Monday, March 26, 2012

Just Your Typical Day on the Ranch ~2

It all begins when you wake up slightly later than you intended. This, of course, throws your whole day out of whack.  Well, maybe not totally out of whack, but most of it.  As you take your first sip of nice, hot coffee and feel the warm liquid going down your throat and spreading throughout the rest of your body, one of you family members comes in (bounces in, more like) and tells you that you're working cows today.  No problem. Let me just wake up a moment, read my Bible, and we'll get to work on them bovine.

After breakfast, Mama and the boys headed out to round up the cattle. Becs and I stayed inside to clean up after breakfast and get a bit of lunch prep done. Then, I worked on a few other things (school, cleaning, etc) until we saw Mama and the boys arrive with a bunch of cows following them.  Well, the cows weren't just following the humans. That would be... weird. They were following the feed truck, which held the humans. There, that makes better sense! :-) Our cows LOVE the feed truck because it dispenses this wonderful, tasty meal for them called, you guess it, feed.  Boy those cows love it!

Well, I headed out to work the cows. The wind was blowing about 60mph, the sandy dirt blowing ever'where!  As I walk out to the barn to get into the corrals, I can feel the dirt hitting my legs like a ton of tiny little darts. I begin to feel the grit in my shoes as I walk.
(Yes, our dogs were getting in the way... course, in the picture, those dogs are doing what they're supposed to be doing... not getting in the way!)

Once out in the corrals, it's time to push the cows from the 'trap' (a large pen that leads directly into the pasture) into the smaller pen. From the smaller pen, we push them into the alley way. Now, there is a mix of cows and heifers that we'll be sorting. Cows are older mommas, and heifers are female cattle that haven't had a calf yet.  We're sorting the heifers off so that we can put them on some feed and fatten them up a bit so that they'll breed.

Cows won't breed if they're too skinny. Just a work of nature. If they can't care for the calf because they can't produce enough milk, their body automatically shuts down to any breeding. Quite frankly I think it's pretty ingenious. Now, I wonder Who could have come up with something as wonderful as that? ;-) Ok, sorry for the sarcasm.

The heifers aren't used to being sorted and pushed into pens, so they take a while to calm down and just go where they're supposed to. If you ever need to learn patience (Or learn how to laugh), come work with a bunch of cows. Don't know if I said that before, but it's worth saying again! ;-)

Any how, we finally got them all into the alley way.  This is a long narrow 'pen', if you will. Kind of like a hall way, and the gates to all the other pens are like doorways in this 'hall'.  So, we use this to sort the cattle.  One person sorts a cow or two off from the larger group at the top of the alleyway. He then pushes them down to the next person who pushes them to the 'gatekeepers'.  Those of us who get stuck with the gate job are running the gates either open up a gate to let the cow in, or close it and step aside so that the cow will run by us into the next person's gate, etc.

Quite an interesting process, especially when several cows bolt from the big group, but only one needs to go in my gate, while the others have to go the gate behind me.  It's up to me, then, to stop them and try to sort off the one (while I'm still holding onto the gate and keeping the other cows who have already been sorted off from going BACK to the group), or I can send 'em back to Dad (who usually does the sorting) and he'll take care of it.

Well, this time we just have one gate we're sorting with. The cows go into it, while the heifers go by to the back of the alley.  Now, the heifers like to stay with the big group with their mommas, so they don't take too keenly to us putting them in a pen by themselves.

The wind was blowing dirt, the cows were kicking up dirt, and by this point, I can barely see.  Any time I bite down I feel grit in my teeth.  Oh, and it doesn't help that I've got a runny nose, either.  So, trying to open my eyes so I can see where the cows are, but also trying to keep the dirt out, is one of my main focuses. I sort for a bit while Mama runs the gate and Caleb pushes the cows I sort off down to her (we have the extra 'pusher' more for getting them down to the gate quickly than anything.

The older cows, and heifers who want to sniff at everything between the sorter and gatekeeper, tend to be REALLY SLOW and that means that the sort can't sort off any thing else...yeah)

Ok, so picture this going on for a while (or probably 30-45 minutes from getting them into the pens, to the alleyway and then sorting them).  All while the wind blows the dirt up in our faces. Not fun.

Well, after we sorted them, we decided that we'd had enough of the wind. We put the heifers out to the pens and trap, where they could get to feed and water, and then headed inside.

The next morning you wake up, your sipping that wonderful coffee again, try to blink away the grogginess and dirt leftover from yesterday out of your eyes when your sibling comes and informs you that all the heifers somehow got out and are back out in pasture. Now, did they just get out into an empty pasture? No, of course they went back with the cows. So, the process began all over again. Rounding up, pushing, sorting.  Thankfully, the weather was much more favorable. No wind, just a little breeze every once in a while.

After all that was done again, we had to run them through the chute and re-tag them with their own numbers (remember how when they're born we give them a tag with their momma's number written on it?). After that, we weigh them. Once everything's done, we turn them back out to their pen again (making sure all the gates are properly shut this time!) and voila. There you have a wonderful idea of what it's like working cows! ;-)

So, uh, we're hiring... if anyone's interested... ;-) haha!

Oh, just in case your curious where your meat comes from....

And one last word from my sponsor...

In Christ's Service,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

I've been tagged!

My good friend, Carolyn, has tagged me.  Thanks Carolyn!!

Ok, so the rules:

1. Post the Rules
2. Post a picture of yourself and 11 things about yourself
3. Answer the questions in the original post (the ones given you by the tagger)
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag
5. Go and tell them that you've tagged them

Here goes!

11 things about me:

(Sorry that is such a bad picture.. it was the only one I had...)

1. I always eat my apple slices from the bottom up. Never the other way around. ;-)
2. I love music. I love to listen to it, play it, sing it.
3. Hanging out with friends is one of the things I love to do. Let's party, people! ;-)
4. I have never broken a single bone.  Well, we kind of wonder if I broke my toe when I was little, but we're not sure.
5. I LOVE creamed cabbage. It's. The. Best! 'Nuff said.
6. Finding things that I remember from my early childhood makes me smile.
7. I have been to 5 different states.
8. Whenever I go shopping for myself, I always have to get something for the members of my family... don't know why, but I just can't go home without bringing them all a lil' something.
9. I always wanted to learn how to play the harp.
10. Even though I'm the 'queen of random' (some folks would call me that!), I'm having a hard time coming up with things to put on this list! haha!
11. I've always liked to climb trees.  Even now I sometimes get the urge to 'go climb a tree'.

Alright! I finished the list! ;-)  Now I get to answer the questions that Carolyn has made up for me to answer.

11 Questions to Answer:

1. How is your dream kitchen decorated? Ooh.. I don't know for sure.  Probably slightly vintage...but with modern appliances. I like really pretty wood cabinets, and wood floors.. Then maybe a pretty granite coutertop. I'd probably paint it a nice yellow, or some other cheery color. I'd want it to be an inviting place, lots of counter space. :-) And I might go with a theme.. like roosters, or something like that. :-)

2. If you had to be born in a different decade/time, when would you be born and why?  Hmm... Let's see. I always thought it would be fun to be born in the Regency era, attend balls, and wear fun dresses... and Gentlemen were just that. Gentlemen! But then, I'd be a maid (realistically), or someone in a lower station. And, I wouldn't be alive... or I'd have brain damage, which, back then, would be like not being alive. So, I really like how advanced we are in medicine today!  Another era would be medieval, but only the kind that is what we paint it out to be. It really wasn't glamorous, not like the books make it sound... haha!

3. What is your most cherished possession? Probably my notebooks.  I've got everything in there from letter drafts, to book ideas, to my random little thoughts about life. I rarely go anywhere without them!

4. If you could go back in time and meet one famous person, who would you meet and why? Ooh, another hard question.  Let's see. To be able to live when Jesus was here would be pretty neat.  But, I'm afraid I might have been one of the unbelievers...  I always thought it would be cool to meet Roy Rogers, or Carey Grant. I'm not totally up to par on famous people... ;-)

5. Least favorite household chore? Cleaning out the fridge. It's not bad when we've kept up with it on a regular basis, but if, for some reason, it gets left for a long period of time, then it's miserable.

6. Favorite Vacation you have been on: When, where, and why was it your favorite? Well, our family hasn't ever gone on huge vacations. I don't mind that at all. :-) I like to stay home. In any case, I do remember the one when we went down to Corpus Christi, TX. That was fun because we stayed in a little house that was just a few feet away from the sea. We walked down there every day.  Then, we went to a drive through animal park, where you can feed the different animals these cake cubes (just like we feed our cows).  The Zebras were the best, I think. :-) They'd stick their head right in the window and pop open their mouth and just wait for you to put a cube in. It was fun. And that is also when we went to Six Flags. That was fun, even though I'm not keen for the big roller coaster rides. I rode the kiddie one with Caleb over and over again. ;-)

7. How do you eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup? Um... I unwrap it, pop it in my mouth (or sometimes I'll take several bites out of it), then I fold up the paper cup, smooth out the foil part and fold that up as well. :-)

8. Favorite band/singer when you were 16 years old? I think that would be Steven Curtis Chapman. I've loved him since I was little, little.

9. If you were given $500,000 how would you spend it? Hmm.. I'd probably buy a new ranch truck for dad, pay off all the bills, then buy myself a truck, and then go visit out of state friends with the family, and put the rest into savings.

10. Weirdest name for a pet you/your family has ever had? Guess. No, I'm not telling you to guess. That was a cats name. It was fun to get our friends with that one!  So, that name or else a cat that I named "Pookie". Don't ask why. ;-)

11. What are 5 things you like about yourself? That I can typically make people laugh. That my quick wit is finally developing......... Um, can't think of much else. ;-)

I tag:

Lily Marie

If you don't want to participate, that is perfectly fine. :-)

Ok, my 11 questions for those that I've tagged (even if I didn't tag you, feel free to do it any how!)

1. What is the story behind your name (if there is one.. you know, like you were named after a distant relative, or whatever)
2. What is your favorite food to fix or eat?
3. What is your favorite family activity?
4. A favorite pastime?
5. Your favorite book and why?
6. Your least favorite thing to do?
7. Why did you start blogging?
8. What is a song that has lots of meaning to you?
9. Your favorite Bible verse and why?
10. What is a place you'd most love to go to?
11. What sorts of posts do you most enjoying reading on blogs you follow?

Happy blogging, friends!

In Christ's Service,

P.S. We rounded up cows today and had to sort them... it doesn't sound too bad, but throw in 50mph winds, and fine sandy dirt blowing so that you can barely see (not to mention that its getting in your eyes).  Not so fun any more. ;-)

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Howdy y'all!
  It has been a rather long time since I have posted.  Believe it or not, I actually didn't know what to post about. I know that comes as a shock to some of you... ;-)  Actually, was I quite determined to get something posted because I missed getting all the lovely comments from my readers! :-)

So, first off, I don't know if I ever mentioned that I had fallen through the hole in someones house and scraped up my knee pretty badly. Any how, I did, but it healed up nicely (after a long time.. it was bruised, too).  Well, we had the pleasure of attending a theatre in town to watch Anne of Green Gables. It was beautifully done and really fun to watch.  Actually, it was just kind of nice to get to WATCH a drama play instead of act in it. Great to get some good ideas and see some wonderful acting (a good way to improve your own acting is to watch good actors!) Any how, I happened to fall on the rough carpet during the break in-between act 1 and 2 and scraped up my knee... same knee.  Unfortunately I have to keep it slightly bent or else it hurts. So, I've been walking around limping on tip toe on that foot! Pretty interesting.. or not. I guess that was kind of boring, but it was kind of something to post about. ;-)

But, as my post isn't titled 'injured knee', I shan't bore you any more on the subject.  I'll bore you on another one. :-)

Lately we've been doing a bit of cleaning around the house.  We've been sick, so the house got a bit messy. Messier than usual. Y'all know how it can get when everyone in the house is sick. Not much gets done. Any how, it was SO wonderful to get the house cleaned up.  Then I realized that is why we do big cleaning in the Spring.  During the winter, all you want to do is curl up next to the fire with a good book and a cup of tea.  Then, you're longing for spring to come.  Once it's here, though, you get that 'bug'. That itch. You want to get something done.  For me, it's typically airing out the house and cleaning up the place.  So, I wonder when "Spring cleaning" began.  Who came up with the whole idea?  I would imagine that it was someone just like me.  Someone who got that 'bug' come spring time to clean out the house from top to bottom.

Any how, that's really kind of a random tidbit, but oh well.  The weather has been much nicer here, though, with just a few breezes instead of 70mph winds.  I've been able to open the window and only get minimal dirt on my bed. ;-) But, it was wonderful to air the house out and get rid of any floating germs and whatnot.

Well, another bull sale is coming up! We'll see how this one goes. I might be helping out 'behind the scenes' (registering buyers, handling money, something), but we'll see.

And, as my dad is calling me a 'computer hijacker' (this is his laptop... oops!) I'd better run!! He's after now!! ;-)

In Christ's Service,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

One More Giveaway!

Hello Again!

Samantha is having another giveaway over at her blog.  You should check it out HERE.

The wind is blowing something awful right now. But, looks like it blowing in snow/rain clouds, and that would be great to get some moisture! We've been dry, dry, dry. And the dust.. oh, I can't really describe how bad the dust blowing around is. Maybe I'll get a picture of where it has blown into our house under the doors and window and whatnot.  Right now, all I can say is that I feel EXTREMELY for those that had to live during the dust bowl. Ick.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Another giveaway!


Samantha is having another giveaway! You really want to check this one out if you like to bake yummy things for you family. :-)  She's giving away a $50 dollar gift certificate for a bake shop on Etsy!! You DON'T want to miss out!! Check it out HERE!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Giveaway + A quick update


I'm here to tell you that my lovely friend, Samantha, is hosting a giveaway! You don't want to miss out! It's an adorable set of.... well, you just gotta check out! Be sure to enter! :-)  She is doing giveaways to celebrate her birthday. How fun is that???  Go HERE!!  And HURRY! this giveaway ends March 9th!!

Also, for a quick update, we just got back from our bull sale!  I'll be doing a more newsy post later on with some pictures. For now, I've just got to recover... ;-) haha!