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

Random Thought:

"The darkest nights produce the brightest stars"

Monday, December 31, 2012

My Wish for 2013

In the coming year:

May your horse never stumble,

Your cinch never break,

May your belly never grumble, and

Your heart never ache.

I hope everyone has a Happy New Year, with only happy things happening!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

5 Things a Cowboy Doesn't Want to Hear From His Youngest Son

5.  I would get a girl bazooka that shoots flowers.

4.  It's okay dad.  I will just stay home and make cookies with mom.

3.  I would wear a dress.

2.  I will play princesses with Paisley!

And the ABSOLUTE worst thing to hear your son say:
1.  I want pigs and sheep so we can be farmers!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Cinnamon Rolls

I don't bake often.  Not because I can't, but mostly I just don't like the clean up associated with baking.  You should measure everything, and you have to use things like mixers, rolling pins, and all sorts of cups and little plates so you don't get batter on your table, spatulas, the list goes on and on.  I did want to do something nice for a few of my neighbors and family, so I made these cinnamon rolls.  The recipe comes from Shorty Chambers, who was once married to my great uncle, and is printed in From the Mountain City Homemakers Club to Your Kitchen.  They are so easy to make, no special ingredients, and guess what?  Not a lot of dishes!
One Rise Cinnamon Rolls
1c. Heavy Whipping Cream (Do not substitute)!
1 c. Brown Sugar
Mix together in an ungreased 9x13" baking dish and set aside.  (I used 2 round cake pans, and gave everyone half recipes).
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Softened Butter
2 tsp.  Cinnamon
Mix all together and set aside.  (Oh yeah, and I didn't measure the Cinnamon, I guesstimated...Don't tell anyone!"
3-4 c. Flour
1 pkg. Yeast (or about 1tbsp.)
1/4c. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1 c. Hot Tap Water
2 tbsp. Soft Butter
1 Egg
This is where I cheat the most.  I use my bread machine to make the dough.  I dump everything into the pan, yeast and water first just to be sure that my yeast bubbles and is good.  I always add the flour last so that everything mixes good.
According to the recipe:
In a large bowl, mix 1 1/2 c. flour and remaining ingredients.  Beat 3 minutes at medium speed.  Stir in remaining flour.  Knead on floured surface for 1 minute. 
Roll out dough into about a 15x7" rectangle.
Spread with filling.

Start at long side and roll tightly; seal edges.
Cut into 16-20 rolls and place on cream mixture.

Cover and let rise until double.  My house is kind of drafty and cold, so I turn my oven on 400* (this way it preheats and makes a warm place).  I put the rolls on top of the oven and cover them with a damp towel.  Let them rise until they are double in size.  Bake at 400* for 20-25 minutes.  Cool 10-15 minutes before turning out on a tray.

Fresh from the oven!

I hope you enjoy!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

I miss.....

I miss being able to saddle up a horse and ride somewhere where I don't see another person for hours if I don't want to.

I miss the jingle of my old dog "Buck's" tags as he follows me through the brush in the early morning when I would ride my colt.

I miss the days when going to class required a roll out of bed into whatever clothes I felt like and a ball cap.

I miss late nights in Elko and early mornings back to home to help at the ranch.

I miss watching the sun rising as we left Stockman's.

I love waking up cuddled between a little boy and a rat terrier.

I love going to bed at a decent hour and waking up early, knowing what I will be doing that day.

I don't miss roommate drama.

I don't miss feeling lousy all day because I played to hard the night before.

Isn't it funny how our lives and priorities change?

I still miss saddling a young horse and riding somewhere, nowhere in particular and not seeing or hearing anyone else.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Spring Break on the 71

When I married the Cow Boss I started working for him.  I moved out of my nice house and into a 1970's era camp trailer.  The heat didn't work, we had to pack water to it.  It was hot in the summer and cold in the winter, and when you really needed your space, you couldn't have it because if you stood in the middle of it and spread your arms out, you could touch both walls.  I loved it!  We spent 9 months out of the year in that camper, and it was a lot nicer than the company housing we had when we moved to the valley.

We trailed the cows over 100 miles every year, from the 71 desert between Twin Falls, Idaho, and Merit Mountain near Mountain City, Nevada.  There was a camp guy that lived with the cows from December to March on the 71 desert.  In March we brought the cows across the Bruneau River and Canyon (hopefully before they started calving) to the JP Point where they calved.  We branded at Sheep Creek, near Grasmere, Idaho, and then moved them to Merit Mountain.  Part of them went to McDonald Creek (camp was the Original Bieroth Homestead), part went towards Allegheny Creek (where we camped), and the rest to Sage Hen Basin.  We had all of the cows on the forest around the 4th of July.  It is roughly 80 miles around the base of Merit Mountain connecting all 3 summer camps.  October found us trailing the cows to Cat Creek where we weaned the calves, shipped them to the feedlot, and pregged the cows.  We slowly grazed the bred cows back towards the Bruneau Canyon, and then across to the 71 in December.

I was lucky enough (depending on your perspective) to make the entire rotation with the cows the first year I was married.  The Cow Boss and I made some wonderful memories, I got to see a lot of new country, and I got an education on all things cowboy.  I learned a lot about myself.  I learned I was a lot tougher than I thought I was, how to really rope, and how to make a good horse.  My only regret is that I didn't take more pictures.

The first March after we were married, we loaded up our tee pee tent, all of our dogs, bedrolls, grub for a week, and 3 good horses a piece.  Final head count was 12 horses, 20+ dogs, 2 pickups and trailers, 3 cowboys, and 1 cowboy-girl.  Then we drove for what felt like forever over a very bumpy dirt road.  We finally got to Tom's camp (he wintered with the cows on the 71 Desert), with just enough light left to unload the horses and set up our tee pees.  Tom fed us dinner that night.

If you know cowboys, you know that they like to drink a little, and that first night was no exception.  Our host in particular over-indulged and made several faux pas.  For starters, he informed me that even if I was his boss's wife I really had no business being out there because that was man's work, and not to expect him to make things easier for me.  Then he proceeded to tell the Cow Boss that if he was a cowboy there would be no trailering out from camp, we would be trotting, and that he had a horse that could out trot any horse in the state.  The Cow Boss just let it all roll off his back, and I just ignored him.  I knew that I was just as capable as anyone else out there and had learned long ago that I didn't need to prove myself to anyone.  If the Cow Boss didn't think I could handle it, he would have left me home.

The next morning I asked the Cow Boss what horse he was going to ride and if we were going to trot from camp.  I learned the fall before to pick my horse for the day by what he was going to ride.  When to told me he would be riding "Snip"  I knew I had to ride "Amigo."  Snip was a piece of work.  You couldn't brand on him or sort cows.  The only thing he was really good at was taking off at a long trot and pounding rocks.  Amigo on the other hand is an exceptional cow horse.  You can brand calves on him all day, sort cows in an alley and never miss one, and he is also the only horse I've ever had that could match Snip stride for stride and go all day.  Not to mention, the most expressive eyes I've ever seen on a horse, and the most endearing personality.  He does have a few quirks.  1.  He loves to have his butt scratched, and if you didn't know him you would think he was backing up to kick you.  2.  He can be very playful.

When I would go to catch Amigo, we had a little game we played.  If you played the game he would be very easy to catch.   If you didn't play the game, he could be a challenge.  First I had to say "Hello Amigo" so he would know I was going to ride him.  Then he would make 2 laps just as fast as he could around the outer side of the corral.  After the second lap he would run right at you like the was going to paw you, stopping just inches from you.  Then he would get a sheepish look on his face, drop his head and let you tie the halter.  It was a big game, and we all knew how he was, and none of us thought anything of it.  That is except Tom.

So, here we have Hungover Tom whose head had to be pounding and couldn't hardly walk across the corral.  He saw Amigo running at me, and jumped in front of him.  Amigo just changed his course a little bit and came right at me.  Completely ignoring Tom, as we all did while he cussed my horse.  Saddled up, we took off at a long trot, and it didn't take long for Amigo and Snip to out pace Tom's horse.  We made our circles, and as we trotted back to camp later, Tom admitted Amigo was a good horse, and later that night apologised to me for his comments the night before.

That afternoon the wind came up and we ended up staking our tee pee down with steel t-posts to keep it from blowing away.  Even with our bedroll and duffel bags we were afraid it would blow away.  Then it started raining.  Before we knew it, there was 2 inches of water in the bottom of the tee pee and we had to find wooden pallets to put our bedroll and duffels on to keep them out of the water.  We had heavy, wet snow by the second morning we were there.

Long story short, I got cold.  Dang cold!  The only time I was ever warm that week was when we were trotting from camp.  I swore to myself I would never spend another week in a tee pee staked down with steel posts, sleeping on pallets to keep dry.  How long do you think that lasted for me?  =)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Things Learned on the Feed Ground

While I am not a full time stay at home mom, I am proud to say that my boys do not spend much time with outside child care.  Most days we take our boys with while working on the ranch.  The Cow Boss and I juggle our schedules so that one of us can be with the boys nearly all times.  I'm not going to say I never have a babysitter, there are times we can't take the boys to work with us.  If we have 2 or 3 big days coming up and my mom isn't busy we will send the boys to my parents ranch (100 miles away) for that time, and I have a handful of good friends I can lean on if needed.  We feel that it is our job to raise our kids.  Not their teachers, daycare, or other child care.

The boys and I have been on the feed crew for about 3 weeks now.  The novelty has kind of worn off.  Instead of excitement to get their coats and hats to go feed, they are now dragging their feet and asking why they have to, and "can't dad do it by himself?" 

I've been trying to explain the boys are hungry when they wake up in the morning and I always give them breakfast.  It's our job to make sure someone gives them breakfast too.  I do admit it is hard to have to feed hay when there is no snow on the ground.  We can see grass, and we know that cows eat grass.  It is pretty hard to explain to a 3 and 5 year old that even though they can see grass, why we need to be giving cows hay on top of it.
While feeding the other morning we were having our usual why are we feeding cows if there is grass on the ground conversation.  We were driving through a normally swampy are a with slew grass.  That coarse thick grass that grows really well in boggy areas that cows don't like to eat.  TR said "Look at all this grass.  These cows should be eating this grass and not hay."  I told him that it wasn't the kind of grass that cows like to eat.  He asked me "What kind of grass is it?"  I began to explain that is was "slew" grass.  "Well, why don't they eat it?"  Not knowing for sure I told him that it wasn't palatable, meaning it didn't taste good to the cows.  QT asked "If it is slew grass, why isn't it slewing?"  Kind of made me chuckle.  I should have asked him how grass slewed I guess!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

It's Not the Destination That Matters, Sometimes it's the Journey

Yesterday morning was a very long day here on the ranch.  The plan was to feed cows, gather cull cows, ship cull cows, and do home school.  It all happened, and in that order, but the method was rather entertaining.  If you were on the outside looking in.

Feeding cows was going pretty well until the Cow Boss (who is a cowboy and has sworn to me on more than one occasion that he would never, I repeat never use the hay wagon to move cows) decided it would be so much faster to just chum the cull cows into the lot with the hay wagon.  I grew up using the hay wagon to move cows on occasion, but most of the time we led our horses behind the hay wagon until it was time to move the cows, then used our horses to bring the cows that weren't interested in the hay wagon.  I raised an eyebrow at the Cow Boss, but kept my mouth closed.

Things were going pretty good, the cows came quite easily out of their field and were quite content to follow the hay wagon into the lot.  Then the Cow Boss started kicking hay off right in the gate.  So, the cows were all gathered in the gate I had to drive back out with the tractor.  By the time I got turned around and headed towards the gate, 2 rotten cows darted back through and headed back to where they came from.  I thought to myself, no big deal.  Just leave the gate open, drive through and feed the next bunch of cows and by the time we were finished, they would most likely be back to the hay pile and we could shut the gate behind them.  Apparently the Cow Boss had other ideas and thought he could get around the cows on foot, push them through the gate and all would be rosy.  Unfortunately the 2 cows didn't get that memo, and even tried running through the fence.  Then the Cow Boss was less than thrilled. 

He shut the gate and we headed into the next field to feed.  Then he thought we would try it again.  I took him past the 2 cows, then headed back to open the gate for him.  The 2 cows tried to crawl through the fence again and he gave up.  QT and I headed to the house to catch a couple of horses (good stout ones we could drag a cow through a gate if needed) while the Cow Boss and TR went to feed the rest of the cows.

Wrangling has been a bit of a challenge here lately.  About a month ago we had a windstorm that knocked down a couple of trees and consequently a section of our horse corral.  This happens at least once a year.  So the Cow Boss cut down a bunch of the trees and tore down the rest of the horse corral, except the round pen.  He finally finished welding the panels up, but we have no gates, so it doesn't do much good to try to use the corral.  I might mention that my biggest, stoutest, most favorite horse can be a little hard to catch.  I used to be able to catch him anywhere, but not anymore.  He won't even eat grain out of a bucket if he isn't in a barn.  So it took quite some time to get him caught and TR's horse caught too.

You don't even want to hear about the ordeal I went through to get the pick up hooked up to the horse trailer.  All I'm going to say is that a 4 door pick up with a short box flat bed is nearly impossible for a short girl to hook up on her own.  I can't even see the pickup bed to try to gauge where the ball should be.  I managed just as the Cow Boss and TR finished feeding.

Definitely the highlight of my day was riding with TR.  We got him chinked up and mounted and headed towards the cows.  He was just like a border collie puppy and I am still tickled just to death by him.  He said to me "Want to know our plan mom?"  Okay I said, let's hear it.  "We are going to trot our horses down there to those 2 naughty cows, cause that's what you do when you are on horses, you trot.  Then when we get there, I am going to chase one cow and you are going to chase the other cow until we get them to run through the gate."  I kind of chuckled a little, and told him that that was a pretty good idea, but we needed to bump the rest of the cows up towards the corral first so we wouldn't end up with the whole bunch in the lane and have to regather them too.  I hoped I could keep him slowed up so the cows went through the gate and not through the fence in with the wrong bunch of cows.  Fencing and sorting were not on my list of things to do that day.

Trying to push the cows away from the gate turned out to be quite a challenge.  TR was in front of them every chance he got, whooping and hollering and having a great time, pushing them back over the top of mom to the point that I gave up trying to push them away from the gate and decided to just open the gate and get the other 2 cows.  Luckily only most of them ran into the lane.

It took us 1/2 an hour to get all of the cows out of the lane and into the corral.  I was nearly in tears from biting my tongue and frustration that they wouldn't go through the gate.  Kind of hard I realize when there is a little boy on a big sorrel horse in front of them whooping and hollering.  When they were corralled TR came running up to me, still giddy with excitement and asked "Did I do good?  Are you proud of me?!!"  Yes, I was, and still am.

I learned a couple of things yesterday.

1.  Even if you know better, sometimes you have to let someone do something their own way.  It may make more work for you, but it might not be all bad.  You just may get to spend some one on one time with someone you love all the way to the moon and back and forever and day while cleaning up the messes.  It also helps to wait a few hours after things go wrong to point out the error of one's spouse's decisions!

2.  As hard as it may be at the time, it feels really good to share something you love with your children.  I have permanent teeth marks in my tongue from biting it so I wouldn't yell at TR when he was running through the middle of the bunch of cows or running them back over the top of me.  He can be such a little man at times I forget he is still just a baby and has so much to learn yet about riding and handling cows.  If I want him to keep riding with me I need to encourage him and teach by example.  It won't do either of us any good for me to loose my cool or make him feel bad.  As much as I want to push him, I know I need to hold back and be patient with him and let him come to enjoy riding with me on his own terms.

3.  It doesn't always matter how the job is done, as long as it gets done.  Sometimes the journey is a lot more important than the destination.

When we got off our horses I gave TR a big hug and told him how proud of him I was and how much I appreciated his help.  All in all it was a good day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tree Forts and Deer Stands

TR has been on a deer hunting kick.  Which is kind of surprising because he slept through my big deer hunt in October, and wasn't all that impressed with it at all.  He has decided that he needs to be able to kill a deer in case we run out of meat this winter.  The way he sees it, if we run out of meat and he can kill a deer, then we wont have to worry about having meat.  I didn't know that this was a concern in our household.

The tree stand has some split logs (from our firewood pile) nailed up the side of a tree as a makeshift ladder.  They aren't painted because it has to be secret so nobody can find them.  It also has some limbs off of the Christmas tree to help camouflage it.  The top of the deer stand is camouflage burlap.  The roof is tall enough that you can stand to throw your spear.

TR thinks that deer hunting in a tree stand requires provisions.  Things like snacks, flashlights, walkie talkies, and a stab.  A stab is a spear for those of you (like me) who aren't up on hunting terminology.

Once you have all of your supplies, you wait until dusk, climb into your tree stand, and wait for the deer to walk underneath.  When a deer finally arrives, you stand up and throw your stab at it, killing it.  After it is dead, you take your pirate sword (an old stick that is flat on one end, kind of looking like a pirate cutlass) and cut it up.

I don't know where TR has gotten all of his ideas on deer hunting.  I've never hunted out of a tree stand, and I don't think the Cow Boss has either.  We don't hunt at night, without tags, or out of season.  We are going to have to have a talk with him!  ;)


I am fairly certain that given a new pair of boots and a string of pearls, I could rule the world.

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I've ended up where I need to be ."  (Douglas Adams).

A tiger doesn't loose sleep over the opinion of sheep.

"I still find each day too short for all of the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see."  (John Burrounh).

You can't buy happiness, but you can buy cupcakes and that's kind of  the same thing.

"Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise."  (Victor Hugo ~ Les Miserables).

I love pretty things and clever words!