view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: May 2010

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

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?"