view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: 2010

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Winter Work

Wool socks and cowboy boots mashed in black
lace up overshoes complete with jingling
jangling spurs, frozen in monel stirrups, 
tied snugly so toes can't move.  Long handles,
jeans, and brand new brown armitas with fringe
frozen together in sections.  Wool coat, wild
rag, and scotch cap hiding ears from  frost
bite.  Green Handy Andy chore gloves, numb
fingers and toes guiding an unpredictable
grey horse in fresh white snow.  I ride along side
my dad.  Cows ready to start calving,
temperatures in negative digits, its cold! 
We gather the herd and hold rodeer.  Dad
sorts out those who are close enough, and we push
them to the dry warm barn for the night.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow!!!

For some odd reason Christmas carols are running through my mind this afternoon as I drink coffee, shop online, and watch the snow outside.  We've got a good foot of snow now I think, and I dread the thought of actually having to do something besides ride in the pick up in it.  It looks like more is on the way too!

I really do enjoy the winter.  I tell the cowboss it is because I can sit inside with my cup of coffee and watch the snow fall....I don't have to be out in the snow!  He doesn't always think I am funny.

I do have a lot of fond memories of the winter and snow though.  Many a cold morning I was out helping my dad feed cows growing up.  I didn't appreciate it then, but I learned a lot about life on those snowy weekends and holidays, the value of hard work and the reward of a job done.  I hated feeding cows.  It was cold, the hay made me itch all over and sneeze, and would have rather slept in on a Saturday morning.  It wasn't always work though, there were a few times we would take old innertubes and tie them behind the wagon and dad would pull us through the snow.

One time we had a cow calve a little early about 1 1/2 miles from the house on the river.  It was supposed to get kind of cold that night, so dad decided my brother, sister and I should go down horse back and bring up the cow and he would run down in his new (to him) tractor with the bucket.  He would load the calf in the bucket and take him home. 

One thing you have to understand about my dad is that he doesn't have any cranky cows on the ranch.  If one of us kids were to tell him differently he would say, she's just bluffing and toughen up.  We head down there to get  Cow Number 302 with the bob tail, and wait for dad get there with the tractor.  The plan is dad will get in the bucket, rope the calf, and drag him into the bucket, hop back on the tractor and haul him home.  Leaving the three of us to trail 302 back to the ranch.  Easy enough right?

Except no body stopped to explain things to 302, and she was a little on the fight.  She hit a horse a time or two while we were distracting her long enough for dad to get in the bucket.  I had my sisters horse so she could operate the controls on the tractor, and she didn't really know which lever did what.  My brother and I got the cow and calf hazed over to the tractor and dad got the calf caught, and 302 tried to climb in the bucket with him.  I'll never forget dad yelling "Lift me up!  Lift me up!" and my sister lowering him down to the ground!  Luckily she soon realized which lever was the right one and got him lifted up out of harms way.  We got 302 and her calf safely home and tucked in for the night without much excitement after that.  The thing that stands out the most in my mind though, was riding around the "blind turn" and seeing our house, lit up like a Thomas Kinkade picture, as the sun was nearly set and the snow began to fall.

This is a Thomas Kinkade print titled "Christmas Eve."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


We woke up to a skiff of snow yesterday morning.  TR got pretty excited when he saw it on the deck and thought I should get the snow shovel out and shovel it off the deck.  Can you imagine me in my pj's and flip flops shoveling snow?!!  Fortunately for me it had all burned off by the time I got dressed for the day.

The skiff of snow did put me in a baking mood though.  In August my friend Timmy gave me a couple of 8 ball zucchini.  Normally they are dark black in color and a little bigger than an 8 ball (hence the name).  These were 8 ball zucchini on steroids.  I think I got about 20 cups of shredded zucchini, and about 20 lbs.  Who wants to bake in a house without air conditioning in August?  Not me, so I froze it all in 4 cup increments, thinking that When I was ready to make zucchini bread I would just pull out a package and go.  Great in theory right?

My first problem was that the recipe I found only called for 2 cups of zucchini.  No biggie, I'll just double the recipe I thought.  So I started mixing the 4 cups zucchini, 6 eggs, 4 cups of  sugar, 2 cups of oil etc.  My mixer was full before I could even think about the dry ingredients.  That's alright  I'll just use my really really big bowl, and everything fit.  So I am sitting there looking at all of this batter thinking to myself what was I thinking?  I don't even have 4 bread pans, and I already have a loaf of cinnamon bread rising on the oven.  Stop the Presses!  Light bulb has come on!  I will make muffins!

So I drag out the muffin tins.  3 dozen mini muffins later in the nonstick pan, 1 dozen regular muffins in the Pam coated muffin tin, I remembered that I actually had those nifty paper cups that you put in the tins and you have less clean up etc.  Oops!  That's alright though, one pan is non stick and the other one I used Pam on, and just enough batter left for 1 loaf of bread.  I was even able to fit everything in the oven at the same time!

This would be a great time to mention that I hate my cook stove.  For one thing, it doesn't heat evenly, and it is about 25 degrees colder than what it says it is.  For two, it isn't level.  But guess what, I forgot all of that.  Within about 15 minutes it was smoking, and smelled like burnt sugar.  No big deal, it's probably just burning off something that boiled over previously.  (If you wondered, I don't bake often)! 

The timer went off and yep, sure enough everything was done.  Some more than others.  Some a lot more than others.  Some were black.  Only 4 were really black, and they were easily removed from evidence.  TR was excited, but I made him wait until they cooled off  so we wouldn't get burned.  Mini muffins would be perfect for him.  After 5 minutes I couldn't handle the "Mom.....Mom.....MOM!!!" anymore and went to get him a muffin.  Guess what.  That's right.  Those bad boys were not coming out of that tin for anything.  Non stick my foot!  We improvised and ate half a tin of mini muffins with a fork.  They weren't that great.

Mine didn't come out like this.  This is what I envisioned my zucchini bread looking like, but no such luck.

What I learned yesterday morning:

1.  Make sure you like a recipe before you use half a dozen eggs, 6 cups of flour and 4 cups of sugar doubling it.
2.  Wilton lies.  Just because they say their muffin tin is non stick doesn't mean it is. 
3.  If you have those nifty little paper liners, use them!  Then you might not even have to wash the tin when you are done.  (Mine is still soaking).
4.  Just because 3 muffin tins and 2 loaves of bread will fit in your oven should you try to bake all of them at the same time.  Next time we will try maybe 2 muffin tins at a time, or 2 loaves of bread at a time....If we ever try again!

Oh yeah, and if you have a really good zucchini bread recipe, I still have 16 cups/pounds in my freezer!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fall Works

Yesterday was going to be TR's first day of "real" cowboying, all by himself on his own horse!  The plan was to gather a field of cows and push them through a gate.  Unfortunately for TR his mom is a fair weather cowboy and when we looked out the window that morning and saw all the rain, mom chickened out!  We were hoping that maybe we could get it done today instead, but no such luck!  I think the weather is even worse today, gale force winds and rain coming at you sideways.  We did get his horse for him yesterday afternoon and let him ride around the yard for awhile.  We have an awesome horse for him to ride.  His name was "Oats," but for some reason TR thinks his horse is supposed to be named "Marley."  No idea where that came from, but every horse he comes across is named "Marley."  If there are 2 horses standing in the field, both are named "Marley."  If one is  black and the other is a palomino, they are "Black Marley" and "Yellow Marley."  At least he's getting his colors figured out!

"Oats/Marley" handles awesome for a little kid.  TR even had him spinning...nice and slow, but pretty nice.  The other great thing about him is you give TR the reins and the horse will follow you where ever you go.  TR thinks he's calling the shots, but really you are.

I think summer is finally over.  About time right?  This last week has definitely been silk scarf weather in the mornings, and from the sounds of things next week will be even cooler.  Bring on winter so we can get to branding season!

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Fall is one of my favorite times of the year (just like calving in the winter, branding in the spring, and doctoring all summer)!  The leaves are turning and fall works are in full swing, and I'm trying not to miss a thing!  We've been shipping out calves and yearlings, pregging heifers, and have brought the cows home.  We still have a lot to get done before it snows.  I don't think that will happen anytime soon though!

October has been beautiful!  I helped the cowboss ride a couple of days last week and just loved it.  Cool, crisp mornings and frisky horses make my day!  Animals are pretty healthy around here though, we haven't hardly roped a thing!

The cowboss got a new horse last week.  We named him "Tater" and the cowboss was quite impressed with him after he road him the first time.  He's a good looking horse, quick on his feet, and wants to watch a cow.  We even roped a yearling that day and he worked the rope awesome.  He rode him again on Friday, and I guess I missed one helluva bronc ride!  "Tater" might take a few more miles before I get on him!

This coming week we are shipping out several truckloads of bred heifers,weaning, and processing our calves.  No rest for the wicked, but looking forward to every minute of it!  Don't let your powder cake.  =)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Work

How do moms with full time 9-5 jobs do it?  I started teaching at GBC this fall, I'm only teaching 2 classes, 6 credits total, and I feel like I am about to go under!  Seriously, I teach for 75 minutes a day, 4 days a week.  I can't keep my house clean, I don't cook, unless I have to feed a cowboy crew.  I'm horrible about returning phone calls or emails, and I haven't been on top of the laundry in this house for what feels like a month!  Don't get me started on how far behind I am on my cinch orders!

Today I was supposed to help preg check the remainder of our breeder heifers.  And feed the crew lunch afterwards.  Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I didn't have a babysitter, and since we got home so late last night the Cowboss thought he could get by without my help outside, as long as I cooked a good lunch for everyone.  (You know, sure I will watch the boys for an hour or two so you can run to town and get groceries....I can only watch them for 2 hours and I need you to stop at the hardware store, feed store, and auto parts stores and get this this this and this.  What do you mean you didn't have time to get groceries to and have to go back tomorrow?)  So we got up at 5:30...these kids do not sleep in.  I made a baked cheese steak, pasta salad, cabbage salad, and brownies.  Got 2 loads of laundry done, and the table set just in time for Travis to call at 11 and say that there were 5 of them and they were on their way to the house for lunch.  A crew of 7 guys came in for lunch.  Got that all cleaned up just in time to run to the High School and pick  up the babysitter.  I dropped her and the boys off and was 5 minutes late for class.  Of course I didn't get my homework done in time, and felt so unprepared for class!  I feel like I just run and run and run and don't make any progress at all!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Classing Yearlings in Mountain City

Well, I have not been very diligent about my blog this summer, and it isn't for lack of content!  It seems like I just run and run, and can't seem to get everything done!  Now, fair is just around the corner!

A couple of days ago I went to Mountain City to help my mom and dad class some yearlings to ship to American Falls tomorrow.  I didn't tell the boys where I was going, just that I was going to go to work, and they would have to go to the babysitter.  TR sure thought he needed to go to work with me.  I was explaining to him how he didn't want to go to work with me, my boss is a slave driver!  I told him there would be no cartoons or pink chocolate milk, just work because mom's boss is a slave driver.  In true TR form, he looked up at me and said "But mom...You aren't a slave driver."  I think he has me all figured out!  I can't wait until both TR and QT are big enough to come and help horseback on these easy days.

Things have changed a lot on the home ranch since I left.  I was only there about 30 minutes before my brother and I had something roped and stretched out!  Growing up, we never roped anything outside if it needed to be doctored.  We trailed them home and ran them through the chute.  I think a lot of that was because my dad had 3 great cowboys, but they weren't much for roping outside of the branding trap, and heading and heeling a 650 calf is a lot different from heeling a 100 baby calf.  Then you throw the fact that my dad is left handed into the mix, and you have a potential wreck, when you are 12 years old and trying to rope with him!

We had to wait on the scale man, so we didn't get as early of a start as we wanted to get to work classing the yearlings.  Then we had a heck of a time getting them corralled.  We got them classed though, and the lights kicked back out and the heavies trailed home, so they should be set for tomorrow.  I had a great day and wish I lived closer and had a full time nanny so I could help them more often!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I hate spraying weeds!

If you want to see me loose my cool and be very cranky, just ask me to spray some weeds for you.  It ruins my day real quick!   If cowboys don't have to spray weeds, why do cowgirls?  I would much rather be horseback than spraying weeds!

For starters, it is July and it is hot!  Being on irrigated pasture, it is also muggy.  Don't get me started on the bugs.  Mosquitoes try their best to eat you alive.  Even with a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hat, bug spray doesn't even phase them.  Not to mention the bugs in your eyes and teeth, just driving down the road to get to where you need to spray.

Then there is equipment.  I have a great spray rig for the 4-Wheeler.  It holds 25 gallons, has an electric motor and long hose so if you cant get right on top of the weed, you can get off and walk 5 feet to it.  It is awesome for a rosebush here, white top there, spurge, or the occasional thistle.  Unfortunately, I don't have the occasional weed to spray, I have the occasional acre!  So I drive 6 feet, spray, backup, pull ahead 6 feet, spray, backup, pull ahead, you get the picture.  I get frustrated that I've been spraying for an hour in one place, and only have  an area the size of my house done.

Let's talk 4-Wheelers.  I love them, and would kiss the guy who invented them.  They are small, go fast, can go just about anywhere, and you can even ram a cow if needed and not really hurt them (the 4-Wheeler that is).  I am not sure what was ram repeatedly with our ranch 4-Wheeler.  The handlebars go one direction, the front tires a different direction.  Brakes?  No, we don't need no stinking brakes!  Actually I would prefer them.  Driving down the road the other day, I got to going a little too fast, missed my turn and had to coast into the neighbors drive way to turn around and go back to my turn.  A little embarrassing when the neighbor and one of his friends were right there watching me and asking if everything was okay.  (They might have heard me swear when I realized I was going to miss the turn)!  The transmission is shot.  I think that whoever ruined the brakes started throwing the 4-Wheeler in reverse to stop it.  Needless to say it doesn't always catch a gear when it needs to.

I think I mentioned we are on irrigated pastures.  That means there is water everywhere!  Oh yeah, and the grass?  Taller than the 4-Wheeler in some places.  Not that I am complaining, but unless you've been in the pasture horseback, it's kind of hard to find weeds if they are shorter than the grass.  Water = Mud.  Mud = Stuck.  You have to drive fast enough to not get bogged down in the mud.  Not much of an issue if you have brakes and need to stop to spray something, or come up on a ditch.  Ditches are kind of hard to find if you don't know where they are, and impossible to miss without brakes!

So, I have spent this morning being eaten alive by mosquitoes, water up to my knees, my hands are dyed blue from HiLite, and I'm stiff and sore from hitting ditches going too fast!  Is it too early for a glass of wine?!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

     Okay, so I am a week late!  I'm just so excited about the horse colt I bought for myself!  It just so happened that we picked him up on my birthday, so he was kind of a birthday present.  Now, I'm not the kind of girl that gets myself a gift for my birthday.  I might tell my husband what he is getting me for my birthday (more on that later!), but I never buy something for myself and say it is for my birthday.  Since we've cleared that up, lets talk more about my new horse!  He is a yearling, and is going to be huge!  I may need a step stool to climb on him here in about a year when we start him, but he will be big enough to doctor yearlings on and drag calves to the fire.  2 very important things in my line of work.  His daddy is KayCee Image A Glo (Imager for short), and his momma is a double bred Sugar Doc Dan mare.  Those of you who know me well, know that my pride and joy is a fat sorrel horse known as "Cricket"  his daddy was Sugar Doc Dan.  So with my new baby, I have the best of both worlds.  Sugar Doc Dan who's babies like women and kids, watch a cow, and love to rope, and Imager who is beautiful and throws really kind, gentle babies.  I expect grand things from this little guy!  So far he is living up to my expectations.  We were able to halter and lead him into the trailer the day we picked him up (that was a first for him!), and what little ground work I've been doing with him, he picks up quick!  Don't worry, you will all be hearing a lot about my new horse!

     Everybody ready for the 4th of July?  We are going on a picnic/drive with the Bieroth Family.  This has turned into quite the event.  It started out as a drive with my parents and a couple of cousins several years ago to somewhere close, just to see some new country and enjoy each other's company.  This year it is going to be probably 5 or 6 vehicles and several Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins!  The big excitement this year is that The Cowboss is picking the tour.  When he worked for Simplot, he learned a lot of the history of the homesteads between Southern Idaho and Northern Nevada, and the cool part, is that a lot of them were homesteaded by our family, so we are going to have a great time learning a little about our ancestors!  I hope everyone has the chance to enjoy their families this weekend like we will!

I know I should just let The Cowboss do his own shopping for me, if he feels like it for my birthday, Christmas, etc.  Let's face it.  Left up to him, I wind up with a pat on the back, or something I never really wanted and then feel obligated to use/wear it.  I know it is the thought that counts and all that good stuff, but if he is going to spend money on something, it might as well be something I want, and really, he is much happier if I just tell him what to get me.  This year is no different!  A little birdie told me she had a lead on some puppies.  Rat Terrier puppies to be exact.  Those who know me and know me well, know I have been wanting a Rat Terrier puppy for years and years and years!  I've come really close a couple of times with a couple of Border Rats (my own special breed of Rat Terrier and Border Collie, great cow dogs, and very good with kids), but never my own full blown Rat Terrier.  Fingers crossed it will work out this time!

My blog wouldn't be complete without a TR story, so here is your TR story of the day!  This morning before QT woke up, TR and I were checking my email and playing on Facebook.  We got to looking at some "Ike's" (pictures of some Rat Terrier puppies), and our cousin Tyler.  Tyler is a couple of months younger than Trent, but they are good friends.  Tyler was laying on the floor with the puppies and just really cute.  TR and I were talking about which puppies we liked the best and he pointed to Tyler.  "I want this one" he told me.  I said Tyler?  "Yes!  I do like Tyler.  I want a puppy like Tyler."  So if you have a cute little boy like Tyler and he comes up missing, don't worry, Trent just kidnapped him!  =)

Monday, June 21, 2010


My darling first born will be 3 on the 30th.  Poor little guy, he is so excited about his birthday, that is all we have been talking about for the last month!  The bad part is that every one's birthday comes before his.  The Cowboss's birthday is the 18th of May, little QT's birthday is the 10th of June, and even my birthday, the 26th of June comes before his!  So we talk about birthdays everyday and eat imaginary birthday cake and wear our imaginary birthday hats.  I have no idea where this came from, but he is pretty sure that we all have to wear special hats for his birthday.  So that is my mission this afternoon.  QT and I are headed to town to do some birthday shopping for TR, and top of the list is finding birthday hats.  I hope he wont be disappointed!

It is finally warming up here.  It is a beautiful day so far with a gentle breeze.  We are almost done branding, so if it can wait just a week or so before getting hot, that would be perfect!

I hope everyone had a great Fathers day, I know we did!

Monday, June 14, 2010

June 15th

Hello Bloggers!  Wow!  Where has the time gone!  I can't believe it is already the middle of June!  Alas, I am still without internet, but hopefully will be up and running by Friday.  Fingers crossed anyway!

The latest excitement our way is that my Baby Q turned one on Thursday.  It is so hard to believe that he is already that old.  Time flies I guess!

The boys and I came to Mtn. City today to see grandma and grandpa, because as Trent puts it "I do like gramma and pop pop!"  I hope everyone's June is going smoothly and I will be up and running again in  a few days!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Is it already Thursday?

Time flys when you are having fun!  Or busy as it seems in my case!  I have no idea where this week has gone.  It feels like just yesterday that I was listing my plans for the coming week on here, and now the week is almost over.  I wish I could say it has all been fun, but it has been a lot of work!

Monday we doctored yearlings.  They were sicker than I thought they would be for just being processed a few days earlier.  When we are doctoring, we look for hoof rot and bad eyes.  Being on irrigated pastures with a superb irrigator, we get a lot of hoof rot with our yearlings, and quite a few bad eyes.  Coming out of california, they have a lot of seed heads in their eyes and that causes some problems.  I rode Curly because I didn't think there would be much doctoring.  Then we ended up doctoring about 8 animals.  We heeled 2 yearlings for Travis, but he wasn't very cooperative and I didn't wan to get in a wreck, so we just hazed for Travis so he could get them necked.  It was kind of discouraging because Curly runs to cattle awesome, and tracks great.  It is just the minute that you take your rope down he turns into a spaz and kind of freaks out.  Long story short, not much good on  a yearling opperation.  It doesn't help though that most of the yearlings out weigh him by the end of July either.

Tuesday we had a bit of a break, it was Travis's birthday, and I spent most of the day cooking for Wednesday's Processing.  We had enchiladas, spanish rice, cornbread, and chocolate cake.  I didn't have any ground beef, so had to substitute shredded beef instead.  I got a wild hair to follow a recipe, and decided they just weren't as good as my usual enchiladas.  Of course the crew didn't complain!

My big news for the week is that I sold Curly yesterday.  I've been in contact with a couple from Arizona who do mounted shooting, and the husband came yesterday morning to see Curly.  I've never been around mounted shooting, so wasn't really sure how that would go with Curly, but loud noises don't seem to bother him.  I was talking to the guy and he told me they have an area that is roughly 100 yards by 150 yards, and they set up 10 balloons on cones, 5 on each side.  You enter the arena, and run up one side shooting the balloons, and down the other side shooting balloons.  The level that he and his wife compete at average times are 9.6 seconds.  That is booking it, and right up Curly's alley.  They seem like really nice people who take good care of their horses, so am happy he will be going to a good home.  Despite Curly's many quirks, I do like him!  Now I am in the process of finding another horse to replace him.

Travis is branding at Red House today.  I am disappointed I didn't get to go to, but looking outside right now, it might not be a very fun day to brand calves!  It is windy and pretty overcast at my house.

Hope all is going well in your corner of the world!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What a week!

Good Sunday Morning!

Wow, talk about a week!  I feel like I haven't seen my kids since Tuesday!  Right now Trent is helping out his dad and Quin is taking a much needed nap, so I have a few minutes to recap what all happened this week in the life of a ranch wife!

Monday we received about 1 million yearlings.  Tuesday it rained and snowed...a lot!  Our neighbor down the road said we got over 2" of moisture that day.  Wednesday we processed (we weighed, tag, vaccinated, and picked breeder heifers out of the yearlings), then sorted and reweighed the heifers.  I also made my fabulous beans and sour dough biscuits (which were a hit) for the crew for lunch.  Thursday we moved all the yearlings across the road to make room for the next bunch we were to receive that night.  Friday we processed (weighed, tag, vaccinated, and picked breeder heifers out of the yearlings) what felt like another million heifers.  I made a stew which wasn't as popular as the beans, but what do you do? 

Yesterday the boys and I went to Battle Mountain.  Samme had a big sale at her fabric store, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to buy more fabric and visit with Marva.  We got to the store and Trent said "Mom!  Look!  Girls!"  Rita Fowler met me there with my cinches that didn't sell at Californio's and had her little girls with her.  I said that's right Trent cute girls!  He said "Yes!  Cute girls!"  Then played with them for about an hour while I shopped.  Christy Stanton gathered up Quin and I proceeded to spend way more money than I should have!  I had a good visit with Marva too.

Trent just kind of makes himself at home where ever he his.  He headed straight for the toys and had great fun.  He also kept an eye on mom.  If mom got lost he let out his whistle which sounds like more of a war cry and mom went and found him.  If you haven't heard him whistle you really need to.  He yells "Woooo Whoop!"  It is very handy for calling Ollie into the house, or finding moms in fabric stores when they get lost.

We are gearing up for another busy week this week.  We receive more yearlings tonight, and and will be processing them, branding, and moving around yearlings this week, not to mention cooking for the crew! 

Take care, have a good week, and don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hauling Cows

By Jennifer Whiteley

I remember hauling cows to Twin Falls

when I was a little girl. Dad would back

the old red stock truck up to the wooden loading

chute and load old, dry, Angus cows and crippled

bulls into the truck while mom finished getting

my sister and I ready to go. The truck

had no seatbelts, air conditioning, or radio

yet I rode with dad. Mom and sister

followed in the Grand Marque. The roar

of the engine in my ears, the weather

was hot and my bare legs stuck to the tan vinyl

seats as I sang Amarillo by Morning,

Air Supply, or Debra Allen with the tape

player mom got dad for his birthday.

Sometimes there were cows on the road

between Owyhee and Bruneau, sometimes there

weren’t. We stopped in Hammett for gas,

a Snickers, and Pepsi. Then I slept

with my head on his lap until the acrid smell

of sugar beets and dairies and the rumble

of the truck crossing railroad tracks announced

our arrival at the Twin Falls sale yards.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Best Laid Plans!

We woke up this morning with a couple of inches of snow, and more coming, but sideways this time!  The boss took one look out the window and decided to try for tomorrow instead.  There is only a 30% chance of storm instead of the 70% chance today!  So we will try again tomorrow.  While I am glad I don't have to be outside in this, I'm somewhat disappointed because I had a babysitter all day today, and only have one part of the day tomorrow!

Had I mentioned I had all my food ready to feed the crew today at noon?  Yeah, everything was cooked except for my biscuits which I was getting ready when I was told the new plan.  Fortunately it will keep for tomorrow or the next day if it has too!

I'm extremely selfish, and if we are going to be working outside, branding, processing, or anything like that, I get a babysitter so I can go, and if I can't get a babysitter, my kids go with me.  If you show up at a branding this spring and see a playpen set up next to the pick up, you can be safe in assuming I am there!  The same applies to cooking for the crew.  If I am feeding the crew, I have everything cooked the night before so I can be horseback as well.  So we do a lot of crock pot and dutch oven cooking at my house.

As requested by Linda, here is my menu and recipes for tomorrow, or the next day, whenever weather cooperates! 

Beans are super simple, and I don't think there is anyway you can screw up a pot of beans!  I like kidney beans.  I think they stay a little firmer when cooking, especially when they are left cooking overnight and most of the next day.  You really should soak them over night, and drain off the water they soaked in before cooking.  If you are in a bind, you can just put them in water and skip the soaking step.  One of my favorite seasonings to use is red pepper.  It doesn't take much and adds a kick!


1 lb bag of beans
1 onion, diced
1 lg can of stewed tomatoes
1-2 lbs browned ground beef
1-2 lbs chorizo, sliced
Garlic Salt, to taste
Black Pepper, to taste
Red Pepper, to taste
Brown Sugar, go light, unless you like your beans sweet!

I throw everything into a crock pot the night before and cook on high over night.  The next morning I test the beans for doneness.  If they are still kind of hard, I continue to cook on high until lunch.  I also adjust the seasoning.  If beans are cooked, I turn to crock pot to low, or if it will be a late late lunch I keep them on warm, so they are ready to eat when we get in for lunch.  Sometimes I clean out the refrigerator and add bell peppers, left over roasts, beef, pork, or chicken, and other veggies that need something done with.

Sourdough Biscuits
This is going to be an experiment.  Sourdough biscuits just aren't as good as when they first come out of the oven!  So I am going to have my sponge set (I think that is the right term!), and then make the biscuits the morning of, then come home a little early to put them in the oven, to come out as everyone is seated for lunch.

If you've used sourdough, you know that you get your start going the night before.  I added 2 cups of flour and 2 cups of hot water, and let set over night.  The next morning you take out about 1 cup of the start and save it for next time. 
To the rest of the start, add:
1 tsp Baking Soda
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Sugar
Flour to make dough
Roll out on floured surface, using biscuit cutter, or cup cut into biscuits.  Melt 1/2 c. butter in 9x13" pan.  Roll biscuits in butter and let rise at least 1/2 hour.  Bake at 350-400 until golden brown.  Serve with butter and strawberry freezer jam!

Kitchen Sink Cookies
I wanted a simple dessert, and decided to make chocolate chip cookies, as a bar cookie.  Unfortunately I didn't have a full bag of chocolate chips, or a full bag of peanut butter chips, or a full bag of....Well, you get the picture.  So I followed the recipe on the chocolate chip bag, and instead of 1 bag of chocolate chips, I used 1/2 bag of chocolate chips, 1/2 bag of peanut butter chips, and 1/2 bad of heath toffee chips, and baked them in a jelly roll pan as a bar.

I don't cook anything too fancy, and lucky for me my crew isn't too picky.  On days like today they are just happy as long as it's warm!

Stay warm and don't work too hard!

Monday, May 10, 2010


My biggest kid (Travis) and I rode through the pairs this morning.  It was a perfect spring morning, slightly overcast and cool.  Just right for trotting out first thing in the morning.  Our circles are quite a bit smaller these days.  When we were first married, we trotted out 20 miles in the morning, just to get to the cows, then rode through them and came home.  Now our BLM seedings are about the size of our wrangle pasture we had at Sheep Creek.  My brother Casey will tell you I am exaggerating, but ask Travis!  Calves looked great, all fat and happy.  We got back to the trailer just before the storm hit!

It has been a long day and about to get longer!  After unsaddling and a quick lunch I headed to the sitter's to pick up my littlest kids and headed for town.  We went to 3 different stores before I found any flowers for my grandma and aunt.  Quin pulled the blooms off of one and Trent sat on the other.  Was I ever happy when the both fell asleep on the ride home!

We are supposed to get 100 truckloads of yearlings tonight (okay Casey, that was an exaggeration!), and it's supposed to rain and snow all day tomorrow.  So, not only am I on the processing crew, but also lunch detail.  I best get going, have to get my sourdough start going, beans cooking in the crock pot, and come up with some kind of dessert, so goes the life of a ranch wife!  =)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

I had grand visions of sleeping in until 7 this morning.  But both boys slept all night, which means we were awake a 5:30!  First thing this morning Trent wanted a yellow apple.  Travis thought the yellow apple was a lemon and gave him a red apple.  The little monkey is too smart for his own good some days, and the fight was on.  For Travis's sake, the yellow apple is still a lemon, and with a little peanut butter the red apple was tolerable.  Little Quin just watched with a disgusted look on his face.  I'm sure if he could talk he would say "Really Trent?  An apple is an apple.  Just eat and be glad you aren't stuck eatting this over ripe banana, can I get an egg?  Please!"

We had a bit of a scare last night.  Trent got bucked off his barstool in our kitchen while eatting dinner.  Gave him a nasty knot on his head.  Sobbing he tells me "Mom!  Make me filbedder."  Just about broke my heart.  So I asked him what would make him feel better?  "Stitters!  Stitters make me filbedder."  So we went on a hunt for stickers and found a few.  About 30 minutes later he comes running up "Mom!  Its workin!  Stitters make me filbedder!"  Oh to be nearly 3 again huh?!

We had a sitter lined up so that Travis and I could go watch the UFC fights at the Scoreboard with some friends.  Trent seemed to be back to his old self, so I told the sitter what had happened earlier, and if he started acting funny to give me a call.  We were about 30 minutes into the fights when Travis's cell began to ring.  It was the sitter calling to say Trent was throwing up.  So we came home.  We got about 1 1/2 hours without the kids.  I'm really glad that the sitter did call us though.  Trent is fine and back to his normal self.  He likes pretty girls and our sitter is pretty cute.  I think he got busy showing off for her and after tanking up on "chocomilk" and apple juice, the 50 million laps around the house didn't mix well!

Gearing up for a busy week.  We start recieving yearlings tomorrow, with several truckloads on Thursday too.  Now the real work begins!

No exciting Mother's Day plans here.  Just hanging out with my boys today...hopefully the weather will hold and I can send them outside for awhile!  I hope everyone has a great day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Branding Calves

We had a great day yesterday. We got the boys up early, and while I fed them breakfast and packed the diaper bag, my husband Travis wrangled and saddled our horses. We had to be on the road by 7 a.m. to brand calves at Hunter.

It has been a hard adjustment for me to change roles from cowboy to mother of two. Where I was used to catching and saddling my own horse and just taking care of myself, I find I am always forgetting something I should pack for my boys. Normally all I would need to go branding would be my horse saddled, rope, bridle, and camera. Now we need the play pen, backpack carrier, diaper bag and essentials, kids, snacks, toys, extra clothes, the list goes on and on! We needed an extended cab pick up to carry it all! We managed to get it all loaded and out the door before Travis had the horses loaded, so we were doing good!

We made it to Hunter just as they were getting the cattle corraled, so we set up the play pen, put one kid in the back of the pick up with backpack full of toys, and the other in the play pen, where they were both safe and out of the way. Both Travis and I went in to rope. We are very fortunate to have a job and empoyers who are very family oriented. It isn't uncomon to look up and see Travis's boss, or one of the other cowboys packing around one of our babies and playing with them.

Trent, my oldest rode the last calf branded. Dad kept up with him for about 4 jumps before he pulled Trent off. Everybody cheered for him and told him what a great ride he made. When he made it back to mom he said "Goot ride cow-boy! Right mom?"