Author Archives: Ranch Wife

About Ranch Wife

Just a ranch wife that loves her life!

Catching Up

IMG_8080Oh my!  Where to even begin.  It has been so long since I updated my blog, in fact, it has been an embarrassingly long length of time. Life, as all of you know, can get crazy and time runs away.  I’ll try to start with some highlights of what has happened around here over the last few months.

This is how our day started on March 15th.  The Wild Child and I were putting out pairs.  We 2015-03-15 17.22.10had just pushed two pairs through the gate and she said she was going to lope up the hill and locate more pairs.  I snapped this picture with my phone as she loped up the hill.  Pretty soon she came loping back towards me and then turned and headed towards the feed ground/water tanks, etc.  I wasn’t that worried and started loping behind her telling her to pull up and wait for me.  Then things went from bad to worse.  There were lots of cows on the feed ground, many that started running when she came loping through.  Dollar, the horse that she was riding, then started working and chasing the cows to turn them back.  My Wild Child made it about another 1/4 mile after losing her stirrups before she finally bounced off.  I ran up, bailed off my horse, and she jumped up and just stated “Mom, you need to help me.  I think I broke my arm.”

2015-03-16 07.49.26Poor kid.  I told her she probably didn’t break it and that it was probably just sore, and then slowly pulled her jacket down off of her shoulder.  I didn’t have to pull it down very far to realize that yes, she had indeed broke her arm.  I just pulled her jacket back up, pulled off my shirts, and then used my turtle neck to bind her arm to her body assuring her that it would help it feel better.  Thank heavens for cell phones.  I called Pine and told him to bring the mule and another rider.  He picked us up and we headed for home, and then for the emergency room.  Diagnosis:  Fractured humerus.

 At this point, she has only been out of her cast since May 26th.  She was casted for a little over 10 weeks. The weight of the cast pulled the bones back in line, and now they have to knit back together.  She is not casted, but her arm is not yet healed.  We go back to the doctor at the end of July.  She has had to miss some of her favorite things… riding, sorting pairs, getting pairs out to summer pasture, some youth rodeos, and getting to ride.  She can’t play softball.  She can’t ride her bike.  Basically, she is not supposed to do anything that could cause her to fall and catch herself, thus putting pressure on that upper arm and potentially re-breaking it.

2015-03-23 13.15.44 The cast didn’t slow her down much.  She was thrilled to still be able to do chores every morning, be my chauffeur, ride her horse, hold her sweet new niece (my beautiful granddaughter), walk through pairs, and many other tasks.   2015-04-14 09.59.35
Most importantly for her, she got to wrestle calves with her brother. The non-cast, though, has definitely slowed things down.   We hold our breaths when she runs across the driveway hoping that she doesn’t trip and fall.  We hold our breaths when she climbs a fence or runs and jumps on the beanbag.   We don’t hold our breath and smile with happiness when we watch her rope the dummy and being happy to have her roping arm back.
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 So we wait for more healing, and count our blessings that her injury wasn’t worse.

Until next time. . . JARW


Naked Calves


 “I hate naked calves, Mom!”

I couldn’t agree more.

A naked calf in our world means we have failed.  It means that no matter how hard we tried, no matter what we did, a calf died.  It also means that a momma lost her baby, but it often means she will get a second chance at being a momma for another calf that needs her.  This is where the ‘naked’ part comes in.

 Just like in humans, changes in progesterone and estrogen levels initiate calving.  Oxytocin levels released during calving triggers the cow’s maternal instincts.  When their calf is born, the cow will lick it off.  This bonding process helps the cow to “always” (in a perfect world) be able to find their calf by learning their smell. There will always be a cow that won’t claim her calf, or a cow that seems to never know where her calf is.  Fortunately, these are few and far between.

IMG_7745When a cow loses her calf, often times we will graft another calf on to her.  This means we try to get her to claim the other calf as her own and raise it; essentially, she will adopt the new calf.  This helps to retain the cow in the herd by keeping her milking and raising a calf.  This new calf is often a twin calf from another cow, or a calf that has been removed from its mom for some reason.  There are many reasons a calf may be removed from her original mother.  In some cases, the original cow won’t own her calf and, at times, will even try to kill it.  In some cases, the cow is having problems with her milk supply… either has bad milk or no milk.  In other cases, the cow might be hurt or crippled for some reason and unable to raise her calf.  There are all examples of why a calf might be placed with a new mom.

Cows have an incredible sense of smell and uses it to find which calf is hers.  Because of this, sometimes the hide from the dead calf will be used to help graft the new calf.  We remove the hide from the dead calf from one side, up over the top of the back, and down the other side.  This creates a blanket-like hide that we can then attach to the calf that we want to graft.  We will put this blanket on the new calf and let the new mom smell him.  If all goes well, she will eventually claim this calf as her own after a day or two and the hide blanket is removed.  IMG_7752 There are other tools to help graft a calf.  Some people rub iodine on the cow’s nose, as well as the back of the new calf thus masking the calf’s smell and helping the cow correlate the smell on her nose to the smell of the calf.  Other people replace the iodine with vanilla.  There are also “tools” in the marketplace that all profess to be best at helping graft a calf.  Like anything, everyone has a different preference.  However, almost all of these tools help mask the replacement calf’s smell and help the cow learn to “own” the new smelling calf.



Until next time…JARW

Dreaming of Summer

I’m dreaming of summer… even fall!  Just not winter.  I’m pretty much being a baby as we have some beautiful days coming, but tonight…. It’s cold out there!!   What’s not to love about days like these pictured.  Watching the Wild Child ride off next to her dad always makes my heart happy.IMG_6333 IMG_6337 IMG_6343

The Wild Child and her Papa riding out.IMG_6360

The Wild Child and her dad riding back to the trailer.  She was expounding on how she felt the day went.

And now… with lots of new babies on the ground that I have yet to take any pictures of, I thought I would share a few pictures I took last fall of some of our “babies”.IMG_6387 IMG_6388 IMG_6395I tore the tailgate off of the pickup a couple of weeks ago.  Well, actually, I mangled the tailgate and then removed it from the pickup.  I didn’t actually “tear it off”.  The result is the same.  2015-01-24 07.00.29There is a mangled tailgate that is no longer attached to the pickup.  Ugh.  I followed that up by pulling up to the house to unload groceries, opening door to several bags falling out and pouring their contents on the ground.  Then, just to make sure I completed my day of yuck, I put the pickup away and walked my in-law’s mail into their house only to find that I had left their mail at our house and taken our mail to their house.  2015-01-24 07.00.18At this point I just started laughing.  It was either that or cry.  Nothing to cry about, no one hurt or suffering, so I chose laughter.  It was a good choice and one that I need to choose more often.

Lizzie, the paint horse that the Wild Child has been blessed to get to ride the past few months, cut her foot just2015-01-14 14.48.01 above her hoof while pawing at a fence on Christmas Eve.  It ended up having to be sutured and casted, and then Miss Lizzie was on “barn rest” for a few weeks.  She wasn’t too pleased with us.  She wanted out to hang out with her friends.  The day finally came to get her cast cut off.  She was a rock star.  The vet said she was the first horse ever that he didn’t have to sedate to cut the cast off.  Way to go, Liz!  It was after I had unloaded Lizzie that I tore the tailgate off.  I had pulled the trailer in line with the other trailers to unhook it and couldn’t find my block.  I called the person that had hooked the trailer up that morning to find out where he had hidden my block.  It had been frozen to the ground.  At this point, in the dark, I was crawling around with my flashlight under the pickup and the trailer trying to find the missing block.  It was then that I realized I had pulled back in to the space where the cattle pot had been sitting that morning, not the horse trailer.  So what’s a girl to do but jump in the pickup and pull around to the right spot.  UGH!!!  Yes— with the tailgate open.  My costly little mistake.  Rats!

2015-02-16 20.37.00This has been our life for the last three weeks.  Calving heifers and cleaning barns.  Thankful for my cute helper.

Until next time…. JARW

Oh, one more thing!  Look at these awesome projects my friend has been working on.  The pipes are cool, but the buffalo horn!  Awesome!
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Merry Christmas

Christmas 2015My good friend, Jody, sent this to me some time back.  I loved it then and love it every time I go back and read it.  She found it on this website:

Let’s focus today, not on our “have-nots” and wants, 
but rather on our “haves” and present blessings. 
Why not take a moment right now to pause and thank God 
for the place He’s given you to live?
Accept your home and be content in it. 
Offer it to the Lord today to do with as He pleases and ask Him 
to send His creativity through your home as you use it 
to serve your family and all those He will send your way.
Don’t be ashamed of your things, for in them lie possibilities.
Remember what Jesus was able to do with water (turn into wine) 
and a few fish and a few loaves of bread (fed a tiny city)– 
He is able to do anything with what you bring to Him in faith.

Merry Christmas, JARW friends!  How blessed I am to have “met” so many of you through the past year.  May your Christmas holiday season be filled with love and laughter.

God Bless,

Just A Ranch Wife

Happy LATE Thanksgiving


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.


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.


Heifer calvesIMG_6487

Granny & Papa checking out calf weights while shipping.

Heifer calves coming off of the truck.

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


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.


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.


Where the magic happens… and shit.


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.

The breakdown gave Gary a chance to clean up his glasses and wipe off the rain.

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.

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