Saturday, November 18, 2017

'Twas the Night Before...

deer season! And this is what our dining room table looked like last night:

As DH gathered his equipment, I gathered mine. Here's hoping we're both successful in our endeavors. 😉

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Catching Up

This past weekend, DH and I made our annual trek to Amarillo for the WRCA World Championship Ranch Rodeo. It's a 4 day affair, but DH and I only go for 2 days. It's like a family reunion for us. We look forward to it all year, but by noon on Saturday, it gets REALLY crowded and DH and I have exceeded our ability to socialize so we make our escape and head back to the ranch.

It is SO good to catch up with lifelong friends from all over the country. I spent 2 1/2 hours visiting with one friend as we confiscated 2 chairs and tucked them into a quiet corner to catch up. We're both hermits, but we manage to squeeze in a year's worth of visiting in our allotted time. I treasure the time we get to spend with so many dear friends.

For those of you that don't know, WRCA stands for Working Ranch Cowboy Association and it's just that. It's a wonderful organization that promotes ranching and supports the working ranch cowboy. They organize ranch rodeos which is are very different from regular rodeos and they have built a Foundation that presents scholarships and supports working ranch cowboys and their families in time of need. Part of the foundation is a crisis fund that helps ranching families when there is an injury or sickness, or hardship. Each year, during the World Championship Ranch Rodeo, they have an auction and raise money to help support the foundation. I think a few quilts are in order to contribute for next year.

Cowboys don't make a lot of money. They certainly don't do it for the money. It's not WHAT they do, it's WHO they are and these folks dig deep to help each other out.

There is a huge trade show with vendors that are geared toward the working ranch cowboy. It's not as glitzy as Cowboy Christmas at the NFR in Vegas, but it's more down to earth. And this is the most popular booth:

The Happy Toymaker. He makes metal trucks, trailers, and pens...ranch kids toys that are expensive, but coveted and made to last and be passed down for generations.

Children are everywhere and it's one of the things I love about the ranching industry. Folks TAKE their kids. Ranching is very family oriented and it's nice to see parents juggling and herding and carrying little ones who are tuckered out. I remember those days. I miss those days.

DH did a little shopping:

This is the best place for him to pick up tools that he uses every day...a cinch, saddle pad, and latigos. Made in the USA. Handcrafted by folks who cowboy and ranch for a living too.

Monday was another 11 hour day at the sale barn. I made Chicken Tortilla Soup on Sunday to leave for DH:

It was 10:30 when I got home. I took a shower and put together dinner for Tuesday in the crockpot since I'd have a few extras. We sold some cattle and gathered a trap, ran them through the chute for preg-testing and branded them for the new owners.

I made a salad, roast and beans in the crockpot, and a corn casserole:

With cast iron apple crisp and ice cream for dessert

Progress is being made on the new scale project:

 And today, I may even do a little sewing. Hope I remember how!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Yes, Another Post About Fall Works

Are ya'll tired of reading about fall works yet? If I don't get this stuff written down, I'll forget and I really like to keep some sort of record about our life here at the end of the dirt road and this is weaning season so that's what you get. Should I warn you that this is a picture heavy post? Probably no need because you have come to expect it when you visit here. -Grin-

Fall is our busiest time at the sale barn so the days are especially long, but I can't complain about leaving at 9 or 10, when my boss doesn't leave until 1. But combine a long Monday at the sale barn with our fall works and this old gal is plumb tuckered out. We were short handed last Tuesday so DH drafted me to help process cows and haul calves. When I dropped the boys off in the morning and headed back to the house, the good Lord was at it again, painting the New Mexico sky with breathtaking beauty and this red-tailed hawk and I stopped to soak it all in:

Later, the boys gathered the cattle

And brought them to the pens

 Where I take way too many pictures of this fella

But after over 30 years, I am still smitten with him

 One of these days he's going to take my camera away

 But until then, I will continue to capture the magic of ordinary days

They separated the calves from the cows

And started to work the cows

By walking them through the portable setup we have at this set of pens:

DH vaccinated them

And I doused them with Cydectin under the watchful eye of this girl

And the supervision of this gentle Mama

Then we loaded calves:

Drove them the 18 miles to headquarters

And unloaded them

Into the pens

 Then it was back to the east side where the sun was setting

And the cows were let out 

to begin their empty nesting until the new crop arrives in the spring

We had to pick up a bull from Armstrong Basin (a pasture) and then were able to head back to the house, tired, but thankful and grateful for the blessings God tucks into each and every day.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Still Weaning and a Speedy Trip to Nebraska

I'm still playing catch up, but we finally finished weaning on Saturday and I've still got pictures to sort through and share from the previous week. Most days, the boys gather a pasture, drive them to the pens, sort off the calves from the cows, run the calves through the chute to process and vaccinate them, and then run the cows through. They bring them up a few head at a time:

And funnel the calves towards the chute using a series of gates:

Each calf  and cow gets vaccinated

 and the cows and bulls get a dose of Cydectin, which is a pour on wormer for internal and external parasites

And the boys just run down the line, making sure each animal is treated

Then DH runs the chute

And Olan runs the gate, opening it one way or the other in order to separate the heifers from the steers

And then the process starts again as the boys bring up another bunch:

There are 4 sets of pens on the ranch so you never really get a sense of how many cattle DH tends to because they work them a few pastures at a time and they're never together in one place. We also raise both beef and Corriente cattle and those are kept separate, but at any given time there are between 1500-2000 hd of cattle.

We've got  a good crew and they put in a good day's work

On Friday, the 20th we packed up, gathered my FIL and headed north to Nebraska for a funeral. DH's cousin, Dave, passed away after battling cancer for 20 months. DH has a lot of cousins...over 35, but he was closest to Dave. They shared a love for ranching and horses and family. We drove up on Friday because we wouldn't miss a chance to honor Dave and let his sweet wife know how much we treasure them both. DH has a HUGE family and he grew up in a tiny town in Nebraska and over 700 folks gathered at the local school gym because it was the only building in town large enough to accommodate a crowd that size. It was so good to catch up with everyone - I adore DH's family - but I sure wish we had been there for a different reason.

We drove back on Sunday. 1538 miles. I wish I had taken a recorder to document the stories that my FIL and DH shared across the miles:

I could have written a book about the Sandhills of Nebraska as I sat in the back so they could visit and stitched the miles away:

With the exception of about 30 minutes one day, it's been almost 2 months since I've sewn a stitch or even darkened the doorway of my sewing room so it was rather nice to have uninterrupted time to work on my never-ending English Paper Piecing project.

You would have thought I would have more done, but our trip was almost entirely composed of little country back roads and it was a challenge to thread my needle and piece the little stars together. And the answer to your question is yes...these are for two different quilts. I haven't made a lot of progress, but here's where they were before our trip:

Friday, October 27, 2017

Shucking My Apron

I keep intending to write posts, but lately I feel as if I'm running to keep up . Two Mondays ago  we had a big sale and I didn't even leave the sale barn until 8 p.m. That's 11 hours of sitting at the computer. The sale doesn't ever break and something sells every 20 seconds or less and I have to keep up with the sale. My job's not hard, just intense because if I'm not vigilant about it, a price or weight might be wrong or the wrong animal ends up being charged to the wrong buyer or to the wrong consignor. I've gotten really good at eating dinner...and supper at my computer while I work on Monday. Good thing I like my job! :) I really enjoy the folks I work with too, but it's safe to say we're all plumb wore out by the end of days like that.

When it's not Monday, these have been my tools of the trade these past few weeks:

But for a few minutes on Friday and after the boys ate dinner on Saturday, I shucked my apron, set aside my rolling pin and picked up my camera.

I am still sorting through shots from past years for a wall of photos in my mudroom/entry way and I wanted to include one of two from this year. On the day I escaped from the kitchen for a few minutes, the crew had gathered the pasture with the bulls. These photos are from 2 different days so in some of the photos you see Corriente bulls and in others you see Angus bulls. They work them easy and the bulls get strung out - these are only a few of them:

It makes me sad that this old tree was struck by lightening, but I still think it looks neat in a photo:

The boys hold the bulls up

And keep them from making a run for it


As DH assesses them

And sorts them

And when the crew gets together, there is always time for another story. If you enlarge this photo, you will see DH is laughing at something Richard is telling him.

I'm sure the boys get tired of me pointing my camera at them, but they put up with me because they are unfailingly kind to the cook:

 And I'll close out with my favorite shot from the day. I ordered this one in an 8x10 and framed it:

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