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:

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall Works - Day 6

Well, my attempt at posting each day I cooked this week was an epic fail.  Between cooking, washing mountains of dishes, and hauling the crew out, I didn't have much time and I figured that yet another photo of  me making yet another batch of bread just didn't make for the most riveting daily reading.

  Not that I ever post anything riveting, but variety would be nice. :)

A food photographer, I am not and although it's really hard to resist fresh baked bread

Or apple pie

Or a plate of Cornpone Pie (and yes, that is sitting on a paper plate. Remember, no dishwasher in this old ranch house and after washing mountains of dishes, leftovers get paper plates at night.)

the photos just never look as appetizing as the food tastes. Today is day 6 of 12. We have one more day today, then break a week to tend to other ranch duties, resuming for another 6 days the following week.

The boys have had absolutely beautiful weather this week:

 And then we had an unexpected storm roll in last night:

That dropped 1.7" on the south and east side of the ranch:

They have spent the week gathering the pastures, which is why they ride 15-30 miles in the morning. The pastures around here vary in size, but they run from about 3 sections (1,920 acres) to 16 sections (10,240 acres) and they'll gather multiple pastures. Last night's rain required a change of plans for today. We drove east last night to check on the rain and DH drove north at 3 this morning to check on the north side. We had rain there as well, but not as much and the roads aren't  under water so they'll gather, sort, and process what they can and then come gather some bulls and run those through the chute.

So I'm back in the kitchen for one more day, but before I start on dinner, I'm going to enjoy a mug of tea, a cinnamon roll muffin, and dig into the Word

Edited to add link to Cinnamon Roll Muffin post

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fall Cow Works - Day 1

 I'll be cooking for the crew for 6 days this week and on Saturday I HAD to get to town for groceries. The list was long

 And the price was steep

I spent another $150 at Sam's and it took me 10 trips to haul everything in to the house.

I fixed waffles this morning

along with eggs, bacon, and fruit for breakfast and then jumped in the rig to haul the boys out. Lots of silhouette photos because it was too dark for anything else, but that SKY!

You simply cannot beat a New Mexico sky

These all came straight out of the camera:

This place is big and I often haul them out and drop them off to help out. Then they might only have to ride 15 miles instead of 25 although DH said they rode about 30 miles this morning.

This morning, we drove 24 miles to their drop off point and it took an hour to get there.

It was such a pretty morning and a crisp 35 degrees so I'm betting their horses were frisky

I came back to the house, washed up the breakfast dishes and threw together a second dessert. Initially, I was planning on going in to work after breakfast, but I'm going to haul the boys out again after dinner and my boss said they'd be fine. I'll check in with them after I drop the crew off and go in then, if need be.

I went out to feed the chickens and guineas. I can't figure out if these two are the parents or just 2 hens, but the babies are never far from their watchful supervision

The baby guineas are growing fast

This little fella was soaking in the first rays of morning sun:

So, since I thought I'd be going in to work, I just fixed something that would stay hot and be simple for DH to drag out at noon:

Taco Soup with Fritos, shredded cheese, and sour cream

And Ginger Snaps and O'Henry Bars for dessert.

Leftovers for supper!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Road Trip

A few weeks I made a quick trip, 3 hours south, to help our boy's girl while she recuperated from an outpatient surgery. Our boy works out of state and he had to get back to work so I headed out on Wednesday. She's doing well, just needed to get a little rest and that's hard to do with a 2 yr old. But it's a joy to spend time with this particular 2-yr old:

We had so much fun!

I took him to the best park ever:

I don't remember parks ever being like this when I was growing up, or even when our kids were little. but then again, we didn't ever spend much time in town:

I thought I might wear him out, but I think it was the other way around:

Feeding the ducks was the highlight of the day:

One for ducks:

One for T:

And no trip to the park is complete without a stop for ice cream

I also needed a thimble so when I spotted a Joann's, I pulled in for a minute. I couldn't find the thimble I was after, but T found some fabric:

They had 4 different dinosaur fabrics and he chose this one:

Good call kiddo:

I made him a dinosaur pillowcase, but I think a quilt is in order as well. Maybe I DID wear him out!

I fuss about technology a lot, but I must say that my GPS was a blessing as I am completely lost when I'm in a real town:

I also stole a little time away to spend with this incredible kid:

She took me to the most amazing bookstore, but I'll share that in a later post. Her grad student obligations keep her chained to her office, but we stole away for a few hours and grabbed lunch at Cracker Barrel where the stress cow found a new home:

Her graduate project involved dairy heifers and working on your thesis definitely means that a Holstein stress cow fits the bill perfectly. Stress cow for one hand and caffeine for the other:

She's well armed and ready to take the world by storm. I love this kid! It was a good couple of days, but duty calls and I had to get back home to my humble abode:

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