Archive: October 2014

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.

cattlewoman on horseback

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 where this post first appeared.

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

Country Beef Sausage Burritos

I’m not a big breakfast eater, but they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And I have tried to get better at making sure my kids who need good nutrition to fuel their day of school and play, as well as my husband, who needs energy for his work on the ranch, have something to eat that they all will enjoy.

Earlier this year we received our annual Idaho Beef Council calendar. I always enjoy looking through the months to see what recipes they are featuring. I know beef might not be the first protein you think of for breakfast (me neither), but on one of the pages I found a recipe for Country Beef Sausage. And since we have a lot of ground beef in our freezer, I thought I’d give it a try. My family loved it! In fact, I made biscuits and gravy with it as well as Breakfast Burritos.

The other day I had some hamburger I had cooked up, a half a bag of tator tots and some tortillas. I decided it would be a good idea to put together a batch of burritos to have in the freezer. Easy for my hubby to grab as he heads out the door for his day. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled depending on how big a crowd you need to feed or how many you want left in the freezer.


I mashed up the tator tots and cooked them a bit. I removed them and put them on a plate while I warmed the beef (mine was already cooked and drained) and added my seasonings. (see full recipe below) I also added diced yellow bell peppers and chopped onions. I added back the potatoes and mixed it all together, making sure everything was heated through. It makes a great hash all on it’s own too. You could add some scrambled eggs as well.


I spooned some mixture into a tortilla. There is an awesome local bakery that makes the best homemade tortillas! I added some chopped fresh cilantro and some shredded monterey jack cheese.


Fold up the tortilla then place it in a non-stick skillet. I don’t add any fat, oil or butter. I just crisp up each side a little.


A yummy, on-the-go breakfast with BEEF!


Country Beef Sausage Recipe (courtesy Beef Checkoff)
It’s easy to double the ingredients if making it for a crowd. I also like to make it ahead of time and have it in the freezer to pull out for different recipes.

1 pound ground beef (96% lean)
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage or 1/2 tsp. rubbed sage1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper

Mix seasonings and fresh ground beef lightly, but thoroughly to incorporate the spices. Brown ground beef mixture and cook thoroughly (temp of 160 degrees) and drain if necessary. Yields about 2 1/2 cups of beef crumbles.

You can mix in other ingredients like shredded hashbrowns, eggs, cheese, peppers, onions or whatever else your family might enjoy.

~ Maggie

Categories: Beef, Recipes

Poblanos and Beef

I love to cook. I love to experiment in the kitchen too. In fact, to me a recipe is a mere suggestion. I take from or add to depending on ingredients I have on hand or what my family likes and dislikes. My dad is a lot like that. He’s always adding a little of this, a little of that. My mom prefers a recipe to follow exactly. That’s why she’s the baker in the family; she makes THE BEST sugar cookies ever!

Well, moving on to my point. I enjoy being in the kitchen and getting creative, so lately I’ve been trying to figure out some different recipes. At first I hesitated to share recipes because I don’t always have precise measurements, but I think everyone can gain confidence to cook this way. I hope to give you enough details that you’ll want to try them out and can even experiment a little yourselves!

We love fresh fruits and veggies around here. I would love a garden to grow my own; every year I think we’ll plant one, but alas I haven’t been to get that goal accomplished yet. Some day, but until then I’m happy to head down to the local farmer’s market to grab some fresh fruits and veggies during the summer and fall. During the other times of the year I have no problem buying fresh produce at the grocery store, but when the market is open, I love supporting the small family business in town.

I’ve cooked with peppers quite a bit—bell peppers that is. My family loves to eat them fresh or cooked in other dishes. But one pepper I’ve always wanted to try was Poblano peppers. Not that is hard to do or mysterious or anything, but something I just hadn’t tried. The other day when I was picking up produce, I decided to give them a try.

Roasted Poblano and Beef Burritos

First I washed the peppers. You know they are super fresh and straight from the plant when they are still covered in dirt! Then, I put them under the broiler for 6-8 minutes. I checked to see if they had roasted all over, then added additional minutes until there was a nice char on all sides. Next, I put them all in a brown paper bag to help them sweat. This loosens the skin so it’s easier to peel.


While the peppers were roasting and sweating, I browned ground beef with some garlic and chopped onion. No matter what leanness of hamburger I’m using, I always drain the meat. Now here’s where you get to experiment as you add other ingredients to your stuffing mixture. Variations I suggest include black beans, corn, shredded cheese, cream cheese, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic salt, onion powder. Add what you or your family like in the desired amount and mix until heated through. Really, I promise, you can not mess this up. Start with a little and add to it as needed. I didn’t add in beans this time, but did add some red bell pepper.


Poblanos are a mild pepper, but they can have some heat to them. I used plastic gloves just to be safe. Nothing fun about pepper juice in the eye! After they had cooled some, I made a slice in each pepper. I stuff a couple peppers with the ground beef mixture and pulled the sides back around to hold in all the stuffing. I sprinkled them with cheese then put them under the broker again for a few minutes. I added a touch of fresh cilantro then served these to my hubby for lunch. He thought they were delicious! It would also be easy to dip them in an egg mixture then flour and fry them up for Chile Rellenos (think I’ll do that next time).


I had some leftover tortillas so I decided to wrap my chile (filled with the beef mixture) inside the tortilla. I put the burrito in a dry, non-stick skillet and browned it on all sides. I decided this is the way I like them best— no need to add extra fat or calories with oil, but giving them a nice crunch and texture.


I hope next time you’re at the farmer’s market or your grocery store, you’ll grab some peppers and give this recipe a try. Let us know what you came up with! Leave us a comment on this post or on our Facebook page. Enjoy!

~ Maggie

Maggie and her husband raise their four children and registered cattle on his family’s southwest Idaho ranch. As a family, they enjoy sports, showing cattle, 4-H, church and other activities when not working on the ranch. She likes to experiment with recipes in the kitchen, shares her love of sweets through baking with her children and has been known to start a DIY project every now and then. Sometimes she actually finishes one.

Categories: Beef, Recipes

Gathering the cows

I heard Skeeter’s pickup drive by the house, I looked at my alarm clock and it was 6:23 a.m.  Oops, I didn’t set my alarm and didn’t hear James’. I could hear James in the shower. We were supposed to be up and ready to head to Willow Creek for day one of gathering cows. I jumped out of bed and went to the kitchen to make sandwiches and put together a meager lunch for the crew. I could hear my father’s voice saying, “We’re burnin’ daylight.” I checked with JJ to see if she was going to be able to go with us or if she had to stay for volleyball pictures. I was delighted when she said she didn’t have pictures and encouraged her to get moving. She had a volleyball game Thursday night, early volleyball practice Friday morning, went to the Gooding vs. Melba football game Friday night and got home after midnight.  Needless to say, she wasn’t jumping out of bed.


Cows and calves are summered in the mountains. In the fall, the family gathers them up and brings them to the home place to wean the calves.

Skeeter caught the horses in time for the horseshoer to show up and set one of Rocky’s shoes. Once that was done, Rocky, Cash and Boone were loaded and we headed north to Willow Creek, a little less than an hour away. Again, not the early start we had hoped for, but we were finally headed to our destination. We met up with Ben, Bruce and Bruce’s dog, Meg, at the south end of the allotment where several pair had been taking advantage of the water and green feed the August rains brought us.

And so it began—up the hillside, picking up cows along the way headed north towards the cabin and the upper meadow field. We had several tree and brush filled draws to clear along the way. We managed to flush out a deer that headed around the hillside and appeared to be on a collision course with Skeeter and his horse, Boone. She headed straight up the hill when she got a glimpse of them. Even with the occasional cow bawls, horse whinny’s and Bruce saying “that’ll do, Meg,” it was very peaceful and seemed like you could hear the faintest of noises.

About halfway we met up with Rishelle, Kris and Kris’ dog, Skye. They had left from the cabin and rode through Hagan Canyon. They reported seeing a few pairs, but they went further up the canyon, eluding them. We developed another game plan. Ben, Kris and Skye headed west further up the hillside and would drop down into the orchard, named for the lone apple tree in the area. The rest of us continued north pushing the 30-some pair we had gathered along the way. We made it to the meadow field near the cabin and barn, clearing the five head in the horse pasture.

We began eating our lunch and watching for Ben and Kris to come down from the orchard with any cows they gathered along the way. When we saw the head of the first cow poke around the side of the hill, we mounted back up and went to help. A rough count gave us 47 pair and 2 bulls, which included a number of animals that didn’t belong to us. That means we didn’t have everything. Guess this is day one of 2014 gathering.

~ Dawn

gatheringHerefords_JBBALDawn and her family raise registered Herefords near Gooding, Idaho. Her great grandparents began a legacy of raising cattle in Idaho. She and her husband, James, and their two children continue producing range-ready bulls for commercial cattlemen. They enjoy working together as a family and the ranching lifestyle.

Categories: Blogging, Idaho Cattlewomen, 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).


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


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


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