Happy LATE Thanksgiving

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Tis the season of giving thanks and sharing blessings. I have so very much to be thankful for, and in fact count my blessings daily and give thanks.  However, I think I need to give some extra thanks during this season of CHRISTmas.  So here goes.

First and foremost, I am thankful for my faith.  GOD has blessed me abundantly, and continues to bless me abundantly.  I am so thankful for HIS infinite wisdom, guidance, blessings, and timing… even though I am often very impatient.  :)  HE reminds me quite frequently that things happen on HIS timeline.  Seeing all that is going on in this world makes me so sad.  There is a definite lack of GOD in our world.  I try to daily keep all those suffering in my prayers.  I need to add all those who are committing atrocious crimes to my prayers.  They sure need GOD.

IMG_7228As you would expect (yes, I’m predictable), I’m extremely thankful for my amazing family, in-laws, and out-laws.  ;)  Our Thanksgiving was spent with my side of the family, and our CHRISTmas will be spent at home with Pine’s side of the family.  I absolutely can’t wait.  Our Thanksgiving was glorious, filled with love, laughter, lots of kids, and even a new baby great-nephew to love on.  How can anyone NOT be thankful to GOD when there is a new baby to snuggle.

Blessing #3 is being ‘Just’ a ranch wife.  Kate Moving CowsI love this life that I live.  I love WHERE I live.  I love what we do.  And most of all, I love that the Wild Child is growing up here, and that all our older kids (even though only one is still here full time) are “ranch kids.”  The life lessons learned growing up in agriculture are amazing.  The work ethics learned from a life in agriculture are unmatched.  I am eternally thankful that my broken road led me to this place.

Value of a Moment

My washer and dryer make my blessing list.  I can’t imagine living back in the day of wash boards, freeze drying clothes, lye soap…  I was so thankful when I unloaded the suitcases from our trip to Cass’ state VB tournament and unloaded suitcases after our Thanksgiving trip and started loads of laundry.  Oh yes— and the fact that we have so many clothes to choose from (probably too many actually) is another blessing.  We are surrounded by abundance.

I’m blessed for all the prayer warriors in my world.  I have two friends who are battling breast cancer, one of which is getting ready to undergo surgery as I type this, and other friends battling other forms of cancer.  There are so many suffering from many diseases and heartbreak.  The prayer warriors work overtime and for that I’m eternally grateful.

More blessings are our businesses.  We were so abundantly blessed this year with moisture, hay, amazing cattle prices, and thus far a fairly mild (albeit extremely cold some days) winter.  It is amazing that we can make a living doing what we love.  My home-based business is thriving, too.  Our cups runneth over.

My blessings go on and on and on.  I hope you are equally as blessed.

Until next time… JARW

Miss Procrastination

WorkWork 1Time has gotten away from me once again, which doesn’t surprise those who know me.  To the rest of you, the closet door is open and I’m introducing another of my many skeletons.  You’ll learn to love her given enough time, or learn to tolerate her anyway.  She is lovingly (or grudgingly) known as Miss Procrastination.  Every day I think “I need to get a JARW post done.”  And that dang Miss Procrastination ‘saves’ me from getting it done day after day.  Today, however, she is locked in the closet and I’m getting this post done no matter how hard she knocks on the door or how loud she hollers.

My last few weeks have at least been productive.  We have preconditioned calves, shipped calves, pregnancy tested cows, hauled cows closer to home, attended local church soup suppers and local pancake suppers, cheered at volleyball games and football games, watched our daughter be crowned the high school homecoming queen, hauled hay, watched hay burn up… the weeks have been busy.  I’ll save you reading time and instead give you a pictorial glimpse of our last few weeks.

UPDATE:  Here it is SEVERAL days later and I have yet to get this done.  Today is the day!!

Entertaining herself while waiting to push up the next bunch of calves.

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Granny cussing me because I had caught her on camera.  :)IMG_6475

Fred and the Wild Child pushing up calves.IMG_6479

Pine and his brother, Matt, discussing the merits of a heifer calf.IMG_6480

It was a LONG day and eventually little ranch kids need a break.

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Heifer calvesIMG_6487

Granny & Papa checking out calf weights while shipping.
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Heifer calves coming off of the truck.
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Trent & the WC waiting for another load to show up. IMG_6500

Our volleyball girls supporting “Pink Out” and the fight against breast cancer.  They wore pink socks and pink hair bands all month long.IMG_6580

Bobbing for apples at the local “Trunk-or-Treat”IMG_6690

Eli’s and the WC’s masterpieces.IMG_6697

The Queen and her wicked sisters.

IMG_6429Until next time… JARW

Ultrasound

IMG_6150The snap of a latex glove causes some to shiver.  Imagine an entire latex gloved arm!  Yep!  It is that time of year again; time for ultrasounding and pregnancy checking.  We ultrasounded the bred yearling heifers a few weeks ago.  It was a cool, damp day, but we loved every minute of it.  The heifers looked great, and the pregnancy rate was awesome.  Doesn’t get much better than that.

 

The Wild Child, being a ranch girl, knows you can always take clothes off if you are hot, but we might not always have extra if you are cold.  She loves working with us, and is not afraid to bundle up.  She is putting on an extra neck gator here on her way to the corrals.

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Doc Beck from the Fallon County Vet Clinic in Baker, MT is the ultrasound magician.  He makes our spring heifer calving MUCH less stressful by giving us all the details we need to make detailed sorts.  Here he is showing Carmen the calf details on the ultrasound screen.

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Where the magic happens… and shit.

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The lost is found again.  This bull had escaped capture when we took all the bulls out of the cows and heifers to go back to their life outside of breeding season.  He was back with the heifers when we gathered to ultrasound.  I’m sure he was sad he had to go back with his buddies and not hang out with the girls anymore. IMG_6153

Just when we were flying through heifers, one jumped up and popped a hose.  Doc Beck had spares, Fred had tools, and before too long things were back up and running.
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The breakdown gave Gary a chance to clean up his glasses and wipe off the rain.
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Our friends Laurel and Christine, visiting South Dakota from sunny California, got to experience the whole situation.  I am confident that they were happy to go back to their regular jobs and not have to participate in this job on a regular basis.  IMG_6159

All in all it was a great day.  The heifers tested well.  The moisture is always welcome.  We got all the heifers hauled a lot closer to home.  And best of all, we had a great time all working together.  IMG_6161

Until next time… JARW

Oh– one more thing.  If you are on Facebook, check out my sister’s blog posts.  Here is the link to two of them.  I may be a bit biased, but Damn!! This girl is good!  Enjoy!

Letter to my Good Wolf

Dear Good Wolf:  I have a new key!

The Jennifer Principle

T.I.P. , Muhammad Ali

Hail No

IMG_6138We have had some extreme weather events this summer.  The moisture has truly been a GODsend, but we have had some other craziness.

The hail got us in July.  I was about 25 miles away at a youth rodeo with the Wild Child when a CODE RED phone call came over my cell phone.  The message told me that there was extreme weather headed towards our home place.  I immediately called home, but I was too late; the storm had already been there.  Fortunately, almost all the vehicles and tractors were in the shop.  However, it broke out several windows in my in-law’s house, dented up a pickup that was at the field (Pine was baling), dented up some trailers and the semi, and did some damage here and there to our house.  It sure laid the grass down all over, but didn’t shear it off so it was pretty much back to normal after a few days.  Overall, we were pretty darned blessed.  It could have been so much worse.

IMG_6133Labor Day weekend we were hit with another crazy storm.  LOTS of rain and some wicked straight line winds blew through here.  There were many broken electric poles (we didn’t have electricity for a couple of days), lots of downed tree branches, some tipped over windbreaks, an exploded little oil field building, and just lots of craziness.  Once again… blessed.  No one was hurt, no livestock loss, and stuff can be replaced.  Here are a few pictures from that storm.

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We had some damage, but nothing compared to what agriculture producers in our neighbor state of Montana are going through.  Look at the devastation from the flooding.

http://www.kpax.com/news/9-000-hay-bales-lost-in-montana-flood-waters/

http://www.ktvq.com/news/9-000-hay-bales-lost-in-flood-waters/

Please keep all these folks devastated by these flood waters in your prayers.

Until next time… JARW

Super Horses

On a ranch just outside of my hometown, I got the chance to watch the funnest event series.  Routier Ranch held their first annual Super Horse Challenge.  It was awesome.  The ‘Challenge’ is that one person has to ride the same horse in five different events– barrel racing, team roping as the header, team roping as the heeler, goat tying, and breakaway roping.  There were close to 30 super horses entered and they all did an excellent job.  You could tell that there had been a lot of time put in to these horses (and contestants) to compete in all five events.

Riley, Jess, their family, and all the other volunteers put on an excellent event.  It was awesome to see the versatility of both the horses and riders.  Going in to this I thought the women contestants had the upper hand with the goat tying and barrels, but the men showed up proving that they had spent quite a bit of practice time in these events, as well as the team roping.  Congrats to Chad Miller for having the champion Super Horse!  Here are a few of my way too many pictures.  I can’t wait for next years event.

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IMG_4772IMG_5582IMG_5584IMG_5848IMG_5866Thanks for the laughs and great entertainment!

Until next time… JARW

Our Little Trip

We took a few days and went on a little road trip through Buffalo, Wyoming, through Sheridan and up on the top of the mountains for the night, then down through Cody and the awesome Buffalo Bill Museum, to the top of the world, and then down to Red Lodge.  Oh my… the beauty.  Indescribable!  The roads–scary as heck.  I am definitely a flat lander!

Heading to Crazy Woman Canyon outside of Buffalo, WY.

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Crazy Woman Canyon
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Out of the canyon and heading back to Buffalo, Wyoming.IMG_4510 IMG_4514 IMG_4519 IMG_4520

Up above Sheridan, Wyoming heading to Bear Lodge and Elk View resorts.IMG_4524

IMG_4530 IMG_4526 IMG_4527 IMG_4528A couple of the awesome displays at Buffalo Bill museum in Cody, WY
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On top of the world… Going to Red Lodge, MT
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And finally… home!  We are surrounded by beauty. IMG_4628IMG_4629IMG_4632IMG_4641IMG_4646IMG_4649Until next time… JARW

Who’s The Idiot

IMG_4640Square bales.  Idiot cubes.   Looks like work doesn’t it.  Don’t kid yourself.   It IS work.  The first few bales you are throwing on the trailer feel light; each bale gets exponentially heavier.   Pine had a friend of his come up and bale some second cutting alfalfa into square bales for barn feeding during calving.  Square bales are much easier to deal with than big round bales while doing barn chores.

Jason was planning on showing up after his regular work hours to bale this for us.  We had talked about it the day before and all was well.  Except that there was major rain in the forecast, AND Pine had to leave to go fight fire down by our south ranch.  He left me with specific instructions:

  • “Run down to the Hansen Place and get Papa out of the tractor where he was baling hay.  Tell him you need help as you need him to drive the pickup and trailer while you are loading square bales.”

  • “When you get back home, hook the red flatbed up to the black pickup and head to the field.”

  • Oh— and this one…”You have GOT to get all these loaded and under shelter before the rain comes.”

Being the good ranch wife I am, I followed his instructions ALMOST to the T.  I did run down and get Papa out of the field to drive the pickup and flatbed.  I did hook up the red flatbed to the black pickup and headed to the field.  I did make sure all these bales were loaded and under shelter before the rain came (It never came.)  But, I improvised just a little.  I got on the cell and called Trent, my 23-year-old son.

“Trent.  This is mom.  I need help.  I have to get these square bales loaded and under cover before the rain comes.  You can pick up a case of beer on the way through Ludlow and I will pay for it.  Can you come and help me?”

“Absolutely, Mom.  I just happen to have four guys in the pickup with me right now.  We will be there in 30 minutes.”

No idiot here.  Those kids had the flatbed loaded in under 15 minutes.  Papa drove.  Jason and Tucker stacked.  The other four threw bales.  Andi and I gathered bales in to bunches to make them handier.  I think the driver stopped ONE time and that was when he was negotiating a corner.  It was awesome.  Plus, they were laughing and having a good time doing it.  One thing that makes this momma’s heart smile is watching kids work and enjoy it so much that they LAUGH while doing it.  Blessed.

The next morning Pine came to the house and said “Well, we better go get these bales unloaded and stacked.  I need them out of the shop.”

WHAT?!?  Why the heck didn’t he tell me where he wanted them the afternoon before when I had all that help.  Lucky for us, Cass had just gotten home from volleyball practice, stiff and sore, and we were sure unloading some square bales would be the best thing for her.  She threw them to the back of the trailer, and Pine and I hauled them in the barn and stacked them.  Granted— this isn’t where they will be come winter.  The majority of them have to go to a different barn.  But we couldn’t unload them there as there is a building project going to happen on that barn this month.

When it comes time to load most of them once again and haul them to the other barn, I am sure hoping Trent and his buddies can still be bought for a case of beer.

Until next time… JARW

 

The Big Question

Kids in agriculture often learn life lessons much earlier than most.  They experience the loss of calves, lambs, pets, etc., early in life and sometimes often.  On the flip side, they are blessed to see the miracle of birth way more often.  And, they learn about the birds and the bees earlier than most kids.

Tonight we had been talking about getting the rest of the bulls out of the cows as the breeding season has ended for us, and then hauling the bulls back to their home pasture to recoup and get ready for next year.  Later while tucking the Wild Child into bed, after prayers, we were visiting about our day.  She started telling me about a day in late June when we moved some pairs from one pasture to a new pasture.

“Mom.  There was this bull with a dirty butt… I think he was #4.  Anyway, he was riding all the cows.”

“That’s his job, honey.  He was breeding them so they can have calves again in the spring.  Cows can’t have babies without bulls.”

“Oh yeah.  I knew that.”  Silence…  and then, “So moms can’t have babies unless dads breed them?”

“Ok!  Time to go to sleep!  Have a good night, Sweets.”

Sometimes it is best to leave the birds and the bees talk strictly focused on animals, especially when dealing with a 5-year-old.  Yep— she caught me off guard on that one.

Until next time… JARW

Meal Time

SteaksMeal times at our place are filled with surprises.  Breakfast, lunch, and supper.  You never know what time you will eat.  You never know what you will eat.  And you never know what you will hear.  That last one might be the scariest as there are NO secrets with the Wild Child around.

We sat down to a great lunch last week of beef tips, broccoli, and baked potatoes.  Amazingly, it was not too late in the day as it was only about 2 p.m.  Often times lunch is so late in the day that it takes care of supper, as well.  Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t always hurt my feelings.  However, it is hard to plan when you never know what the day is going to bring.  Everyone had just filled their plates and were taking their first bites when the Wild Child pipes in with “Well, I’ve got new underwear on today.”   Where the heck that came from I will never know, but it definitely took us all by surprise and try as we did not to laugh, we all failed.  You just never know what you will hear.

Meal times during haying (and calving, and spring work, and fall work, and…) vary greatly according to many variables, none of which I have any control over, i.e. the weather, the hay condition, how the cows sort, whether something is calving, how well mannered the bulls were when we were taking them away from the cows, tractor breakdowns, and the list extends to infinity.  During haying the variables include whether the hay is too dry, too wet, parts runs, breakdowns, greasing equipment, OR can we be in the tractors getting it rolled up.  Many days there is no “lunch time”.  Some days the hay is too dry by 9 a.m. and lunch is really on the table around noon.  It all depends.  The Wild Child?  Well, she eats when she is hungry and if there is not a meal she fixes herself a snack of fruit, cheese, PB&J, or whatever she chooses.  Or she heads to Granny’s house for more choices there.  She is pretty self-sufficient.  I try to always have something/anything in the fridge that can be grabbed on  the go… mainly cold roast beef, ham, fruit.  Anyone can make a roast beef sandwich, grab an apple, and head out the door.

I read the other day that you should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and supper like a pauper.  Yeah right!  Tell that to a crew of hungry cowboys who have been out ALL day long and get to the house at dark-thirty because they ran out of daylight.  “Sorry boys… sliced apples and some cheese for you guys tonight.”  I don’t think so.  Not at this house!  There have been way too many meals to count after 9:30 p.m., and there will be many more.  As hard as everyone works they will get to eat supper like a king, too — even if it doesn’t get put on the table until late at night.

Until next time… JARW

 

Pictures

One thing about Facebook JARW friends is that they often see pictures that the rest of you don’t see if you aren’t on Facebook.  Thus I want to share a few of my favorite recent pictures with you that I posted on Facebook.

Here is the Wild Child standing in a field of haybet barley.  This picture was in the third week of June.  The barley was cut a week ago on July 20th.
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Trailers hooked and ready to go.  One will haul horses and the other will be used to bring home some bulls that were injured. 2014-07-09 12.46.05

We love USA Beef! :)  2014-07-09 12.46.18

My raking help needed a potty break.  Doesn’t every one rake hay in a mini skirt?2014-07-10 20.22.20

Home away from home.  2014-07-10 21.09.48

Until next time— JARW