.  You will learn a lot and have fun also.”

The Institute of Ecolonomics, LLC,  ( is an international non-profit that promotes the synergy of ecology and economy.  Based in Loveland, IOE works as a business development facilitator and incubator for entrepreneurs building businesses that will improve the planet.  IOE has rural acreage, a large greenhouse complex and a converted warehouse where partner companies work on a variety of projects involving alternative energy, innovative technologies and socially conscious initiatives.

Mountain Sky Group, LLC, ( is a group of environmentally conscious companies that work in a variety of sustainable business area, including sustainable agriculture.  Mountain Sky Ranch ( a subsidiary of MSG that commercially practices sustainable agriculture raising a genetic/show herd of alpacas and Pygoran goats, along with many other ventures that are earth friendly.  MSG partners with IOE in the area of sustainable agriculture at Mountain Sky Ranch.

The Second Annual Celebrate Sustainability Event is a way for IOE  and MSG to show the public in Northern Colorado what the two groups are doing to promote sustainable living.  Call the IOE and MSG offices at 303-495-3705, email at, or go to the web sites above to get more information and directions.  Mountain Sky Ranch is located south of the campground at the south end of Carter Lake, west of Berthoud.

Contact Info:

Dr. Wayne Dorband


The Institute of Ecoonomics, LLC

Phone: 303-495-4705


Web Sites:, and and

Bad Things Happen to Dumb People – Me!

Ok, there is a story here, and it does take a little explanation.  As we have said before, we have free range chickens here at the Ranch.  They roam the pastures during the day and stay in a nice chicken tractor at night.  For the first 8 or 9 months that we had them we kept them pretty much confined to a 4’x8′ enclosed (by chicken wire) area in front of the enclosed portion of the chicken tractor (see the chicken tractor below)

Mountain Sky Ranch Large chicken tractor

We moved the tractor daily, and it was an incredible source of fertilizer for our pasture.   Starting this summer we opened the gate to the outside area and allowed the chickens to roam in a temporarily fenced (Premier Electric fencing – great company) area.  At night we would put them back inside the inside space and close the doors.  As the summer went on we started letting the chickens roam more and more independently without the temporary fencing.  The fertilized more pasture, and killed more insects.  All good!  Then one night we forgot to close them into the tractors enclosure in the evening.  Well in the morning we were missing 5 chickens.

That was about a month ago.  Last night it was raining all evening and as we got engaged in other activities and the evening wore on, we forgot to go close the doors on the tractor again (dumb us!) and guess what today 6 more dead chickens.

So what do we learn from this Dumb action.  Well, I hope it will teach us that you cannot cheat nature! We know that the other time we forgot to close the tractor we had a predator issue (by the way we do not know what the predator was, but suspect a fox), so we should have known the same thing would happen the second time.

And, you know what, this little lesson for us has much bigger implications.  We make very similar Dumb decisions about much bigger environmental issues daily (not properly handling quality control standards – BP?) thinking we can get away with our Dumbness just this one time.  But we cannot.  We know the right decisions to make, and our Dumbness is not an excuse for making wrong decisions.

Well back to work here at the Ranch.  Until next time – I know you will not be Dumb like us – right!!

1 2 3 4