Category: Ranch kids

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

Fall Colors, Cowboy Style

As the leaves begin to turn their beautiful orange and yellow colors, you can begin to feel the chill in the early morning air. Fall approaches us this year with more items added to our “to do list.” Along with our horse and cattle operation and saddle business, my husband Matt, is a rep for Western Video Market. As per the customer’s request, he will travel to the location of where the cattle are, and video calves, yearlings or breeding stock. You can watch the sale on satellite TV or the Internet. When the seller and buyer agree on price and delivery date, the rep will go to location of cattle and help sort and load them. It is the reps responsibility to make sure the trucks are at the location to load, the cattle are the right weight, and all paper work is taken care of.

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The boys and I have had the opportunity to go with Matt and help. On one of our most recent video sales, we went to a beautiful ranch in Wyoming. It required us to stay the night so we decided to stay at a hotel so the boys could swim. The owner of the cattle asked us to help him gather the critters in a large field above his house. So we loaded our horses, kids and swim suits. It was the later part of the morning as we pulled into the corral, saddled our horses, and put on the extra coat we didn’t think we would need.

Fall gathering on a good horse.

We head out across the field aiming for the pine trees and mountains that lie ahead of us. The cattle are waiting in the mist, slowly milling around. The field turned out to be a rather large one. It took a large part of the day, the sun warming us up enough to take a few layers off. It was a great gather, the calves running and bucking, and cows bawling for their own, and we even got to rope a few stragglers that decided to turn back on us. No complaining here. It was a beautiful day, spent riding with my family, getting our young horses rode, and being reminded how blessed we truly are. We left them in a corral overnight so they would be easy to get to in the early morning to sort and ship. We had a nice evening, and the boys swam until their hearts were content.

The next morning came fast, a rather chilly one in fact! Matt and I sorted the calves from cows, making sure our counts each matched. The truckers were there, waiting patiently for their turn to load. The brand inspector looked the cows and calves over. Matt takes care of the paper work transactions, and we load the trucks. Away they go…

That job is complete, and now we go onto the next one…gathering our own cows. Happy Fall Y’all!

~ Jayme

Jayme lives in Shelley, Idaho, with her husband Matt, and their three sons. She was daddy’s little cowgirl being raised horseback on the family cattle ranch. 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 also a custom saddle maker.

Jayme also blogs at www.cavvysavvy.com where this post first appeared.

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

4-H and FFA: programs for all youth

4-H logoI grew up a farm kid in the rural Midwest, and was an active 4-H member. We had a great program, which rivaled others in the state for the quality. I credit so much of my success today, both personally and professionally because of what I learned in 4-H. It included life lessons like it’s probably not a good idea to hit your horse at the end of a showmanship pattern to get her to move (went from winning the class to a white ribbon), making life-long friendships (people from across the country I still love to visit with), and honing valuable skills (cooking, sewing, taking care of an animal, managing money and time, giving to others…the list goes on).

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One of my county 4-H fair steers, 1995.

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4-H gave me lots of experience in public speaking, 1994.

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Our daughter’s first county fair 4-H steer, 2012.

I am thankful for our county 4-H agent and the countless hours he spent teaching us kids, and hauling us to different shows and contests. In fact, it was a sad day in our county when he decided to retire. I watched and earned from the older members and, in turn, shared my knowledge with others as well. I’m also grateful for my parents and all the other parent volunteers who guided me along the way.

Some of my greatest childhood memories happened because of 4-H. My mom loves to remind me of how I would immediately fall asleep in the truck while she drove me to/from horse shows. I like to remember that time together also gave us a chance for lots of conversation. Either way, thanks for driving, Mom! I’m excited to share the 4-H experience with my own kids as well and looking forward to making new memories with them.

So in honor of National 4-H Week (Oct. 7-11, 2014), I [continue] to pledge my head to greater thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service and my health to better living, for my club, my community, my country and my world.

Another youth progrFFA logoam creating leaders across the country is FFA. Now the high school I attended didn’t have an FFA chapter, so I didn’t get to experience that program myself, but I know many past and current members. And because I wasn’t a member, I had never heard the FFA Creed. Well, that is until the other night.

I heard it given by an FFA member practicing for his national contest, and I was totally blown away. (In fact, it was the inspiration for this post.) For one, his delivery was articulate and engaging. And two, the words of the FFA creed give us a powerful message about self sufficiency, pride in ourselves, helping others, our work as agriculturists and the promise of tomorrow. So whether you are an aggie or not, I believe these are words that anyone can live by. Best of luck to those youth traveling to the National FFA Convention (Oct. 29-Nov. 1, 2014)

FFA Creed

I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.

I believe that to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging; for I know the joys and discomforts of agricultural life and hold an inborn fondness for those associations which, even in hours of discouragement, I cannot deny.

I believe in leadership from ourselves and respect from others. I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.

I believe in less dependence on begging and more power in bargaining; in the life abundant and enough honest wealth to help make it so—for others as well as myself; in less need for charity and more of it when needed; in being happy myself and playing square with those whose happiness depends upon me.

I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.

The creed was written by E. M. Tiffany, and adopted at the 3rd National Convention of the FFA. It was revised at the 38th Convention and the 63rd Convention.

Did you know? A Few 4-H and FFA Stats

4-H Membership:
• 70% Caucasian, 15% African American, 12% Hispanic, 2% Asian or Pacific Islander
• 2% American Indian or Alaskan
• 57% of 4-H members are from large inner cities, larger cities and their suburbs.
• 43% of 4-H members are from rural areas and towns with populations of 10,000 or less.
4-H meets the needs of youth. Number of youth enrolled in projects in these major areas include:
• 3,724,625 plants and animals
• 2,364,989 healthy lifestyle education
• 1,811,719 personal development and leadership
• 1,535,386 science and technology
• 1,250,635 environmental education and earth sciences
• 1,052,859 communications and expressive arts
• 680,425 citizenship and civic education
• 495,078 consumer and family sciences

FFA Membership:
• 67% of FFA membership is White; 22% is Hispanic/Latino; 8% is Black/African-American or American Indian; and 3% Asian, Pacific Islander or two or more races.
• FFA chapters are in 18 of the 20 largest U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago and Philadelphia.
• 92% of FFA chapters offer agriscience; 71% offer advanced agriscience and biotechnology; 59% offer agricultural mechanics; 49% offer horticulture; 43% offer animal science; and 24% offer environment-related.

4-H and FFA are not just for those in agriculture, but any youth wanting to gain valuable life skills.

~ Maggie

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