view sourceprint? 01 Ramblings from a Ranch Wife: 2011

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Favorites

I thought I would start off with a recape of favorite pictures from this last year. 

May:  Here we have QT.

This is one of my favorite branding shots from June.

July:  Lamoille traffic jam.

August:  TR's first day cowboying with the Cow Boss.

September:  Moving cows down the road.

October:  Don't kiss me GiGi!

November:  Taking lessons

December:  Cowboy tools.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

P365 November Highlights

December is nearly half finished, and I'm still trying to figure out where November went.  Here are my favorite pictures from November!

I took this picture of TR at the Cow Boss' folks place in Idaho.  It was a dreary overcast day, and TR was our bright spot of color in his new yellow vest.  "Mom!  It's yellow just like bananas, and I do love bananas!"  There was no talking him out of it!

QT is our little cosmonaut in his Elmer Fudd hat.  I just like the expression on his face!

I look at this picture and wonder who this long legged little boy is.  If I didn't recognise the red scotch cap, I would argue that it wasn't TR.  I find myself wondering what has happened to my babies and who these boys are a lot these days.  I like this picture because even though TR looks so tall, he still isn't tall enough to see over the gate!

It is tradition in my family to get a Christmas tree by the weekend after Thanksgiving.  We go up behind my family's ranch and cut down our own.  It includes lots of hiking looking for the perfect tree, then going back to the very first tree you saw to cut down, then coffee and cookies before heading back to my mom's house for lunch.  I love this picture so much, it is my Christmas card picture this year.  Some days you just picture the picture you want in your mind, and then it happens.  QT and I were waiting at the bottom of the mountain for TR and the Cow Boss.  When we saw them coming down the road with our tree, I knew that was my picture, and if I didn't take any other pictures that day, I had to take this one.

I wasn't at the right angle with this picture.  I wanted to get the Cow Boss and the horse he was working with in the picture as well so that you could see what the boys were watching.  If you look close you can see the horse, but no Cow Boss.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Bucket List

This is my entry in the Just Ask Bucket List Getaway Giveaway. Just Ask offers a breast and ovarian cancer screening and is encouraging people to share 15 things that I want to enjoy in my lifetime as a reminder to be aware of my health. Want to enter? Head over to to get the details.

1.  Take TR and QT to Disney World in Orlando Florida.  My sister and I got to go when I was about 4 years old.  I don't remember much of the trip, just that it was magical!

2.  Take TR and QT to the ocean so maybe they can see a real shark!  TR is fascinated with sharks (and dinosaurs, but where would I take him to see a live dinosaur?).  Every large body of water we come to he thinks is an ocean and it has sharks.  It would be awesome to be able to show him a real ocean and sharks.

3.  Show a horse at the Elko County Fair, and do well.  Meet Max.  He just turned 2 this July.  Max is short for Maximus because he is huge.  I hope to show him at the fair.

4.  Win the Women's Branding Contest at the Elko County Fair.

5.  Win the Coed Branding Contest at the Elko County Fair with the Cowboss.  I love roping with the Cowboss.  I've never won a buckle in anything.  I think that winning a buckle roping with him would be the best thing in the whole wide world!  =)

6.  Own my own home/ranch.  Because who wouldn't?

7.  Visit Ireland.  I've always wanted to go.

8.  Visit Australia.

9.  Be a grandma, but not for at least 20 years!  My boys are 2 and 4, if they have kids before I am 40, something will be seriously wrong!

10.  Raise my boys to be happy, healthy, adults.

11.  Never miss an opportunity to tell someone I love them.

12.  Successfully bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch without if falling out of the pan.  Lets face it, this is a pretty lofty goal, and I may not be able to do it until I am a grandma!  I haven't even attempted it yet.  I remember being young and my mom banishing us from the kitchen, and house if the weather permitted while baking an Angel Food Cake.  Something tells me that with my little boys in the house, my cake would fall for sure.  My mom makes the best Angel Food cakes.

13.  Write a book.  Whether it is a cookbook or photography book, I'm not picky, I just want to be published someday!

14.  Run in a marathon.  Maybe not a marathon, but a race of some sort.  I don't even have to win, just to say that I did it.  My motto has always been "Why run if nobody's chasing you!"  I'm hoping to change that in 2012.

15.  Go to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby, and not sit in the cheap seats!  I first Visited Churchill Downs when I was a Sophomore in High School, and have been back a few times since, just never to actually watch the Derby. 

What's on your bucket list?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

P365 October

What a busy week!  I feel so far behind today I may never catch up!  We've spent the last 5 days with the in laws in Idaho weaning, picking replacement heifers, and pregging our cows.  Our herd tripled last spring when, in a momentary lapse of judgement the Cowboss and I decided to take out a loan and buy some bred cows.  Our motto:  Buy high, sell low!  Well, we wont be selling low this year, we should be able to double our loan payment this fall, and hopefully cover ourselves just in case the market suddenly drops in the next year or two!  Who else but a cowboy and his wife would use their vacation time to brave chilly temperatures and do more cow work?!!

Here are my favorite P365 pictures from the month of October.  This first one I took of the Cowboss roping at my brother and sister's place in Northern Nevada.  My sister and her husband bought this cute little guy this fall.  For just a baby, he is really willing, and what he doesn't have in knowledge, he makes up with heart.  Kind of strange seeing these white calves, in a primarily black Angus area!

I like this picture because to me to speaks fall in northern Nevada.  It is dry, dusty, and in some places drab.  There is still a little green grass, but everything has taken on that brownish color that tells me snow is not too far away.

This week is S-Curve week.  You can see the road curving in an S away from TR and QT.  It gives the viewer a place to start at, and makes you wonder what is just beyond the edge of the picture, where the road is going to take them.

It also shows fall in the Rubies.

Here is our "Fudd Filly" aka "Sadie."  It is kind of an uncommon angle for a picture of a horse.  What I like the best is that it shows her kind eye.  You don't have to see all of her to know she is a horse.  I also really like the almost sepia feel of the picture.

We have some pretty high expectations for "Sadie"  she is a potential kids horse for TR and QT.  Her breeding should make her an awesome cow horse, something they can drag calves to the fire on, and sort cattle.  As a three year old, her kindness and willingness to do what is asked of her make us think she will be perfect for the boys before too long!

I think this cabin is called The Fish Creek Cabin.  We stopped here for lunch while Elk hunting a week ago.  I love the chinking between the ties, and felt that it just begged to be photographed.

Hindsight being 20/20, I wish I would have been there at a different time of the day, or asked the Cowboss to stand up so that he wasn't partially in the shadow.  I wish it wasn't so far away, it would be a great place for some family pictures.

Lastly, last week was Circle Week.  Our challenge was to find something circular in shape to photograph for the week.  While cutting wood I stumbled across this old barbed wire (literally!).  Keeping with the fall feel, it worked perfectly as a picture.

Nothing spectacular, but these are my favorites for the month!

Friday, October 28, 2011

My Two Bits

We've spent a good part of this past week replacing fence.  We cut down rose bushes and willows, reset t posts, and tightened wires.  It is a never ending job, but I really enjoy it.  There is something rewarding in a job done, and done well.  Yes, we may get 10 feet of snow this winter and lay all the fence we've repaired and replaced this summer back down, but today after we the last clip was placed on a t post, the fence is perfect.

I don't live a few blocks from a day care, my mom doesn't live across the road from me, nor does my mother in law even live in the same state as us.  My kids do spend more time with a babysitter than I like to admit, but whenever possible, they come to work with us.  That is why we have the job we do.  We like to take our kids to work with us.  The Cowboss could be working at one of the mines, and I could be teaching full time, making significantly more money than we are now, but we wouldn't be able to take our kids to work, we wouldn't know our neighbors or our coworkers like we do either.

The Cowboss and I made the decision to work in production agriculture, not because that was all we are "qualified to do," but because we want to raise our kids the way we were raised.  We want TR and QT to know how to work and how to work hard.  We want them to know how to start a job and how to finish it, but more importantly, to do the job right the first time.  Both the Cowboss and I grew up working on ranches for our parents, then around 12-13 years old we began working for our neighbors too. What we learned from our parents, neighbors, extended families, and the animals we took care of taught us a lot about who we are, and who we want to be.  Now, the government wants to take that all away from us, and our kids.

There is a new bill proposal whose proposed regulations would make it illegal to allow a child under the age of 16 to do all of the following:
1.Herd animals on horseback;
2.Sort animals on horseback;
3.Operate any equipment;
4.Operate any vehicle, tractor, feed truck, ATV;
5.Operate any tool that is not powered by hand;
6. Or to even take care of sick animals:
7. And the list goes on.

What does our government have against teaching children the value of family, responsibility and a strong work ethic?  These new regulations do not just apply to “paid” children, but also makes it “illegal” for children under the age of 16 to do any of these activities if they are done as “work” without pay. 

Maybe we should quit our job cowboying, get town jobs, and buy our kids a Wii and let them start playing video games all day, because apparently our government thinks that is the best thing for them.  Let me ask you this though, when is the last time you heard of a ranch kid robbing a bank, being involved in a gang shooting, or committing some other heinous act?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Favorite Pictures From September

The Elko County Fair is my favorite time of year.  It's always been the last big hoorah before going back to school.  It also means that haying is done, and being a rancher, we have a little bit of down time before shipping calves and beginning our fall works.  Fair time is fun time, until it isn't fun anymore, and I think this little girl had her limit!

Here the Cowboss and his help our moving some heifers down the road.  Everyone is relaxed and going along.  you would never imagine just minutes before these same heifers had crashed a gate and mixed with some others!

I love how curious yearlings are.  We needed to weigh these girls, and I was kneeling just outside the corral, waiting for the cowboys to get everything through the gate.  I have the feeling that if I would have waited just a little bit longer before taking this picture, I could have got a nose on my camera lens.  TR thinks it is great fun to lay down in the pasture and wait until these heifers are right next to him trying to figure out what he is, then jump up!

Why  is she hiding behind the tire you ask?  Because that is where all good cow dogs wait while processing cattle through a chute, especially if that is where their masters sweatshirt happens to be laying!  GiGi is a "Border Rat," and while she may not know why she is chasing cows, she does chase cows, but more importantly she is loyal!

This is my favorite bit.  I love the Santa Barbara cheek pieces, and my horse likes the mouth piece.  It isnt' anything spectacular, but I like it!  These are the first pair of rawhide reins the Cowboss braided.  He thinks they are hideous, but they are mine and I will use them if I want to!

A group of my friends and I have a project we have been working on since May.  We call is P365, and our goal is to take 1 picture everyday of the year.  We have weekly assignments to keep us inspired and give each other lots of feed back on the pictures we are taking.  These are some of my favorites from September.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Paula Dean

BBQ Shrimp
Creamed Potatoes
Steamed Veggies
French Bread

This is my dinner menu from Saturday night.  I recently purchased Paula Dean's Southern Cooking Bible at WalMart.  I hate WalMart, but that's a story for another day!

I really enjoyed reading the cookbook, she has a lot of great recipes, if you like cream and butter!  I don't think there are any recipes in the entire cookbook that don't include butter!  I thought I would share a couple of the recipes.

This is the BBQ Shrimp, right after I added more butter!

BBQ Shrimp Ingredients:
1/2 c. butter
2 tsp Creole seasoning
Pinch of Cayenne pepper (I left this out, TR doesn't eat anything spicy, so the cowboss and I doctored ours to our liking after cooking).
12 jumbo shrimp, with heads and tails  (I bought a bag of shrimp, frozen because I live in a land locked state with a lousy selection of fresh seafood, they were the larger side, 25/30 per pound I believe.  No heads, but they still had shells and tails).  Apparently they have a better flavor if cooked in the shell.
1/2 c. lager-style beer  (I'm not much of a lager drinker, so we used Mug Root Beer instead.  It was the closest thing I had)!
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme  (Next time I will leave the thyme out.  Not a big fan, I think it tastes like dirt.  If you like it use it)!
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

 1.  In a large skillet, melt 1/4 c. of butter over medium-high head.  Sprinkle Creole seasoning and cayenne pepper over the shrimp.  At the shrimp to the pan and cook for about 1 minute per side.
2.  Stir in the beer, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, and thyme.  Let the sauce bubble vigorously for 30 seconds.  Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook until the shrimp are pink and opaque, about 2 minutes.  Stir in the remaining 1/2 c. of butter and garnish with parsley.  Serve bubbling hot!

Creamed Potatoes Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs medium creamer potatoes, unpeeled, halved (I have no idea what creamer potatoes are.  I looked in the produce section, but none were called creamer potatoes.  I used baby red potatoes because I like them the best)!
1 tbls. butter
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped (I used a sweet onion because that's what I like).
1 tbls. all-purpose flour
1 cup whole milk
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbls. finely chopped fresh chives

1.  In a large pot, cover the potatoes with cold salted water.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the potatoes are almost tender, 15-20 minutes; drain well.
2.  In a medium pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until almost soft, about 5 minutes.  Sprinkle with the flour and stir for 1 minute.  Slowly whisk in the milk, salt, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the potatoes and cook until they are tender, about 5 minutes.  Serve sprinkled with the chives to give it some pretty color.

My method:
First thing I did was get my shrimp out of the freezer and place in a bowl of cold water to defrost.  Shrimp are tricky little guys, and apparently the best way to defrost is in your fridge over night.  I never think to do things a head of time, probably because I didn't decide I was going to make the BBQ Shrimp until about an hour before dinner.  You don't want to defrost them in the microwave!!!  (Note the three exclamation points?  That means it is super important)!

Second thing I did was scrub and cut up my potatoes.  I just halved most of them, but quartered some of the bigger ones, then put them in a pot of salted water and started them cooking.  While they were cooking, I gathered everything I would need to prepare dinner.  I also kept checking on the potatoes, because I didn't want to over cook them, I just wanted them to start to tender.

When the potatoes were cooked enough, I drained and covered them with a lid.  Following the recipe, when I put the onions in the butter, I got out a skillet and melted the butter for the shrimp.  After I added the milk to the onion and flour, I added the shrimp to the butter in my skillet, then I just followed both recipes simultaneously. 

About 5 minutes before everything was done, I stuck the bag of frozen veggies (Have I mentioned our growing season here is about 2 weeks long?  Not a lot of fresh vegetables here!) in the microwave and cooked per bag instructions.  When everything was finished, I sliced the french bread and served!

These 2 recipes are kind of tricky to have done at the same time, and you don't want to cook one and then the other because the shrimp will be over cooked, or the potatoes will be gummy!


Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Really Good Cake Recipe!

(This isn't my cake.  I was too lazy to take a picture, but thanks to the joys of the internet, I was able to find one!)

I love to cook, I just hate to do the cleanup afterwards! Here is an awesome, easy, delicious cake that has little clean up! Plus, it is made from things that you probably have in your pantry.  I also love simple recipes that are easy to follow!  This recipe comes from the Jackson Mountain Homemaker's Partyline Cookbook.

Pineapple Cream Cake
2c. flour
2c. sugar
2 eggs
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1 can crushed pineapple, juice and all

Mix all ingredients by had. Bake in a greased 9" by 13" pan at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool.

8 oz. softened cream cheese
1/2c. softened butter
1 1/3c. powder sugar
1tsp vanilla

Beat icing ingredients together until creamy and ice cake. Top with chopped walnuts if desired.

The gal who gave me the recipe has been proposed to over this cake several times....It's that good!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


One of my wicked indulgences are blogs.  Most mornings (children permitting!), I like to spend a few minutes reading what other people are doing.  I particularly like food blogs, and craft blogs.  The other morning I came across this recipe for Strawberry and Chocolate Nachos on Our Best Bites.  The name alone had me!

Here is what you need:
Flour tortillas
Chocolate Chips
Whipped Cream

First, you need to preheat your oven to 350*.  I always overlook this step, then have to sit and twiddle my thumbs for 10 minutes waiting to put something in the oven while it heats.

Next, spread melted butter on your tortilla.  I melted it in the microwave and used a pastry brush.

Then, you sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  I keep a shaker on the counter with cinnamon and sugar already mixed together because TR and QT love Cinnamon toast!

After sprinkling the cinnamon and sugar, take a pizza cutter and cut into wedges.  I cut mine into eighths because I thought they looked pretty.  Imagine though, for valentines day you could cut them into hearts with a heart cookie cutter!  Wouldn't they be fun as cactus?  I'm just going to toss that one out there.

I think I did 4 tortillas, and I probably should have made more.  Put all of the tortillas onto a cookie sheet.  I think it is best to do them in a single layer, so think about multiple cookie sheets, or in batches.  I didn't, and some of the chips weren't as crisp as I would have liked them.  Be sure you place them sugar side up!

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until crisp.  The edges will start to turn up.  I made the accident of leaving mine on the stove to cool after coming out of the oven.  15 minutes later my boys (and I'm not naming names here, Cow Boss included), had half of the chips ate.  See why I should have made more than 4 tortillas?!!

I diced the strawberries and added some fresh mint from my garden to make it look like salsa.  I also added some sugar to sweeten it a little.

This is 30 minutes after being in the fridge.  I like to let the sugar dissolve and let the mint and strawberry flavors mesh. 

These are all the chips I had left. 

Sprinkle strawberries over the chips.

Melt about chocolate chips in the microwave.  I used milk chocolate chips because that is what I like.  I also added about 1 teaspoon of Crisco to the melted chips to help them drizzle better.  Drizzle the chocolate over the strawberries and chips.

Finally, add some whipped cream and enjoy!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Winston Churchill said:  "There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."  I think that counts for kids too.

He also so said: "No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle."  Which is good, because we spend a lot of time there!

When I bestride him, I soar, I am a hawk: he trots the air; the earth sings when he touches it; the basest horn of his hoof is more musical than the pipe of Hermes. ~William Shakespeare, Henry V

"As he was drifting to sleep his thoughts were of horses and of the open country and of horses. Horses still wild on the mesa who'd never seen a man afoot and who knew nothing of him or his life yet in whose souls he would come to reside forever."  ~Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses.

God forbid that I should go to any Heaven in which there are no horses. ~R.B. Cunninghame Graham, letter to Theodore Roosevelt, 1917