Thursday, December 16, 2010

Where did half the month go?

I'm not sure where the first half of December went. I know we have been busy out here getting things ready for winter, putting up protein blocks, hay and grain. The elves have been busy decorating the house and the kitchen has been in full use, but still how did half a month go by in what seems like a blink of an eye?

Part of the problem could be that after Thanksgiving and our snowy cold weather the temp went up to the the 50's during the day and it sure did not feel like December any more. Today, however is another matter. The high has not gotten out of the 30's and the snow started around 8 am after raining most of the night and has not stopped since. Now when I look out my windows it looks like Christmas.  Just wish it had looked like this a little sooner in the month and maybe then I would not be short two weeks.

Oh, well at least I still have one more week until Christmas is here.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mexican Chicken Soup

Alright here is the second recipe for the Have a Holly Jolly Christmas Recipe Swap at, make sure you stop by an visit as there are some great recipes posted by other ladies and friends.  This recipe is a great soup to throw together with little or no fuss, which this time of year is my favorite. Between breaking ice, plowing snow, the holidays and home schooling our days are full and dinner can get forgotten until the last minute. So fix you a bowl, enjoy with some cornbread, a fire in the fireplace and a holiday movie on TV.

Mexican Chicken Soup

4 chicken leg quarters boiled until cooked and cooled then shredded (This can be done ahead of time and kept in the fridge or freezer to pull out at the last minute)
3 cups water or chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can black bean, undrained
1 can mexi-style corn, undrained
Salt, pepper, cayenne, chili powder and paprika to taste

Mix all the ingredients in a large stock pot and heat through. Fix some cornbread or serve with your favorite bread. It is that easy, nothing else to do other than enjoy!

Don't have a picture to add, as the soup is all gone, so thought I would put in a picture of the snow that we have been looking at for the past few days!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cranberry Jam

Here is my recipe for Cranberry Jam that I made just a week ago, finally getting around to putting the recipe up on here and on fellow blogger Fresh from the Farm for her recipe swap.  Make sure you stop by her great blog also to catch all the other great recipes, crafts and holiday ideas being shared

Cranberry Jam

12 oz fresh or frozen cranberries
12 oz fruit juice (Cranberry, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Cherry or what ever is your favorite and the flavor you want to add to the cranberries
1 cup sugar

Mix the cranberries, juice and sugar in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the berries have burst and the sauce is thickened. You can let it cool down and then store in the refrigerator or multiple the recipe and can. One batch makes 3-4 half pints of jam. Just can it in a hot water bath for 15 minutes.

Enjoy on toast, bagel or English muffin for breakfast or with rolls and biscuits for dinner.

Hope you enjoy this recipe. One of my favorite for the holidays, ever since my husband's grandmother made it and gave it out for Christmas gifts.  Now I make a triple batch each year to have enough to last the year through.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Just the other day a conversation left me quite frankly speechless. Now those of you who know me well, would say that was impossible. Yes I know most of the time I have something to add or a comment to make, well that changed during a conversation with an acquaintance about ranch life, kids and home schooling.

I am always more than happy to answer questions about our ranch, the cattle industry, beef and kids. Such was the case with this conversation with "John Doe" who shall remain un-named so as to not offend anyone. The usual questions came about, how did you get into ranching, what type of cows do you have, do the kids like living that far from town, etc.  Then came the question "Why doesn't your oldest daughter have a job?" At first I thought they were joking, she just turned 13 after all, a little young for a job. When I realized they were not joking I told them all that she does to "work" around the ranch; feeding calves and horses, moving the herd, helping to brand, sort, vaccinate, ship, doctor sick calves, cut wood, break horses and all the other things a ranch kid helps out with around the ranch. John Doe then looked at me and said "No I mean a real job."

Here is where I reached the speechless part!  A "real job"? Really, all that stuff I just told him she worked at and helped out with was not a "real job"?  Boy would all of the cowboys, ranchers, wives, girlfriends, kids and countless others would find themselves speechless and in shock to find out that they were not working at a "real job"! Once I recovered from my speechless shock, I asked just what does a real job require?  How did they define a "real job"?  There response was of course something that you got paid to do and had to leave home to go to work.

It just kept getting better! I was by this time not speechless as a fire had been lit and the words where pouring forth. I then asked John Doe so if you work at home now that is not a "real job"?  What about the people who volunteer their time to help others? Do stay at home mom's not work?  At this point the man was unsure as what direction to take and was looking for a way out of the mess he had made for himself. After he left I was still shocked at someone thinking that ranch or farm kids don't work at real jobs.

I don't know about anyone else but our girls do just as much to help out on the ranch, age allowing, as the adults. Sometimes I think they do more, what with school, music, clubs and the like on top of everything else.
Am I worried that the girls will never get "real jobs"? No if they never go any farther than this ranch to work and raise a family they will have made a wonderful life for themselves and the next generation. The work ethic that kids learn on farms and ranches I think is second to none and maybe if more kids learned it this world would be a better place.

See I told you I am normally not left speechless with nothing to say!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Planning Thanksgiving

Well it is that time of year in which I start planning my Thanksgiving dinner. This year will be a little different as we are going to the hubby's Grandma's for actual Thanksgiving dinner. I'm waiting until the weekend to cook so that everyone can be here for the meal.

That being said we are having goose this year instead of the traditional turkey since I raised two in the backyard this spring and summer. They have been plucked and cleaned and are awaiting the day wrapped in butcher paper in the freezer.

Next on the planning schedule is making Cranberry Sauce, not the kind that looks like jello out of a can, but the kind that you can use as jam on the bread. Love this ever since the hubby's Gran Noe gave us a few jars for Christmas. Now it has to make an appearance on our table every holiday season.

Also a must for us is cornbread stuffing, no bread stuffing for us, we are too Southern for that ;). One thing I cherish the most is pulling out the recipe card for gravy. Why is that so special? Well you see it is my Grandma Bonnie's recipe for Giblet Gravy and if there is one thing that just speaks Thanksgiving to me it is that gravy. You see gravy is not my thing, most of the time it comes out lumpy and not very good and it is therefor made from a mix for most dinners. Not Thanksgiving though, for what ever reason Grandma's recipe always comes out just right, she must watch over me as I make it.

Of course for after dinner there is always pie, Pumpkin for the girls and Pecan for the hubby and this year my Dad. Will have to see who gets more of the Pecan pie, my Dad or hubby as they always fight over the whole thing. Maybe one of these years I will surprise them and make each their own!

No matter where you are planning to spend Thanksgiving or with whom I hope that it is filled with special memories, people and food. And in our house lots of football, in between taking care of all the cows, because they never take a holiday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Stuck between a rooster and a steer

Just when I thought I had enough going on in my life, what with homeschooling our girls, my own college classes, helping to run the ranch, all the book work, and as my friend Kacee says "skirtwork" the girls have started 4-H!
The meeting part is not so bad, one Wednesday a month in town, okay I think I can manage to swing that schedule. It might even mean time for me to get a real cup of coffee from Starbucks in the Safeway while the girls do their thing!

What is at issue in our house right now is the fact that our youngest, Reyanna, wants to show a steer just like big sis. Yeah I can just see little 6 year old Reyanna getting a 1200 lb steer to go where she wants in the show ring. We have been trying to explain all of this to her, but she is hard headed and thinks she is 10 feet tall and bullet proof!  Asked her the other day what about showing the rooster we have for our chickens, for a boy I have to say that he is pretty with his gold and bronze feathers. Well that suggestion promptly got a look that said "he is not a steer".
It has taken much work and talking on the part of the hubby and I, but finally we have gotten Reyanna to agree to show Reggy, the rooster, for 4-H next fall. The final straw was telling her that Reggy would be her's, oh and her sister's steer almost shoving her into the water trough one afternoon! She turned around and told the steer that "sister can have you, at least a chicken won't try and dunk me".  I guess it just goes to show that there really is no reasoning with a 6 year old that is stuck between a rooster and a steer.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Years Worth of Hard Work

As I take a few minutes to sit down at the computer this evening I think back to the past year and all the hard work that the hubby, the girls, the young man who works for us and myself have put in. For many farm and ranch families a years worth of work boils down to one day, sale day. For us that is tomorrow. The money is not why we do what we do, this not a job that you get rich doing. So why do it then? What follows is a list of some of the reasons I have come up with over the last three years.

1) I can let my girls run free in the yard and around the house and I don't have to worry about them being safe.

2) My hubby is fourth generation working this ranch and we want to be able to see the 5th and 6th generations working that same land.

3) Where else can a husband, wife and the kids all work the same job at the same time and spend as much time as they want together.

4) There is something about the only rush hour traffic jam is cows laying on the road when you are trying to get the kids to the bus stop in the morning.

Lastly, there is just something satisfying and comforting looking out from your porch and seeing the land where generations before you have come and gone, worked, loved and grew and know that you are part of that continuing story that even after you are gone the land will still be there providing for the next generation.

What are some of the reasons why you or your family are involved with agriculture or somethings that you have realized over time.  I look forward to reading others thoughts.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why We Do What We Do

Days like today and weeks like this past week give me the satisfaction and knowledge that the way of life, the industry and the heritage that we, as a family have chosen is right. I know I have been some what MIA this week from not only this blog but from those of you who are my friends on Facebook. Part of that is due to home schooling the girls and my own schooling for my teaching degree, but a large part of that is due to daily life on a family ranch.

For us on a daily routine, it is the hubby and one young hired hand that do the "heavy lifting" of the job, with the girls and I filling in when needed and we are able. During this time of year, that of fall gathering, sorting and shipping, it calls for all hands on deck. This week was just that. In years past, either the girls were in school or I was working in town and therefor unable to help the hubby unless the work fell on a weekend. 2010 marked a change for us as I was at home and the girls were home schooled, thus allowing us our own time table and schedule. The end result of this large change in our lives created a chance for our oldest daughter to help drive the herd 8 miles from the south end of the ranch to the holding pasture on the north end of the ranch with her dad and our help, Weston. Not only that, our youngest was able to ride by herself outside of the arena for the first time, helping dad to check the cows one morning during the week.

I am not sure that as a mom I am ready for my girls to grow up so fast, but if this week has taught me nothing else it is this: The next generation of ranching is in good hands, be they girls or boys, those of us who are sticking it out and making a go on family ranches this country over are offering to our children a way of life that is beyond compare.

I am proud to be not only a ranching wife, but even more so a ranching mom.  The ability to pass on our knowledge, our love and our passion to the next generation is just part of why we do what we do.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thinking of Spring

Spent the day after finishing the girl's lessons making apple sauce. First time I have tried this but it turned out really good. Good enough that I'm going to make a bigger batch tomorrow as I know the girls will plow through this in a flash. This has gotten me thinking of spring next year and what to put in my garden.

I have been thinking about planting a few fruit trees to add to my garden and after this summer's good luck with the garden and my canning it is safe to say that apple trees will be on that list. Trying to figure out what else to plant, cherries are a favorite for the family so they go on the list, a peach tree or two because they are my favorite fruit and I make jam with them. 

Want to try blueberry and raspberry bushes, but not sure if they will grow in this area. I know they will make it through the winter, if they can make it through in Alaska so I should have luck.

I figure if I start planning now I can have everything planned by the time I need to order my trees and plants. If nothing else it will give me something to dream about during the long cold winter to come!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Looking Back

Fall is on it way here and I know that winter is not far behind it. Not sure that I am ready for that yet as winter last year was one of the worst we have seen in a few years and it was another lesson for me about life and death on a ranch. The lessons were not all bad, we had our first Christmas calf and for the most part the herd came through a cold and heavy snow winter only a little worse for the wear. Of course seeing them now, you would never guess that the winter was bad, for they are fat and happy munching the day away in belly deep grass.

The one lesson that was the hardest was when I had to help with my first C-section. It was a cold clear morning at the end of February and we were just at the start of the calving season, so the hubby went out in the truck to cut the ice, put out feed and check on a cow that he had seen the evening before that looked to be close to having her baby. This was an older cow who had never had a problem before having a calf, so we were not too worried about her and in fact the hubby expected to find her that morning nursing a new baby.

My first hint that anything was wrong was when I got the call to get the vet bag, blankets, towels and get down to the pasture. When I got down to where the hubby was waiting for me he let me know that it looked like the cow had been trying to have the calf for a little bit of time and was just too tired to finish. The problem was my hands are the only ones small enough to get the chains on to pull the calf, but on that morning not even my small hands could fit. It was then that I was told to get ready, we needed to get the calf out and that meant a C-section.  Now let me say this, I have had C-sections myself, I really don't want to see what was done to me in the version of a cow! However there was no choice so I did the next best thing, I started to ask the million and one questions that I felt I needed to know, all the while the hubby is busy getting all of his surgical gear ready.

I made it through the actual C-sections to be handed a wet, slimy and squirmy little solid black calf with the instructions "Get it dried off and warmed up". Okay, I figured I can do this part: dry and warm, right.

We are still not sure what happened or why, but the calf did not make it that day. I got it dried off and it was bawling for momma as she was getting finished up from her part of the delivery. Then the next thing I know the little calf went limp in my arms and despite even trying CPR she did not make it. I held her as her heart stopped beating and then cried my eyes out. You see this was the first time that I was able to be right there when one of our calves was born and I lost her. Even all these months later just the thought of it is enough to bring tears to my eyes.  We buried her under a nice tree that day and I still visit it each trip to that pasture.

But what is taken away on one day is given on another, as a few months later I was able to help on another birth and I have gotten the joy to watch that baby grow in my back yard into the strong and pretty girl that she is today.
This picture was taken when Dot was just 1 week old, she was in our backyard since her momma did not have enough milk for her.

Not every lesson is easy to learn but some how it all works out in the end and it all reminds me to lean on my faith.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Fresh Squash and Pasta Recipe

Well, it is that time of year that those of us with gardens are starting to have an over abundance of fresh vegetables and we are all trying to figure out what to do with them. I know I have run through everyone of my recipes for squash, tomatoes, peppers and peas. So the other night for dinner I was faced with the problem of how to fix the yellow squash and zucchini in a different way that the kids would eat. Well this is what I can up with and not only did they love it, they wanted seconds and wanted to know when I would fix it again. Thought I would share the recipe with you for your family to enjoy.

Fresh Squash and Pasta

Pasta of your choice ( I used fettuccine)
2 yellow crooked neck squash cut into chunks
2 zucchini cut into chunks
1/2 large onion chopped
1 large bell pepper chopped
1 clove garlic chopped
For flavor use what ever spices or seasoning your family loves, for us I used a Cajun mixture along with Jane's Crazy Mixed Up Salt

Cook the pasta according to the directions and drain setting aside.

While the pasta is cooking, melt some butter in a large fry pan or cast iron skillet. Put in the onion, garlic and peppers and let them start cooking, Chop up the squash and zucchini and put them in along with the seasoning. Cook until the squash is cooked but still firm and slightly crunchy. Stir in the pasta and serve as a side dish.

My oldest asked me to next time add shrimp to the dish and just serve it as a main course, so this is another option for you.

Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cowboy Cooking

Now as a mother, teacher, wife, ranch hand and the various other "jobs" I have there are just nights that I don't want to cook. So one night, shortly after moving to the ranch I figured that the hubby could help out and fix dinner. He's a good cook, I mean he did manage to feed himself during the years before I came along and he runs a mean grill. Well I asked him what he wanted to cook and what he needed out of the freezer for it. His answer was stew and not to worry about it. I thought 'Cool, night off from the kitchen!'.

Yeah, what I did not know then was that when my hubby cooks "stew" it is Son of A Gun Stew, the same recipe that his grandfather use to cook. While this sound harmless, in my book stew should not contain beef kidneys, heart and what ever else strange meat was put in that night. Now I had been smelling this stew cook all day and I will admit that it did smell good and I was hungry by the time we all got around to sitting down to dinner. At that point in time I still did not know what "mystery" meat was contained in the dinner. It was not until I sat down with the bowl and started looking for my usual large chunks of beef that I thought to ask what was in Son of A Gun stew. It was then that my hubby, somewhat sheepishly, told me exactly what was put in to make this stew. While I am normally an adventurous soul when it comes to trying new food, that night the girls and I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner and hubby had enough stew to last him a week.

Now when the those nights come about where I'm too tired or still busy to cook I pull out leftovers from the fridge and everyone gets to pick what they want. It is safer that way. I have also learned that when you ask a cowboy to fix dinner and what do they need to fix it, if they tell you not to worry about: Worry about it, no telling what you are going to get.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Well, here is my first go at a blog, should be a fun ride I hope.

I did not grow up on a ranch or even around them, my dad was in the Air Force and while I was raised in Texas it was far from the ranching life. Then I met my husband and he changed my life when we moved three years ago to run the ranch that has been in his family now for five generations. Now I spend my days homeschooling our two daughters, helping out on the ranch in what ever way is needed, from extra cow hand to being a nurse for new born calves.
It has been an exciting ride so far and I don't figure it to slow down anytime soon!