view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: November 2012

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Friday, November 23, 2012


Today is the day.  The day after Thanksgiving.  One of my favorite days of the year.  Today is the day that we trek through the snow, up hill and down hill in search of the perfect Charlie Brown tree.  We've been doing this as long as I can remember.  My mom, dad, brother, sister, cousins and I bundled up in our warm clothes and spent half the day in search of the perfect tree.  Once found, we cut it down with small handsaws, then drug it back to the pickup.  Once there, we enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies before going back home.  Sure, we can get a much prettier tree in town in a tree lot, but it's not so much about the tree as it is about the tradition and family.

This afternoon we drove up to the head of McCall creek.  When we could drive no farther, we set out on foot, in search of the perfect tree.
Once we found the perfect tree we cut it down and then the boys packed it down to the pickup.
This is our tree cutting party.  I believe we cut down 6 trees for 6 different families.  What are some of your favorite family traditions?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope tomorrow finds you happy, healthy, and with the ones you love.  I hope your day is filled with good food and good conversation (and wine, lots of wine!).  I hope you have a lot to be thankful for as I do.

I am so thankful for my family, their support, unconditional love, and gentle reminding when I get ahead of myself.  I am thankful for our health.  We had a huge scare in August and we are thankful that TR is his busy, wild self!

Here's to safe travels, good friends, and good food!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The Cowboss and I saw a commercial on the TV the other day asking  you to send in $17.95 and the name of your significant other (and your name of course) and they will tell you if you are a love match or not. I thought REALLY?!!  Do people really send in their money on things like this?  In my personal opinion, if you have doubts or can't figure this out on your own, you obviously aren't a love match.

This did get me thinking, what is love?  How is it measured?  So I composed a little list to remind myself.  I'm big on lists these days.

1.  The Cowboss rides a horse I can ride too on the days we ship cattle and we take the boys with us.  He gets the cattle gathered, and then lets me ride his horse to bring cattle to the scale or to load trucks.  He doesn't have to share his horse with me because he can just as easily stay horseback and let me weigh the cattle or load the semi on foot.  He does because he knows that I enjoy being horseback and don't get to ride as often and I would like to right now with little boys, and I'm much easier to get along with if I've been on a horse recently!

2.  I was miserable the week the Cowboss was in Idaho helping his parents get weaned and pregged.  I had class and home school with TR and couldn't get away for that many days, so the boys and I stayed home to keep things going here, and help feed.  He is the first thing I thought of each morning and the last thing I thought about each night.  The boys and I were giddy, and in QT's words "I'm so essscited!" that day we waited for him to come home.

3.  I have more "pretty" rocks than I know what to do with.  Every time I turn around, one of my boys is running up to me, hand out, saying "Look mom!  Look!  I found another pretty rock just for you!  It is pretty just like you!"  Now, do I like to be told that I look like a rock?  No, not really, but I take it as it was intended.  My boys love me as much as I love them, and when they see something that makes them think of mom, they bring it to her.  I thank my lucky stars everyday for my two wonderful little boys that think I am wonderful, just like pretty rocks.

4.  We branded some fall calves at the BS Ranch a few weeks back.  My sister is going to have a baby in March.  She roped, and roped well, all things considered.  I know her husband was probably less than thrilled that she was horseback and in the middle of things, but he let her.  It reminded me of when I was 8 months pregnant with TR and roping calves at my parents branding.  The Cowboss was not happy with me, but he kept his mouth shut.  He understood that I wasn't going to do anything to get myself in a wreck, and that it was something that I needed to do for my own sanity.  Was I being selfish?  Maybe just a little, but he loves me anyway. 

5.  "Mom!  I think you're pretty!"  QT tells me this everyday.  "You know mom, you are prettier than you think you are," is one of TR's favorite phrases, and he tells me this everyday was well.  Do they tell me this when they think they are about to get in trouble?  Yes.  They also tell me this when I get ready to go to school too.  I must admit they are getting this flattery and manipulation thing figured out.  They are 2 of my biggest cheerleaders though, and make me feel like I can move mountains.  It is my job to build them up just as much as they are building me up, so that nobody can knock them down.  I hope that I am doing just as good of a job as they are.

6.  My sister makes fun of me.  I make fun of her, it's kind of our thing.  That said, she had a heyday when we were helping brand.  "Help me Help me!" she'd chant at me.  Heeling calves in a small corral, there were a few times I got one roped, dallied, then realized I had nowhere to go.  Each time, the Cowboss was right there to "rescue" me, by grabbing my rope and keeping it tight until I could get pointed in the right direction, so I wouldn't lose my calf.  Every time I was at the far end of the corral too.  He didn't have to do that for me, but I'd do the same for him.

Love is following someone to the ends of the earth, through hell and back, or just to the far end of the corral to help them keep the calf they have heeled until they get to the branding fire.  It is building someone up so high that they think they can do anything, and knowing they will do the same for you.  It is wanting someone to be happy that you will risk being unhappy yourself just to see them smile.  It is giving complements and praise because making someone happy makes you happy.  It really can't be measured, but it can be found in a jar of rocks, a kind word, or even on a cold, dreary day in a branding trap!  You don't even have to have $17.95 to find it either.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Roots and Wings

Our farm and ranch kids are tomorrow’s leaders.  They will know how to work and they will want to work.  This will be done by getting up before the sun, saddling a horse and riding with us to move cows.  It is by spending 8 hours on a tractor raking hay under a clear blue sky.  It is by mucking out stalls, and by taking a shift in the middle of the night to walk through a calving barn or lot.  It is by helping rebuilding a stretch of fence that has been torn down.  We take our boys with us everywhere.  We don’t ask them to do anything that will hurt them, or that we wouldn’t or haven’t done ourselves.  When they go to bed at night, they sleep, and they sleep well because they have had an active day.  In the morning when they wake up, they ask “What are we going to do today?”
I wish that people understood that our cattle have to eat first.  It doesn’t matter what the occasion is, we need to get wells started to pump water in the summer, or hay loaded and pitched in the winter, other activities can’t be done until this is done.  If we have a sick animal, we take care of them before taking care of ourselves; we take pride in knowing our animals are well cared for.  Farmers and ranchers miss special occasions if something on the ranch needs to be done first.  We don’t sleep in, we wait to enjoy dinners until our livestock are taken care of.  It isn’t an 8-5, Monday through Friday job.  We don’t take sick days or even vacations in some cases.  It is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The pay isn’t great in terms of money, but worth more than all of the silver and gold in the world for pride and satisfaction of a job well done.  Even though today might be the worst day ever, we are up again tomorrow morning before the sun rises, ready to do it all again. 
We want our boys to be passionate.  Passionate about doing a job and doing it well.  Passionate about life.  We want them to have respect.  Respect for themselves, each other, and life.  All life.  We want them to feel wonder at the miracle of birth and sorrow with death.  Any death, but understand that it is the cycle of life and just as animals are born they also die, like people, and plants.  As hard as that maybe, it is essential for the order of things and a part of life.  We want them to love life and live it to the fullest.  If they choose to follow in their parents foot steps, wonderful.  If not, that is okay too.  We hope that we are teaching them the skills they will need to succeed in any life they choose for themselves.  We want them to be confident, self assured, assertive, and just.  To stand up for themselves, and for others when they see injustice. 
I sincerely hope that when my boys are adults they look back on their childhoods and fondly remember the hours spent on a horse moving cows, pitching hay, calving cows, raking hay, and even fixing fence with their parents and know that we chose this lifestyle to raise them the best way we knew how.  Knowing that their parents loved them more than anything else and chose a lifestyle that included them.  That we didn't wait until they got home from school at night, or weekends to do cow work for the free labor, but because we wanted to spend time with them doing things we love and hope that they do too.

Monday, November 5, 2012


I buy books like some women buy shoes.

Those who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.  Some days I am hard to love (hard to believe huh?!!).

"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference," is my mantra.  I repeat this several times a day, often as I am beating my head against the wall.

I strive to be the person my dog thinks I am.

I am trying to remember "Don't feel bad if people only remember you when they need you," and to "feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness."

I believe "A successful relationship requires falling in love multiple times, but always with the same person."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

I Like....

Soggy calves that beller and buck when you neck them.

Tight horses on cold mornings.

Shooting guns.

Coffee with my Baileys.

Cake, unless there's pie.  I really like pie.

Down comforters and electric blankets on a cold fall morning.