Category: Ranch kids

Spring Blessings

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Mattson taking his cousin for a ride.

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The first ride on the colt he is breaking.

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Three of my favorite people.

The other day I was driving the truck while Matt was feeding the cows. The sun shining on my face, deer running up the mountain beside us, Dawson playing on the seat next to me, and it occurred to me how truly blessed we are to get to live the life we do. The opportunity to see a baby calf just be born and the mother lick him off and have that bond. The horses running across the top of the hill, their beautiful colors and long manes flowing making it a portrait worth painting. The breeze blowing enough to whistle through the trees playing a tune, the sound of the tractor purring, waiting to load the next bale, and the feeder calves thundering to the gate to let us know they are tired of waiting. Each day is a gift and a promise that God loves us and has blessed us with this life.

Our nieces came to visit one evening last week. They live in town, and don’t get to have interaction with the ranch life that often. Mattson has been riding a colt he started, so his good ol’ trusty horse has not been ridden for a while. Not that he needs to, but Mattson just doesn’t want him to think he likes the colts better than him. They have quite the bond those two. Mattson saddled up the good ol’ boy and climbed on. Just as he started to ride away from the barn, the girls, (the nieces) came driving up. They got out of the car, put their coats on and by the look in their eyes and big smiles on their sweet rosey cheeks, they wanted a ride! Mattson rode over to them, no questions asked, with a smile and a nod, loaded up one girl on the saddle with him, and away they went. They rode out in the field, her blond hair blowing in the breeze, and from the sound of the conversation, she had a lot to say! Mattson just nodded and smiled and let her have her moment of riding. Next it was the other girl’s turn. She loaded up and away they went. She didn’t have as much to say, but from her grin from ear to ear, she was so happy! She got to hold the reins and in her mind, that horse was doing whatever she told him to! It was priceless!

Just as they were riding back from the field, I heard Matt and Dawson coming back from checking cows. Dawson loves to check the momma cows to see if they have a new baby on the ground, and to see if it has “yicked” as he calls it, which he means to say “lick.” He says, “Yep, that baby is byack (black) again Dad.” (yes, our calves are black). A smile on his face, red nose, jeans tucked into his little cowboy boots, his rope in his hand, he started telling me all about their half hour long adventure that was as simple as anything, but was big as life to him!

Once again, in that moment, I thought about the little things that mean so much and are such a blessing! Mattson having the desire to start colts, to be kind to his cousins to take them for a ride. For a good broke horse that is so loved and part of our family. An opportunity to see the smiles on the girls’ faces. The time Matt gets to spend with Dawson doing chores and see new life be born, just to name a few.

Life is about change. In the next couple of months, we will have lots of change. Spring is here, changing the weather, the trees, the grass, and the ranching chores. Fences will need fixed, and the calves branded. Our oldest son, Jackson, will graduate high school, and get ready to attend college on a full ride football and track scholarship. Changes are a blessing, family is a blessing, and we all need to take a little more time and cherish the little things that are just simply so big!

Happy Spring Y’all!

Jayme

Jayme Thompson lives in Shelley, Idaho, with her husband Matt, and their three sons, Jackson, Mattson and Dawson. She was daddy’s little cowgirl being raised horseback on the family cattle ranch in Mackay, Idaho. Matt and Jayme have known each other since their early junior rodeo days. They are both 4th generation ranchers and have a cow-calf and horse operation. Jayme drives school bus, and helps Matt on the ranch in addition to chauffeuring kids. Matt is a custom saddle maker and a video representative for Western Video Market on the side.

Jayme also blogs at Cavvy Savvy, where this post first appeared.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch kids, Ranch Life

Saturday Adventures on the Ranch

Around here during the week my husband is off spraying field crops or weeds in the back country and I am busy visiting with ranchers about their nutrition programs, so that leaves most of our cattle working days to the weekend. Since the weather was so nice last fall and grass was plentiful, we were able to leave our herd out on pasture longer, with hay and protein supplementation. All summer and fall my husband Cody, our good friend, Tate, and I, worked on getting our new feeders set up and our corral finished. When we brought the cows home the end of December we were all so very excited to try out our new feeding system. As most things on a ranch go, the corral was near finished by the cows arrival, but not quite. We have never built a corral before. There are lots of ideas out there so we used parts and pieces of other corral plans and between all three of us, came up with a nice, simple design.

Cow desk!! Underneath/ shaded storage as well! Its the small things, right?

Cow desk!! Underneath/ shaded storage as well! Its the small things, right?

A well set-up corral can make working cattle safer and easier for all humans and animals involved. I had a few small requests, one of which was a place to set down vaccine bottles, a notebook, etc.

Beauty!

Beauty!

It was a lot of hard work, but earlier this month Cody sent me a picture of the final product and I was oh so excited! The next picture he sent was what he calls my “cow desk.” It almost brought me to tears! What is happening? Crying over a darn corral? Being a girl is the funniest thing sometimes. I think my excitement just got the best of me. Of course I described this finished product as beautiful and gorgeous, much to Cody’s dismay.

Cattle leisurely headed up to the circular part of the corral.

Cattle leisurely headed up to the circular part of the corral.

We recently gave our cattle a routine vitamin/mineral booster and a worm/parasite preventative and the new corral system worked great. It was an odd feeling to work your own cattle in a corral on your place and have zero previous experience. It was like driving a brand new rig off the dealer’s lot.

Mama cows waiting patiently.

Mama cows waiting patiently.

At the end of the day we gathered a few adjustments to be made, but it was a glorious feeling to have successfully used our new facility and see all our ideas come to life. Also, because I know you are dying to know, my “cow desk” was everything I ever dreamed of!

Cow desk is Mesa approved!  Yes, that is Elsa in her hand. Who doesn't love Frozen?

Cow desk is Mesa approved! And yes, that is Elsa in her hand. Her doesn’t like Frozen?!

She just HAD to have the blue shirt on.....

She just HAD to have the blue shirt on…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s always a great day when you can work cows safely and efficiently! Is there something you just found that makes your job easier? What are your Saturday adventures? We love to hear from you!

Next time I’ll share about my adventures with the sewing machine!

~ Diana

Categories: Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch kids, Ranch Life

Puppies, Gators & Year End

I’m looking out my office window reflecting on 2014 and wondering about 2015. Like everyone, the past few weeks have been full. You can see by this post’s title, we’ve enjoyed a few different things.

Puppies  Our middle daughter had been asking for a puppy for about blog-9a year.  She had her heart set on an Australian Shepherd, which in ranch country infiltrated by Border Collies, was not ordinary. Her Dad kept reminding her, “Not until one of the old dogs goes to Dog Heaven.” Not to be deterred, she posted Shepherd pictures on Pinterest, contacted breeders in Texas, and shared “puppy posts” with us at supper.

Then the Davis’ family, our neighbors up the creek, came to Dana’s aid. Like most rural families, our lives intertwine with 4-H, girl’s basketball and cattle. At a 4-H Leaders’ Meeting, Mrs. Davis confided that their Australian Shepherd female was “expecting” and the puppies might be ready by Christmas. Was Dana still looking for a Shepherd puppy? The Davis’ went to work to make this surprise happen.

blog-7The Davis’ girls and Dana play varsity basketball together. Dana kept asking the girls if they were going to have puppies anytime. The Davis’ girls kept replying, “I don’t know.” Secrets are pretty hard to keep around this neighborhood, but somehow the Davis’ girls pulled it off. Mrs. Davis called the day before Christmas with a plan. She said the puppies were ready to be weaned on Christmas. She and the girls would wash the puppies and bring them down, telling Dana “Santa delivered thepistol-7se to the wrong address.” Dana could choose from four Blue Merl females! It worked like a charm!

Even the old dogs have accepted the “new” kid. We’ve had fun with Pistol, except for the few “accidents” in my utility room!

Gators  After a month of blessed moisture, we were all getting a bit tired of the mud.   When it snowed last week, we were all glad to see something white and clean. After chores, the kids couldn’t wait to tie on to the Gator for a little snow time. I’m not sure who had more fun, the driver, the sledders or the Cow Audience! blog-15

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Year End  Like most ranch wives, our job descriptions change daily depending on the priorities and agenda. Simply put, many of us fall between two categories this time of year: “a Mom who does the books” or “the Chief Financial Officer of a diversified livestock operation.” As I looked at my desk and the year-end financials, I realized this CFO was also managing laundry, cooking a crew meal and relaying information between my husband and accountant! That is the joy of being a ranch wife. . .you never have to find something to do!blog-5

We are thankful for our blessings of the past year and look forward with hope. Welcome 2015!

~ Julie

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch kids, Ranch Life

Bedtime Stories

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This really is a mess of books, but I choose to affectionately call it our special bedtime story spot.

One of the most special things I cherish with my 2 1/2 year old daughter is reading bedtime stories. I often think she will grow tired of it and refuse, but each night she has a lighted expression when I ask if she is ready to read books. Heck, if I can get away with it I may read her bed time stories until she graduates! We all know that is just a mom dreaming, but I will drag this shenanigan out as long as she will allow it. Our routine goes as follows: we march into her room, kick the cat out of the chair, she picks two or six books from an overflowing pile, then she chooses the order in which we read them. About a month ago she let ME pick out books, which of course are either approved or thrown out anyway, but I sure felt special! Finally, with Mesa on my lap, we fill the next 15-20 minutes with lovely stories. We have many favorite books but I have grouped a few that I am sure have passed the million times read milestone.

The neat thing about books is they all have a story besides the one that is written on their pages. Second hand books are especially my favorite. Many of Mesa’s have inscriptions on the inside cover that are addressed to friends or family, hand-me-downs from generations. There are even a few that have scribbles from when I was her age. One of her favorites (which I may have influenced) that is not pictured is The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Who doesn’t love that book?!

These are just two that Santa will bring this year. I might have went a little crazy with ordering Mesa new books this Christmas. Eeeek! Its just so much fun!

“Once there was a tree…… And she loved little boy. And every day the boy would come
And he would gather her leaves And make them into crowns and play king of the forest.
He would climb up her trunk And swing from her branches And when he was tired, he
would sleep in her shade. And the boy loved the tree…..Very much,
And the tree was happy.”

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She is “reading” Clifford the Big Red Dog, to herself. Anything to delay bedtime!

Now, sometimes there are circumstances that force a book to be removed from the pile of options. My own mother warned me about this, when she told me she almost had to hide One fish, Two fish, Red fish Blue fish from me as a child. That darn Fox in Sox book may just get the boot.

“Clocks on fox tick.
Clocks on Knox tock.
Six sick bricks tick.
Six sick chicks tock.”

Thankfully Mesa doesn’t choose it very often, but I will tell you it’s a tough read! It’s a thoroughly mental taxation that comes at the end of the day, no less. Sometimes I am tempted to get it for a baby shower gift just to spread the joy.

Although I was never the kid who read our high school geometry book front to back, I do believe there is some magic within these pages. The way a hard bound creaks as it’s opened, the musty smell of the pages, maybe some food droppings or a page corner folded, it is all irreplaceable. The probability of Mesa reading mostly online or from an electronic device as she grows up is very high, however I hope she will appreciate sitting down with ol’ Mom and reading from the tattered pages of a book.

Do you have a favorite book to read to your children? Or maybe a favorite book from your childhood? Please share!

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Some of our current favorites. The bottom left book entitled Wombat, was a present to Mesa from our friends in Australia. Do you recognize any of these?

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As for me, if I have any extra minutes before bed, I have been reading on this book. I found it at my local grocery store of all places. Very Interesting read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~ Diana

Diana and her husband grew up farming and ranching. Now they own a crop and rangeland spraying business, and their own herd of cattle. Diana is a busy ranch wife and mom to a two-year-old little girl. When not helping with their spraying or cattle, she travels throughout north Idaho discussing feed programs with ranchers as a full-time feed consultant.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Lifestyle, Ranch kids

Ranch Wives

My grandma had 11 kids…… ELEVEN! I have one busy little 2 year old. I am convinced my grandmother is the most saintly person on this earth. While raising all these great people, her and my grandpa had the typical farm, complete with hogs, chickens, cats, dogs and of course, cattle. In later years, every spring and fall us grandkids, would drive the cattle herd from cow camp to the home place or visa versa, which took about two days. These memories are some of my most treasured. My cousins and I played hooky from school and when the bus approached we thought we were the coolest cats on the prairie as we led the bus through the cattle on our horses, waving at the kids that had to attend school that day.

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Our family. Photo credit to Jestine Hensley

The second best thing about long days helping grandpa with cows, was my grandma’s sandwiches. She would come with bread sacks full of them. Most were bologna, slathered with some white stuff and if she felt fancy, some cheese. They were the best sandwiches I had ever tasted. Now thinking back, it was probably just because we were so hungry. About a year ago I finally figured out her secret of Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise. Who knew!?

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Spring cattle work

This brings me to my topic of ranch wives. I am very early in my experience of being a ranch wife/mother, so I am constantly observing other gals that share the same lifestyle. I have concluded that ranch wives are a very special breed of women, like my grandmother, that have amazing skill sets that make newcomers like me, a little intimidated. They can cook, mend, clean, take care of the babes and husband, keep the place tidy, like a traditional wife. PLUS they chop wood, fix fence, memorize spring and fall vaccine protocols, ride, rope, hammer nails, castrate calves, drive truck—the list goes on. Sometimes they do all this and even hold down a full time job in town!

Growing up in agriculture definitely gives you a leg up, but I am sure finding a young gal that has mastered all those tasks doesn’t come around every day. If you find one, I’d recommend marrying her, quick!

See, I learned more about the outside chores from my mother than I did inside, which I am grateful for, but cooking did not come as naturally to me as some girls. I can burn dinner as good as anyone. Early on, I was more likely to kick in the oven door by the time all was said and done. Now I find myself mulling around in the kitchen trying new recipes any chance I get. Although I would rather be outside (as I’m sure most of us would) doing all the activities that create calluses or riding our ponies around, housework has grown on me. Not that any of us particularly care to do dishes or laundry, but there is an element of satisfaction knowing you have a clean house for your family to call home. Of course this balancing act is not narrowed to country folk; it’s any new wife or mother. We all share these times of trial and error, rancher or not.

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Moving the cows back out to pasture after weaning.

Our daughter Mesa, keeps my husband and I on our toes. We are in the process of fine tuning our negotiation and bribing skills. No matter the degree of meltdown, when we ask if she wants to see the baby calves, she always responds with a sniffle and a “yeah!” It warms my heart to see her enthusiasm towards an industry I am so passionate about. I hope she never loses it. I am a lucky gal to have had some strong female influences growing up and now Mesa has them as examples as well. You can bet that I will do my best to teach her the qualities of a ranch woman. Goodness knows we need more of them! Sometimes when I have planned ahead and have a meal ready for all of us after we come in from working cattle and I didn’t even mess up drastically, I feel like I am getting closer to being one of the many ranch wives I idolize. Ranch wives are tough and caring, bold and compassionate, full of grit and pride. They know when to stand their ground and when a caring touch is needed. There is no better group of women and I am fortunate to have them as family, friends and neighbors. I look up to these talented women and maybe someday I can earn a place among this bunch of cowgirls.

~ Diana

Diana and her husband grew up farming and ranching. Now they own a crop and rangeland spraying business, and their own herd of cattle. Diana is a busy ranch wife and mom to a two-year-old little girl. When not helping with their spraying or cattle, she travels throughout north Idaho discussing feed programs with ranchers as a full-time feed consultant.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, Ranch kids, Ranch Life