Monthly Archives: May 2013

Friday Funday 5.31.2013

My weekly gratitude list…

**All the people gathering to support the 5th Annual Ginsbach Memorial Golf Tournament to raise money to support the fight against ALS.

**I know I have said this many times, but am so thankful for the glorious rains we have received in the past two weeks.

**All the awesome local scholarships offered to the graduating seniors of our community, and my daughter being privileged enough to be able to apply and receive so many.

**Getting the above said graduate registered for college,  and her already earning her first credits by passing her CLEP test she took yesterday.

 **Having the first loads of cows hauled to summer pasture.


**A freezer full of beef!

**Someone besides me cleaning up after supper.

**The smell of mowed grass.

**Getting our first flower seeds planted.

**My amazing circle of friends.



On Thursdays I usually try to post about something I love and/or makes my life easier.  Today this is NOT the case.  I’m posting about something I HATE — amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  Unless your life has forever been altered by this horrendous disease, you may not even be aware of what it is. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is more often referred to Lou Gehrig’s Disease. May is ALS Awareness Month. My brother-in-law was a victim of ALS.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord, and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. As these neurons degenerate, ALS eventually leads to the neuron’s death. When the motor neurons die, the brain is no longer able to initiate or control muscle movement. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.  Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they need to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller) and limbs begin to look smaller as the muscle tissue dies.   The following is a video about a family that has been dealt numerous blows by ALS.

This weekend is the 5th Annual Ginsbach Memorial Golf Tournament.  The tournament is held to raise money for ALS research and to help students in the surrounding area that are in need. My brother-in-law, Cory Ginsbach, was an educator for 27 years and an athletic director at Hill City High School for 24 years. Along with being an educator, Cory was an involved community member, a coach, a mentor, and most importantly, a friend.   Ginsbach Memorial Golf Facebook Page

Here is a story of Cory’s battle from the outside looking in.  Cory’s funeral was held at the Hill City HS Football Field.  As per the Ranger Reporter, “If there is such a thing as a good funeral, this was it.  The funeral was on the football field and extra bleachers were brought in to accommodate everyone.  It was a “who’s who” of coaches and teachers from around the state.  I have heard people estimate that over fifteen hundred people were there.”  The following are just a few of the pictures that I took from his celebration of life.  I sit here crying looking at these pictures again.  The support my sister and her family received was incredible.  There were so many people there to pay their respects and to celebrate his life.  These are just a few pictures of messages written on his coffin, but they give a glimpse about the kind of person he was.  He is missed so much.


If you, someone in your family, or one of your friends is suffering from ALS, my heart breaks for you.  It is definitely a heart-breaking and life-changing path that you are on.  I pray for a cure.  Please join me in the fight against ALS.  Prayer Warriors always needed!

A few more ALS Links:

Steve Gleason


Sweet & Sassy Huck

I will admit it.  I’m the one who brought HUCK home.  Well, actually I brought Oscar home, but his name changed to Huck after the Big Guy spent a little time with him.  He tried to act like he didn’t really like the little stink, but somehow Huck weaseled his way into his soft heart, too.  The Wild Child, on the other hand, loved him from the moment she met him.  This is the first day we brought him home. IMG_6472



Huck became her fast friend, even as much as he jumped on her and bit her constantly.  Huck started going everywhere with us.

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Huck has really grown and is a fast learner.  He helps gather cows, move cows, and bug the older dogs.  He also drags his blankets out of his dog house constantly and drags them around the yard.  In fact, he has completely lost one blanket completely and no amount of looking has revealed where he hid it.


He has also made himself completely at home at both our house and at Granny’s house across the driveway, liking to hang out with Better (the old dog) much to Better’s chagrin.



Somehow sassy little Huck has wedged himself into the hearts of everyone living here.  He is a source of constant annoyance and constant laughter.  He even drags his feed bowl back and forth across the driveway to get filled at both houses.  He definitely makes us laugh.  What would we ever do without him?  When trying to film him dragging his dish to Granny’s I would step out the door and turn on the camera.  He would spot me, drop his dish, and just lie down beside it like a little angel.  He would wait for me to go back in the house, pick it up and start off again– throwing the dish in the air, chasing it around, etc.  I would sneak open the door to film and he would instantly drop the dish, drop to the ground, and just lie and watch me.  Little stink.  I finally went out the back door and around to catch him on video.

He makes my heart smile. I guess we could do without him jumping on the Wild Child, but will deal with that. Any advice?


IMG_8066Do you ever have one of those days?  Days when it seems nothing can go right; not that anything bad happens, just a day when you know you are spinning your wheels or running in deep, deep, deep sand.  That was my yesterday.  Yesterday– the day when I think I would have just been better off not getting up, only I had way to much to do.  The day when I would have rather been ANYWHERE other than sitting in front of my computer typing transcription, but since I’m the only one working right now that wasn’t an option.  The day when I just NEEDED to be outside getting some fresh air in my lungs and changing up my attitude, but never got the chance.  That was my yesterday.

I’m sure I’m not the only one that hates it when I have one of those days.  I’m sure my family would like to stuff me in a box and mail me somewhere far, far away.  They scramble to look really busy when my head starts twisting all the way around.  When I’ve been typing for HOURS and they have all been basically enjoying a rain day, I would expect that they could and should help out a little — especially where the Wild Child is concerned.  Drives me crazy that I’m the only one that can hear her whining because she is starving (and there is a full pan of food on the stove that just needs to be served) — and I have earphones in!  That was the point of lift-off, or twist-off, suppose it depends on whose version of the story you hear– mine or the rest of the family’s.

Things are much better this morning.  A little sleep can do that — plus having empty garbage cans and empty cupboards by the washing machine because everyone put their clothes away — just a few of the things they did to keep busy and away from the wicked woman twisting off in the kitchen. Sunshine is on the agenda for today, even though I still have lots to do.  The rest is going to have to wait.  I need some stress relief and it is going to come in the form of helping my rancher outside, but first watching my Wild Child sing and dance and LOVE life.

Nothing like kids, fresh air, sunshine, and good company to make me smile.   Have a great day.





Thank-you.  That simple word seems so inadequate, but it is truly heart-felt.  This a picture of my dad’s grave.  He was in the US Army and served in Korea.  My uncle was a paratrooper in the US Army in World War II.  My brother, too, served in the US Army, fortunately during a time of peace in our crazy world.  My father-in-law was a lieutenant in the US Navy, and his father a postmaster in the US Navy.  To all my family and friends who serve — THANK YOU.

To all the other men and women who serve, have served, the families and friends affected by your dedication to our country, for all the sacrifices, for defending our country and our freedom, I thank you.  I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart.  May GOD bless you and your families.

This video published on March 8,2013 by Benjamin Morse


Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit.  James 5:18


We have been incredibly blessed with rains over the last eight days.  It was extremely dry here, and in most parts of our area of the world.  We were trying to decide how many cow/calf pairs to sell, and many had already begun selling as there just wasn’t any grass.

IMG_7815The dust was blowing.  The dams were dry.  The hay corrals were empty or nearly empty.  This year’s chances of a hay crop weren’t looking too high. People were being proactive and trying to sell or planning to sell pairs early to try to preserve what grass they did have.

Then came the rains last weekend.  They were glorious!  At our house we ended up with about 3.8 inches.  Game-changing rains.

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What a forgiving earth we have.  Almost instantly the grass was blinding green and you could almost see it growing.  The alfalfa started shooting up, raising our hopes for a hay crop.  The robins started hopping around the yard cocking their heads and listening for worms.  Our spirits were lifted.  We rejoiced and gave thanks.

The week days found us branding the rest of the baby calves, branding bulls and re-tagging, hauling bred heifers to their summer home, and testing bulls.  Fortunately, I had a couple of days off where I didn’t have to help so found myself trying to catch up on transcription and listening to the wind blow, hopeful that it was blowing us in more weather.

The Big Guy, his brother, and hired man tested bulls on Friday so I checked pairs around home.  I found one calf hobbling on a sore foot.  I couldn’t decide exactly what the problem was so the BG, the Wild Child and I went out to check her yesterday morning.  He decided she just must have tweaked it a little as we could really see nothing else wrong.  That’s a good thing!  We were sure we wouldn’t get home without getting wet.  We were wrong.  The storm passed us to the north.  So instead we stopped and checked the alfalfa, looking for bugs, etc.



Then we were blessed again late yesterday afternoon– with a gully washer!  Several times the rains would come, then stop for a while.  We had about 0.40 of total rain before these clouds below came over us.



They dropped 1.6-inches.  Incredible.  You can just hear it pounding down.  Then it got a little louder a few minutes later as we had some hail, pea and marble sized with no damage.  I don’t think all our neighbors were as lucky.  (sad face)  We got an extra 0.40 during the night.  (happy face!)

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The rains are healing — not only to the earth and the crops, but also to the farmer and rancher.  They renew the spirits, the hopes, the dreams, and greatly improve the mood!  What glorious blessings. 


Then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. Leviticus 26:4


Saturday’s Sarcasm & Sweetness 5.25.13

**Why doesn’t he tell me I don’t have to go help the night before rather than at 5 a.m. after I’m up, showered, and ready?

**How can the dogs STILL be finding dried up afterbirth to drag into the yard?

**I wonder if the Wild Child would still think our bed was the most comfortable if we just put it in her room?

**Watching the state track meet  on the computer!  I know I’m not being heard, but don’t you think our team can feel that I’m screaming for them from my desk at home.

Now for some sweetness…  I thought this poem was awesome– and yes, I believe every bit of it would help wherever one chooses to, or is able to, ranch from!

Ranchin’ From The Window

Can you ranch from the kitchen window

If you’re too old to swath or rope?

If you can’t suckle up a calf

Or ride a horse half broke?

Does it help the ranch go forward

If you yell, “The cows are out?”

Or, “The bale feeder’s empty.”

Or, “That Joe is a no account.”

If you keep the coffee brewin’

Or the cookies on the side

If you still can stoke the fires

Or close a barn door tight?

If they know the light is shinin’

From Mom’s ole kitchen window

When they need to check the heifers

Does it help the inner glow?

Well, sometime we’ll be down to that

Though we still will love the land.

We’d love thee livestock and the grazing

And we’ll  “pray to beat the band.”

By Prairie Singer (Celia Yates, Hammond, MT).  Reprinted with permission.


Friday Funday 05/24/2013

Time for my Friday gratitude list!  My cup runneth over…

**The incredible rains, and as the Wild Child calls them— muddy puddles.

**Getting Miss Karli graduated.


**My family and friends that helped celebrate the high-school graduation.

**The big kids who make the Wild Child’s day by dancing with her… repeatedly.



**Hydrogen peroxide and Dawn dish soap’s ability to get even the WC’s dress clean after her multiple trips down the slide.  


**Finding a place to go with our replacement heifers as the drought and losing a lease had us short of grass.

IMG_7913**Good help— especially when they are smiley AND good help.


**Love.. laughter.. AND dancing!


Thursday’s Thoughts — Things I LOVE

Our ranch house has no mud room.  Who builds a ranch house with no mud room?  I have a master bedroom in which I probably have enough room for three king size beds, but no mud room.  I spend about six hours a day in my bedroom.  My mud room would get used about 24 hours a day in one way or another.  Does this make sense to anyone?

When I moved to the ranch there was not even a coat closet inside the front door.  There was a little tiled spot.  Not a single spot to hang a coat.  The Big Guy had a coat rack built with a storage bench.  It helped.  At least there were some hooks, but not near enough.  We then hired someone to build us a coat closet.  Heaven!

However, during the busy times (i.e. calving, spring work) people running in and out the door seem to have a real hard time grabbing a hanger and hanging up their coats.  Enter Cow Chip Creations.

Cow Chip I called Miss Amanda, told her of my dilemma, and asked her to please build me a couple of free-standing coat racks with boot racks on the bottom. Ask and ye shall receive.  The two outside items are my coat/boot racks, and the inside door is what I ordered for my bedroom.  These have been a lifesaver for my sanity.

One is used exclusively by the Wild Child (with the exception of my purse and camera bag getting to hang on it).


The other is used exclusively by my rancher, the BG.


If you want it, she can build it.  Everything from stools,

CCE stools 1CCE stools

to saddle stands,

CCE saddle stands


to chairs (and footstools),

CCE chair 2

CCE chair








to custom-made bars.CCE bar

Per her Facebook page, Cow Chip Creations was created when I saw an opportunity to showcase and preserve a part of our history….

Her mission is to “preserve the history, character, and beauty of our ancestors hard work.”

Check out her work.  I bet you find something you love.


Breeding Heifers

IMG_7909The process of breeding our replacement heifers started last fall.  When preconditioning calves the Big Guy and his brother score every heifer calf.  After weighing every single calf, and scoring each heifer, they are then able to analyze cow records and pick the best replacement heifers for their cow herd.  We spend lots of hours on this task.  I say “WE” as the Big Guy is not very spreadsheet literate, nor is his brother.  This means that my sister-in-law, myself, and Karen (who lives at our South Place and built the cow database long before I came on the scene) find ourselves spending hours sending reports back and forth, reprinting spreadsheets, reporting numbers, and all the other things necessary for them to cull their heifers down to the ones they want to keep. Once the ‘chosen ones’ are decided, they are sorted off in the fall and hauled to where they are wintered.

The BG then spends the winter doing what he loves best — analyzing Angus sires– calving ease, calving weights, weaning weights, milking ability.  He is looking to continually improve the cows.  While giving Lutalyse shots last week I was yelling out sires of the replacement heifers coming through the chutes.  One of these heifers had a OCC Juneau sire.  IMG_7911The Wild Child stated “I Love Juneau cows, Mom.”  I asked “You do?”  And she replied “Yep.  My dad taught me that.” The apple isn’t falling far from the tree.  Her dad does love Juneau cows, as does her mom.  They are calm, great mothers, calm, not fighty, calm, good udders, calm…  See why I love them?

After the breeding decisions are made, the semen is ordered, and dates are set to begin the breeding process. The heifer breeding protocol we use is a fixed-time AI.  IMG_6750We use the 14-day CIDR-PG protocol.  This means that we insert the CIDRs (pronounced See-durs) and leave them in for 14 days before removal.  CIDR is controlled internal drug release– an intravaginal progesterone insert that helps synchronize the heifers for breeding.  The above picture shows a CIDR getting ready to be inserted.  After the CIDRs are removed, there is a 16 day wait, then a Lutalyse shot (used for synchronizing estrus) and about 66 hours later a GnRH shot (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which causes the heifer to release luteinizing hormone, which causes ovulation) along with artificial insemination.

IMG_7907I’m sure some are wondering why we would take all these steps when we could just turn in some bulls.  Artificial insemination allows us to introduce what we feel are the best genetic qualities into the ranch cow herd.  We can breed the heifers for traits that we feel best exemplify what we are looking for in a cow.  We can breed the heifers to multiple sires– without the huge expense of buying all the bulls.  For example, this year we bred heifers to six different sires — sires that we believe are top of the line Angus Beef Sires.  These sires are worth tens of  thousands of dollars.  It would not only be cost prohibitive, it would be a financial impossibility to purchase these top bulls.  Thus purchasing single straws and artificially inseminating is the best way for us to get these genetics into our herd.

IMG_7913The breeding is now finished and today the heifers were getting hauled to their summer home.  We will also haul a clean-up bull along in a few days to breed any heifer in which the artificial insemination didn’t “settle” or take.  Early this coming fall we will ultrasound all of these heifers to determine whether or not they are bred, sell the open (not bred) heifers, and bring the rest home to winter and eventually calve out next spring.  Then the entire process will be repeated with the replacement heifers that we keep this fall.  This is the “ranch wife” version.  Hope I didn’t bore you to tears!