Friday, April 24, 2009

Culling Cows

I have been in the process of picking the cows that need to be culled. To cull means to get rid of them, to sell them for slaughter. I know them individually, I keep the records, I brush their dentures, so I am the natural choice to pull the trigger. But I am not built for this job. This hard job. But I am doing it. Seven cows have already taken a trip down the road, but more will need to go.

This year our area has had a lot less rain. We might even call it a drought. And these conditions mean we have to make some hard decisions. It just doesn't make sense to keep the cows that take more feed, more care. To be profitable means that we need to sell them while they still have some worth.

I have gone to sleep at night seeing their faces in my mind's eye. How crazy. They are just cows, and yet they are cows in my care and that makes them my responsibility. I don't take it lightly.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


On Monday, we had good friends come over for a day of riding and relaxing and some not so productive fishing. I didn't take any photos, I forgot my camera. I really wish I had pictures of their girls riding Charlie around the yard without holding on. Yippee!

Then Anna and her friend Shelsey came out for a couple days. They stayed up later than us 'old fogeys' and I lay in bed at night listening to their giggles and whispers and my own teenage days came back in a rush. Those years seem to last forever when you are young, but looking back they were really quite brief. I had lots of friends, and yet I always had/have the feeling of being on the outside somehow. Sometimes, I think perhaps deep down we all feel this way. I dunno. Let me know I am not a freak, will ya?This was Shelsey's first visit to the ranch and I enjoyed seeing her joy in riding the quads and seeing the falls and riding a horse. Shelsey is a horse lover and she didn't let the high winds, low temps and minor snow flurries stop her from riding. Again, I forgot my camera for the ride! Oh, I can't forget to mention that these two spent three hours of their vacation cleaning the cabin. Thanks again for your hard work. I am not sure if it was this week or last, but our friend and farrier came out again with some of his friends and got a turkey and a wild pig. His smile says it all. Here is a new friendship in the making. Eric's horse Shy-Anne and Mark's mare are almost inseparable.
This little steer has a friendly bird along for the ride. 'Ole Charlie horse has a friend too. It is kind of cute how Frank follows Charlie everywhere. At first Charlie gave him the stink eye and wrinkled his nose at the awful smell, but you know how it is with things that smell.... you eventually just get used to them! I have a posy pressing buddy and a homesick friend or two who would love seeing all the new 'friends' popping up around the ranch. A joyful mix of diversity.Each day I awaken expectantly to see what new smiling face I might spy. While this group looks like they are laughing they of are kind of quiet, not much real giggling going on.Very different from the men who came out for the weekend. If you live in the neighborhood, we apologize for all the noise. They had various shooting contests going on and one young man did shoot his first wild pig! Willie Bob is fast becoming one of my favorite horsey friends. I need to look back and actually see what month Eric got him, but I think it will soon be a year. He has gotten fat and happy. Anna calls him George Lopez because of his humongous head. I don't even know who that is, all I know is that this horse has turned into a lover! He will see a friendly face and slowly amble over, lower his head, look you in the eye and then cuddle. I swear, he cuddles with that big old head. All the girls love him, even if he is clumsy and steers like a yacht. When I think of friends, I see many faces through out the years. I am sure you do too. Some friends are only in your life for a season, but leave behind some tangible mark upon your soul. So, perhaps I am not on the outside looking in after all, but instead a piece of my friends are all stored in my heart.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A New Redhead at the Ranch

Mark was visiting a neighbor and this mare kept following him around.... and around.... and around. It was quite cute how taken she was with him. Apparently, he was taken with her as well since when the neighbor offered her to him, he accepted. He didn't check her teeth, or her credentials, or halter her, or anything. I told him it was very strange way to choose a horse, but he said it was a successful way when he picked a wife! She has no name. Neighbor called her the Lone Pine Mare, so she is in need of a name. She is a registered quarter horse with a name that includes Lucky and San Badger and something else, but Mark hasn't gotten the official document yet, so this is all second hand. Mark says the name Molly keeps coming to mind, but he would love to hear your suggestions.

Oh yea, she is expecting a foal no later than mid June. So think on some baby names too! She was bred to a paint, so it might have spots!
Here she is with the new love of her life.
We will keep you posted on how she turns out. We have been warned that she has one vice. Breaking halters by pulling back. Yikes. I don't like that one. But Eric the Bold is coming home soon and he says he can fix her after she foals. For now, we are warmly welcoming her and keeping her untied! I might add that she does lead well, especially when she is headed to the tall grass in the backyard that needs to be cut!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Jesus is our Rock

Today in our churc we sang a song that moved us and captured some of what our faith is all about. We wanted to share it with all of you. Click here for a You Tube link. We hope you had a Joyous Easter.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Breaking News from the Ranch

As mentioned in the previous post, we have had our older two children visiting this past week. In this photo you can see Sarah and her sweetheart Donnie coming in from an evening ride. Sarah and Donnie have been best friends and going steady since their senior year of high school, which was quite a long time ago. They both finished college and last summer Donnie graduated from the Las Vegas Police Academy. So we have all been wondering and waiting....
when he would ask the big question and yesterday was the day. Her response -YES! OK ladies, isn't that a gorgeous ring? Doesn't he have good taste? It is just as beautiful from the side.
He tells us that he tried numerous times during the week to take her on a picnic to pop the question, but due to weather and other interests she had, it did not take place until their last day here. Donnie was very upset in the morning when he saw the overcast skies , but Sarah said a picnic sounded good anyway. Smart move. So they bundled up, packed up and headed to the top of the ranch with its panoramic views. Sarah said he kept fiddling with his hunting coat, (where the ring was secretly tucked away) when she asked why, he made some comment about duck calls. From the top of the ranch!? She finds that a bit strange. Then he asks if she is comfortable and if she could see and if he was blocking the wind. She begins to get suspicious. We're pretty sharp in this family. Then she says that he gets kind of mushy and then she really knows what is up when he goes down on bended knee with the whole world laid out at her feet. Ahhhh. Romance. This is a photo she snapped with her phone right after the big moment.
Later I learn that Mark was asked for his permission as soon as they arrived last Saturday. Mark never told me. I am always the last to know! So yesterday, while they were being all romantic- with their food and the incredible view and him on bended knee- I am out gathering cattle. I know how much Donnie likes doing that kind of work so I wanted to make sure and have a few caught, but Mark kept suggesting that we do it another day. I couldn't understand why, so like a typical woman, I ignored him and did it anyway. Later the happy couple arrives all smiles and we have a champagne toast ( I didn't even know we had champagne in the house!) and then we branded, banded and tagged a handful of cattle. Perfect end to a perfect day.

Here they are: Donnie, Sarah and Bella

Congratulations! May God richly bless your union.

We couldn't be happier and look forward to your fall wedding.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Boiled to Dye

Our two oldest and their significant others are visiting. One of the couples will be leaving the ranch before the real holiday, so we decided to do a practice run last Sunday.

This is our friend Seth. He found the SPECIAL egg and got a SPECIAL prize. Way to go Seth!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Day in the Life of Mrs. Rancher

Early in the morning, remember though, we are gentlemen ranchers so this means 9 AM, I head off riding my trusty Kubota loaded with lots of tasty alfalfa hay to the top of the ranch, searching all the while for some cattle to round up.... rahide!! I stop for a moment to enjoy the view, the deer eating, and have a cup of joe from my battered flask. If I smoked I would have had a Marlboro. Then I head down the slope honking my horn and bellowing for the bovines. This is my version of 'get along little doggies'. Ha, Ha! Here they come. That black cow is Sweets. But don't let her name fool you, she is an ornery cuss. Ha, Ha!Of course, I stop along the way to photograph some purple posies. Even a wild wrangler like myself has a soft side! Ha, Ha!
Eventually, I bring the first bunch to our holding pen and they go in easily, never suspecting that it is a trap. I continue this routine most of the day. It is a hard job, but someone has to do it. Ha, Ha!The next mornnig Mr. Rancher and I head over to the pen to tag, brand, vaccinate, band and inspect all of our cows teeth. Well, the ones that have any, anyway. As soon as they are done with their physicals we give them hay. Without Eric the Bold, neither of us had the time or a spare hand to take any pictures of their treatment. But nobody died. Ha, Ha!Some of them enjoyed their spa treatment so much we had to escort them out when their group was done. Ha, Ha.

"There is nothing better for a man (or a woman) than to eat and drink, and to know that his labor is good." -Ecclesiastes 2:24