Monthly Archives: December 2013

Looking Forward to 2014

I’m ready for the new year.  I’m excited to see what secrets it will hold.  I’m looking forward to seeing what avenues open up to us in our business and personal lives.  I’m anxious to see what paths my adult children choose.  All-in-all… I can’t wait to turn the calendar to January.

We bangs vaccinated our replacement heifers a week ago.  Bangs disease is the common name for brucellosis (contagious abortion).  Brucellosis in cattle causes abortion or premature calving in the affected cows.  Infected cattle are also difficult to get re-bred and often become sterile.  Bangs vaccinations must be done by a veterinarian so our tried-and-true veterinarian, Dr. Don Beck from Fallon County Veterinary Clinic, came and spent the morning with us.  We always enjoy working with him.

The calves look great.  It is always fun to watch them grow… the calves that we raised and poured our hearts and souls into; the calves that we KNOW, and KNOW their mommas and daddies.  These are the calves that we drug in to the barn if they were born outside when it was too chilly.  These are the calves that we made sure were up and nursing quickly to ensure their best chance at good health.  These are the calves that we helped stand up when they struggled, helped suckle if they didn’t know how, and helped make sure their moms LET them suck.  These are the calves that we hauled in to the house to get warm if they got chilled and babied along in the barn when they weren’t taking off like they should. These are the calves that we walked through every day while feeding to make sure they were staying healthy and getting well taken care of by their mommas.   We will get to watch these replacement heifers grow and they will be artificially inseminated in May of 2014 for calving in the spring of 2015.  The circle of life continues.

The coming 2-year-old heifers that will begin calving in less days than we wish to think about are home getting fed well and preparing for their first calves.  These heifers are like a bunch of kids.  They are so curious.  As you can see, we didn’t have the panels up on the back side of our yard yet at our walk-out basement.  The heifers enjoyed exploring our yard and seeing what was going on.

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The left side of the fence is my garden spot.  They fertilized that heavily for me.  The right side is my back yard.  They fertilized that, also.

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The tree on the right side of the picture is in the corner of my yard.  The heifers are coming down the path that leads over south where they are fed hay in the mornings most days.  They can’t resist trailing down the road to the houses and corrals to see if the horses left any hay or pellets lying around.  They also will go in the machinery shed and investigate, and have been found standing in the vehicle garages if there is an empty bay while a vehicle is out.

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Here they come again from over south.  This is mid afternoon.  That is usually when they are ready to take a little jaunt to see what kind of trouble they can get themselves into.

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The next three pictures show the heifers coming down the road into our house.  They are also spread on a feed ground up on the top of the hill if the weather is nice.  Then they trek down the road instead.  Here you can see that they are stretched along the road single file and will follow the road down and around the corner to the corrals, too.  They just can’t stay away.

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They like to rub on the bushes outside my yard fence and scratch on the branches.  They like to rub on the girls’ school cars and have been known to rub a mirror completely off.  The dogs stay busy sending them back over the hill.  It won’t be long until they are brought in to the calving lot.  Then they will be put back out in this pasture after they calve.  They then bring their calves around the yard to see what’s happening.  It is always fun to watch the newborn calves bucking around outside the yard fence.

Not many days until calving starts.  The curious heifers now that make me laugh won’t be quite so cute then when we are checking them every two hours around the clock.  I better enjoy them now.

Until next time… JARW

Sunset

We traveled to our daughter’s first basketball game of the season a couple of weeks ago.  As our Wild Child would say, “God painted us a beautiful sky.”  The sunset was amazing.  Sorry all the pictures aren’t as clear as they should be… we were driving down the road when I took them.  Hope you enjoy GOD’s painting as much as we did.

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Until next time…. JARW

Bar the Door

They struck at around 1:30 this morning.  Julebukkers (pronounced Yule-A-Baakers).  We had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.  Well it sure seemed like it anyway.  Matter of fact they turned on our bedroom light and neither of us woke up.  We were zonked. Then I heard the Big Guy yell, and looking up found our bedroom full of masked intruders.

It had been a great day.  The sun was out making our snow-covered world sparkle like diamonds.  All the wrapping paper mess and boxes had made it to the burning barrel.  Everyone had hauled their presents to their bedrooms.  The buckets of snacks had slowly been whittled down over the past few days so there was less and less on my counters.  One of my sisters (I have five), her husband, and three of her kids, my mother and father-in-law, our oldest son, his girlfriend, and her mom, our college-aged daughter, and our two girls still at home had all blessed us with their presence on Christmas Eve.  It was a wonderful evening.  Christmas Day we got to enjoy an amazing dinner at my mother-in-law’s house with one of my brother-in-law’s family.  Another day filled with way too much food and fluff, lots of kids laughing, some rabbit hunting, and lots of stories.  We had had a wonderful couple of days.

We finally trudged home last night after dark, put on our sweats, and cuddled up on the couch and in the recliner to just hang out.  The Wild Child worked on some new projects we had gotten her for Christmas, a project called Goldie Blox and the Parade Float As a side note completely unrelated to this story (because that’s how I roll…always getting off on a tangent), I love her new presents from a company called Goldie Blox.  I’m an Amazon Prime member (or junkie depending on if you want to believe my husband) and actually purchased this project from Amazon.

Goldie Blox is a company started by a female engineer to help promote girls developing more skills than just being a princess.  While we LOVE our princesses, we know it is necessary for them to develop more skills than looking cute.  We love that this company helps teach them to think about how things are put together.  So she and I worked on putting wheels on axles.  It actually was pretty fun.  I loved to build roads when I was little so this was right up my alley.

Between stuffed bellies, watching shows on Magic Johnson and Larry Bird (and then later Doctor J), building parade floats, and warm blankets, we all eventually fell asleep on the couch.  It was about 12:45 a.m. when I found my way to my comfortable bed.  Next thing I know, the Big Guy was yelling and I had a bedroom full of masked intruders.  Julebukking!  Ugh!  Why hadn’t we locked the doors?!!?  We told them to get the heck out of our bedroom so we could get dressed and we would be out in a minute.  Then we tried to watch them walk on their way out in case their gait gave them away.  While getting dressed we heard them racing down the stairs to wake up any kids that might be sleeping downstairs.

Julebukking is a Norwegian Christmas tradition.  You can only going Julebukking between Christmas and New Years.  Julebukkers dress up, go house to house, and wake up the occupants who then have to guess their identities.  You are supposed to supply food and drink to the Julebukkers while you are trying to guess who they are.   The group grows as the night wanes on as people always join the fun.  If you are the last house of the night you are the lucky ones who are supposed to feed the Julebukkers breakfast  before they head home to their own beds.

We didn’t have time to even find them something to eat.  I guessed them all faster than they could believe.  When I walked out of the bedroom the one remaining still upstairs looked me straight in the eye.

“Austin”, I pronounced.

“How did you know?” he questioned.

Well, my friend, you are 6′ 8″ for starters (he was sitting down though so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on that one), and I could see his eyes.  I guessed three by seeing their eyes, one by the way he walked, and the last by his body language.  I nailed it!

Last year we weren’t quite so lucky.  Last year the Big Guy sat up in bed and said “we have Julebukkers.”  When I asked him what made him think that he asked if I heard the war-whoop!?  I hadn’t.  Fortunately, he had.  We had a house full of masked marauders.  And we couldn’t guess them.  We fed and watered them.  Still couldn’t guess.  Tried to get them to talk.  Still couldn’t guess.  Tried to get them to walk around; still couldn’t guess.  Turned up the heat to sweat them out of their costumes.  Nothing.  FINALLY, we guessed one.  Then we could start putting things together and get the others guessed.  Sadly, I had a niece and a nephew in the bunch, neither of whom I could guess.  They all had their eyes covered and that is always the one thing that helps me guess.

My niece’s friend was here visiting from Chicago.  He was in shock.  Thought it was the most fun he had had in a long time.  He was also fairly sure that if he showed up at a neighbor’s house in Chicago dressed in mask and costume that he was confident that he wouldn’t be met with food and booze.  One more reason I love where we live.  Tonight, though, my doors will be locked!  They will have to knock to get in and not just walk in our bedroom.  Glad they weren’t as troublesome as when I was young.  We would just jump in bed with people.

Maybe tonight I can talk the Big Guy in to driving around the countryside dressed in disguise and jumping in to bed with unsuspecting neighbors!  Doesn’t get much better than that. I miss how much fun that used to be! Anyone want to join us?

Until next time…  JARW

Staying Warm

IMG_1551The brutal cold weather has been and gone, but as a South Dakota girl I know  that there will be many more of those days before spring hits.  The last few days, though, have been little splashes of heaven.  Cool winter days with no snow are hard to come by in Harding County, but when they are here they are glorious.

It seems everything goes better when the weather is nice.  I have talked many times about our newest dog, Huck.  He will be one this spring so is just a pup.  He has been a bored pup all summer.  We don’t have any cows at our home place all summer and most of the fall so there haven’t been any opportunities to work on his skills.  Now that there are cows around again it is time to get to work.

I have taken the two dogs, Huck and Pard, out with me every morning during feeding.  I take the mule, the dogs, shovels to open water, and mineral to fill feeders.  We gather all the bred heifers and bring them to where the tractor is rolling out bales, check the feeders and water, and then head to the next bunch of cows and do the same.   I have spent most of those mornings yelling “Bring Em”, “Easy”, “Bring Em”, “Good dogs”, etc. etc. etc.

Imagine my chagrin when I started losing my voice.  Imagine me trying to convince myself it was just from yelling commands and encouraging the dogs.  Imagine my sadness when I realized two days ago that it wasn’t just the yelling, but I was getting a cold.  Ugh!  I have a head cold… bad.  So bad that last night the Big Guy says “You look like hell.  You sound like hell.  You need to give it up and jus

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Things warmed up around here the last couple of days and we are thoroughly enjoying it.  These pictures were taken yesterday morning while the Big Guy was feeding.  The Wild Child and I were gathering everything and bringing it to feed, but she eventually ditched me and climbed in the tractor with her dad.  Then promptly fell asleep!  Cold fresh air will do that to you!

This bunch of cows was pretty gathered enjoying an alfalfa field.

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However, as anyone with cows can attest, the most crippled cow can always get to the farthest corner of the pasture quickest and like to hang out there.  This means trailing her across the pasture every morning to feed.  Ugh.   I love that Huck (our pup) and his buddy, Pard, went and gathered this cow  from the corner for me and brought her to feed.  

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One bunch of cows gathered and fed.

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Then the retirees and the horses just getting some time off came to visit us and get some babying.

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I had lost my partner by this point so I went to gather the bred heifers to get them all to the feed ground where the Big Guy and Miss Wild Child had breakfast rolled out and waiting by the time we all got there.

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Yummo!  Breakfast!

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After her little siesta in the feeding tractor, the Wild Child was full of energy and ready to go again.  Thank heavens for snow piles to burn off excess energy.

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Until next time… JARW

 

Our Week

IMG_89033.jpg Smile bibleMy week has been a little crazy.  Tis the season.  The bitter cold has kept the Wild Child cooped up in the house, hence it has kept me cooped up in the house for the better part of the time, too.  We have decorated and made Christmas cookies.  She has spilled a whole bowl of sugar and sprinkles on the carpet.  We have made buckets of Party Mix.  She has spilled a whole bag of pretzels sticks.  We have wrapped presents.  She has cut my new table runner while cutting wrapping paper.  All in all, it has been a glorious time!

The snow covered hill that the girls are riding up in the above picture.

I have also spent MANY days at craft/trade shows and am heading to my last one for the season this morning.  I’m a homebody.  A HUGE homebody.  Not that I don’t enjoy people, visiting, hanging out, but I have to absolutely force myself to go to town.  I like being home.  I like doing what I do.  But this year I ventured out with my “Just A Ranch Wife”, “Ranch Kid” and “Ranch Raised” products, along with my other little side-line business venture (Thirty-One Gifts) and went to a few craft / trade shows.

I love it that so many people in small communities like to support other local people.  I love it when we can find the perfect bag to give someone for a gift.  I love it when I see a little kid sporting around a “Just A Ranch Kid” cap and wearing a “Ranch Kid” t-shirt.  These things all make me smile.  But what I really love is the spirit of the season, the loving and giving nature, the smiles, the laughs, the kindness, the memories…

I hope you and yours are making wonderful memories this holiday season.  Those memories are what helps people get through their first Thanksgiving without a loved one, or face their first Christmas without a loved one.  Make lots of memories and keep those memories alive!  They are so important.

 I have seen many requests in the past couple of weeks for prayers for people just diagnosed with cancer or other debilitating diseases.  While you are making lots of new memories and counting your blessings, please throw in an extra prayer for anyone who might be needing it.  And if you are someone facing some extra weight on your shoulders from the world bearing down on you, please know that someone, somewhere, is offering up a prayer in your behalf.

God Bless You and Yours…

Until next time… JARW

Mistakes

IMG_0085Mistakes.  Ugh.  Everybody makes them.  I’ve maybe made more than my share.  I make myself okay with this little fact by telling myself that all those mistakes just made me who I am today; I’m good with who I am today.  Sounds reasonable doesn’t it?   I would love to have someone tell me they have never made a mistake.  I’m sure I would laugh hysterically.  Baloney!  The only way to never make a mistake is to never do anything.  This ranch wife has broad shoulders.  I can admit it.  I have made plenty.  Thank heavens for forgiving, easy to deal with men that have to work with me every day… well easy to deal with after they calm down.  🙂

Doing SOMETHING / ANYTHING has to be more productive than doing nothing.  Doesn’t it?  This is what I tried to explain to my husband several years ago when I  was raking late one night / early one morning.  I was trying to get this wayward windrow that was down in a tight little peninsula off a field between a side hill and a crick bank. I may have hooked the rake on the hitch by taking a corner too sharp.  It can happen to anyone.  It just bent the hitch a tish.  We got it straightened out after only a half day or so the next day.  Not long.

I used the same reasoning when I was pulling the portable scale to where we were preconditioning calves, hit a bump on the highway (on the pavement going the speed limit I might add) and the scale came unhooked off the ball and passed me on its way to the ditch.  Why the dang thing didn’t bury the hitch in the pavement or in the dirt going down through the ditch and flip I will never know.  Divine intervention I’m sure.  It just dug a big ole furrow down the ditch and came to a stop, still upright.  Hallelujah.

I had my friend, Karen, with me.  I saw it happening in the rear view mirror and said “Oh Sh**!  We just lost the scale.”  She laughed thinking I was kidding until she saw it pass the pickup.  Her husband was in front of us with a load of horses.  She called him to come help us, but by the time he got back to us I had already pulled into the ditch and hooked it back up.  I was sweating bullets wondering how I was going to explain this to the Big Guy, my brother-in-law, and father-in-law.  Karen was laughing because she wasn’t driving and didn’t have to explain anything.  Nice supportive friend.  She laughed pretty much the next 40 miles to the corrals.

Upon arriving to the corrals I made the decision that telling my brother-in-law was the best bet.  He would growl at his wife if she had been driving, but probably not so much at me.   On the flip side, my husband might definitely growl at me.  Brother-in-law it was.  I asked him if he wanted to break the news to the Big Guy what had happened.  He laughed.  Seriously.  He laughed.  Asked if it had tipped over or flipped.  Nope.  He thought everything was probably just fine.  After finding my spine and spilling the beans to the Big Guy I found out that he had been worried about the hitch the day before when he left it at the house in town for me to bring.  Seriously?  Are you freaking kidding me?  I had been worried sick for 40 miles and you were worried about the hitch last night?  Ugh!

And while we are discussing mistakes, marrying the Big Guy was definitely NOT a mistake.  I told him I was writing a blog on my mistakes and asked him to list some of my mistakes as I couldn’t seem to remember any.  Selective memory.  He said he couldn’t remember any either.  I said “Seriously.  I need you to give me some examples of mistakes I have made so I can write this blog.”  Nope.  He was sure he couldn’t think of one.  GOOD MAN!  He knew that that was the ONLY safe option.  Never mind that I asked him to list them, begged him for some examples, Mr. Intelligent swore he couldn’t think of one.  One of my favorite quotes is a quote by Billy Joel that states “I’ve reached the age where intelligence and competence are turn-ons.”  ((Laughing))  I married an intelligent man.  I know.. I know.  WAY too much information!  🙂

As for my LONG list of mistakes, I hate to let all my skeletons out of the closet at once.  They might be become a little overwhelming.  I’ll spill the beans a few at a time.

Until next time— JARW

Christmas Shopping?

A NOT Black Friday or Cyber Monday deal for those of you who only follow me online and not on Facebook.  Take 15% off of any product order until Friday (12/6) midnight— Yes Friday.  I’m a rebel that way!  Just message me with your order, your mailing address, and your email address for billing purposes.  They will be shipped as soon as the order is paid for so they should definitely reach you before Christmas if they are paid timely.

The shirts are all $20 before discount and am getting short in some colors/sizes.  When they are gone they are gone and there will not be more in before Christmas.

The “Ranch Kid” shirts are long-sleeved and come only in youth sizes (s,m,l,xl) in pink, carolina blue, gray, and dark blue.

The “Ranch Raised” and “Ranch Wife” shirts are also long-sleeved and come in adult sizes (m,l,xl, 2xl, and 3xl) and tend to run a little small.  They come in red, green, gray, and carolina blue.

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The “Just A Ranch Wife” military caps are $35 regularly and come in brown, pink, tan, black, navy, and olive.  The bling colors vary.  Some colors are getting close to being sold out and I will not have more in before Christmas.Caps 2

To order click “contact me” to send an email to order.  State sizes, color choices (better to have a backup in case your initial color is gone in that size), email address for billing purposes, and shipping address. I will email you an invoice as soon as I get notice of your message with a payment link.  The email may route to your junk mail so please watch there, as well.

You DON’T have to be a Ranch Wife, Ranch Kid, or Ranch Raised to wear one of these shirts!  You can simply love the way or life or wished you lived this way of life!

Happy Shopping.

Until next time… JARW
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Across South Dakota

Map of SDThe last couple of weeks has found us driving pretty much across South Dakota and back two times.  We took a couple of different routes just to see some country that we normally don’t see.  Well worth the trips.  South Dakota is definitely the land of variety.  We didn’t get to the farthest eastern part of our wonderful state, but we definitely enjoyed every single mile that we did travel.

Western South Dakota is ranch country, especially as far west as we are.  We live in Harding County.  You can see on the map that Harding County is split just about in half by Highway 85.  We live on the west side of the highway.  The northeastern part of our county has the most farm ground in Harding County; the western half not so much.  Our ranches have hay ground, but we don’t plant crops that are harvested by combining.  If we plant barley or wheat we are going to cut it for hay.

The majority of the land in the far western corner of South Dakota is native.  The sod hasn’t ever been broken up.  The grasses are a combination of cool season and warm season grasses, but mostly warm season that puts pounds on calves and lambs.  We are cow country, but it takes a lot of acres to run these cows.  It takes an average of 30-35 acres per cow/calf pair.  In contrast, when visiting with some farmers/ranchers around Huron, South Dakota, they only need 3-5 acres.  What a huge difference just traveling a few hundred miles.

Traveling across the state we got to see sights that we don’t normally see at home… namely corn stubble fields.  Mile after mile in eastern South Dakota we passed corn stubble fields.  That is not a normal sight for the majority of our county.  We personally have no corn fields, or soybeans, or wheat, or peas, or…  You get it.  We don’t farm.  We do plant haybet barley for forage production.  We occasionally plant spring wheat for forage production, and there has been some millet for forage production, but for the most part our ground that has been broken up is all alfalfa grass mix.

IMG_1101The extent of our personal farming usually consists of just going over the existing fields to re-plant them.  The Big Guy went through several fields in the last couple of weeks.  They are ready for spring planting.  The smell of turned earth is wonderful.  Reminds me of eating a garden fresh tomato.  I know– I’m a little off, but it really does.  The turned earth is a  huge change of scenery as we are used to seeing grass.  While beautiful in its own way, I’m much partial to stirrup-high grass waving in the breeze.

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Whatever scenery one prefers and is used to, it is wonderful to be able to see some country and some diversity.  However, nothing like being home and watching the sun set from your own yard.  IMG_0866

Simple pleasures.

Until next time…  JARW