September 13, 2015

Projects Around the Ranch

Each year we set a list of goals for the year, items that we need, and projects to complete. Many of these we plan to do in the summer and then sometimes it's just too hot to get them all accomplished. Right now the weather is beautiful and it is allowing us to finish up some outdoor projects....but we must begin the annual preparation for winter.

First - our house is finally complete. We have finished the concrete work out front, planted more grass, and had more caliche delivered. Now I'm just waiting for mums to come out so that I can fill a few flower pots!

Next - we have been digging holes, setting posts and finishing up a few pens that we've put off for other projects. Each of these pens will be important this winter. We're a little concerned about the El Nino weather pattern and the possible snow/ice that will come along. This makes us prepare well ahead of time. We'll rotate and sort cows depending on how they are bred, when they are due to calve and which ones will require close watch. We'll also need a good space for the show heifers, bred heifers and the growing horse herd that we have this fall. That will be another blog post later!

Another item finished up - yesterday we finished up breeding our fall set. Ten heifers bred and raised by use that we kept as replacement heifers. The commercial heifers were bred to high percentage Maine bulls and the Angus were bred back to Angus. We're very excited to see these calves in June 2016. We bred, calve, wean and rotate year round. It's not the way everyone does it, but it keeps a variety of ages of show heifers born year round.

Last on the list for the weekend - stocking the firewood racks around the place...there are several. We try to do this ahead of time so that when the first snow sneaks around the corner, we are set and ready.

Just one of the many beautiful views from the ranch.

It has been a very eventful summer and there are lots of stories to share and things to talk about. I will be blogging more often and updating you all on our path! Check the new recipe that I made at midnight Friday night!

May 18, 2015

Rain is a Good Thing

Rain is a good thing, rain makes corn and corn makes whiskey. But, rain makes people eating mosquitoes too!

We have been very blessed with several inches of rain over the last couple of weeks. While we need a break to dry up, every time it rains we begin to increase our estimated hay production!

Rotation is the key to our operation. We move and sort cattle more often than not. We might see a few heifers that need a little more feed than the older cows while producing milk, or might have a heifer springing, or showing signs that she will calve soon.

All of our pastures are saturated. We took a quick trip out by four wheeler to check a set and here are a few pictures.

Getting a little deep!

Who knew you could make wake in a Playa lake! Lake Williams continues to rise.

In the far distance of the picture below is the herd we checked on. Our calves are learning how to swim. We think this is swamp ranching!

And a picture from last week of penning a heifer that calved. Free spa quality mudbath!

There are pros and cons to this much rain. Number one con is the swarms of mosquitoes that have already formed! Much more rain in the forecast to come in the extended forecast. At least we are getting a break from mowing until it dries up.

April 14, 2015

Part 1 - What Keeps me Organized

I recently saw a Pinterest link for a diy family planner. After trying three other calendar systems this year, I resorted to a three ring binder and have made my own planner. Before I share that, and since this binder came first, I want to introduce my house binder.

This is part one of how I stay organized. Many years ago I decided the traditional recipe card method was not for me. I typed recipes, cut out and taped others and added them to this binder. I call it my house binder, bevause it is not just a recipe book.

It is a place to store ideas. Maybe I tore out a quilt from a picture in a magazine that we would love to have made. Secretly I want to make it myself. There may also be a necklace design or two, and maybe a book title. In a moment of weakness this week I was searching for beef crockpot recipes. Once I consulted the binder, I found plenty that I had cut out already. I also love to use and weekly menu and grocery list.

We each have a different way of staying organized, no one system works for everyone, and it may take years to perfect.

Head on over to the Good Eats page and I will tell you what was in the crockpot today.

April 10, 2015

Travelling without Kids or Cows

What an exciting day, we are travelling without kids or cows, just Ryan and me. It feels so odd. I think I left a suitcase full of things at home. My purse is twice as empty too. Things are the snack basket, trash can for car sickness and 50 cords powering every device to keep the kids entertained.

I thought it would be fun to have Ryan's input as we go down the highway. He is very excited that I am blogging again so that our distant family and friends can stay updated. He also reminded me that while we have come a long way on building things, there are a lot of future projects. With warmer weather here we will be finishing concrete work on our front drive, a feeder pen with fence work and begin the baby steps to a barn for the working facility and show cattle. We are mid way through calving season and have several good ones that we will keep and some that will find new homes!

And what a difference a year makes...we have grass coming up and if we ever get any rain we might get to mow.

April 9, 2015

Deep Thinking

It has come time for a serious update. We are no longer the little house or red barn on the horizon. We've become a growing operation and built a house. I've updated about us and made a few changes to become passionate about blogging again.

Many days we burn the midnight oil in ranch projects, feeding, homework, laundry and playing catchup, but the stories and daily trials continue. I have a lot of pictures and stories that I intend to share about our life, some good eats or deep thinking.

Speaking of deep thinking or breathing, I think they go hand in hand. Several weeks ago I travelled to my home outside of Bryan, TX, for a family wedding shower. While there I planned to visit a school friend of mine who operates her own yoga studio: Om Grown Yoga and Tea Bar. My first thought was, hey, I'm in pretty good shape and I've done a little piyo, surely I can handle this. Then fear set in of what do I wear. I'm pretty sure these people won't appreciate my usual gym attire in the middle of the day. The few and far between trips to the gym in the wee morning consist of cloths that double as appropriate to feed in. I purchased real yoga capris if that's what you call them just for this visit. And then I even got seen in public before and after. Talk about stepping out of my comfort zone. I prepared for this day for weeks.

It started with a hair appointment to find a style for a future wedding, then to yoga where I'd meet the newest addition to our family for some girl time. What a great way to spend some quiet time together, trying not to laugh at each other or ourselves. Let's just say Lexi is an amazing yoga instructor. The class was a challenge, encouraged deep breathing and let me take a break from the crazy world we live in. I instantly fell in love with yoga. We then enjoyed brunch in downtown with a Texas Mimosa, Lone Star Beer always reminds me of my daddy.

Last event for that day was ice skating with Tana. I wasted a few dollars for skates on myself, and after going half way in the rink with two large road cones and then back to the end, I was done. Between yoga and figuring out I'm too old to want to fall, it was much more exciting to watch Tana meet new friends and gain a lot of confidence on the ice. This one day was unlike any other I've had and provided a refreshing, renewing feeling that will hold me over for a while.