Branding season is upon us, and it is great! Warmer weather, lots of friends, and of course, roping – if you’re into that sort of thing. 😉
We went to our first branding on May 6, and had a great time. There was quite a crowd to help out, and we got to catch up with lots of friends. Some I hadn’t seen since last year.
The older kids rode along and Jenni even roped a couple calves. I kept the two little ones with me, and we came later, helped with the food, and played with friends.
I did enlist my teens to check on the sleeping toddler while i snuck in the pen and grabbed a few closer photos. It is hard for me to get in there and get the shots I want – I am always afraid I will be in the way, ha!
I have been so stinkin’ busy with the spring rush, that I just haven’t taken much time to write. I have been working in my garden and taking care of kiddos… I will write a garden update in a few days or weeks, haha!
We went to help our friends brand calves yesterday. Cliff loaded up the horses and older kids and left by 5:30 am. I woke the little ones and fed & dressed them and followed in the suburban by 6 am. (We can’t all fit in the truck, so I had to drive separate.) It was a gorgeous morning, sun rising through a bit of clouds and into a clear sky.
By the time I reached the ranch, the cowboys were almost done gathering the cattle. The lane runs through the pasture, so I was surrounded by cowhands at one point. It always feels a bit like I’m living in a western movie set, when I see cowboys riding down the hills on either side of me. Never gets old.
Looking for strays.
The wind wasn’t too bad, thankfully, so the baby didn’t have to gasp for breath. 😉 Babies just don’t appreciate this Wyoming wind much. I strapped him in the stroller, and assigned an older kid to keep track of Reata while I ducked around horses and cowboys to take as many pictures as I could. I knelt in some questionable damp stuff with my new jeans – yuck. And I was awash in branding smoke most of the time, but I did get a couple of nice ones, in between feeding and changing the baby, and getting him to sleep.
My 3 older kids.
Brandings are a favorite time of year for most ranchers. We reconnect with friends and neighbors – some we haven’t seen since last year’s branding! We share jokes and tips and stories of the past year. We gather for a huge feast afterwards, always a highlight! Yesterday they served prime rib, which is a very delicious cut of meat. Most of the time if a fellow ranch wife comes to a branding, she will bring a dish to add to the table… a pie or salad or some rolls. It is not required, but always appreciated.
Dragging to the fire.
Cliff and Jenni wrestled calves a while.
And remember, calves hide (skin) is ‘way thicker than yours, so branding them is not nearly as painful as it would be for you. 😉 And besides that, it is required by law.
My parents visited us a couple weeks ago. Mom would not stop bugging me about a bird feeder! Finally I hung one up just to please her. But you know – I have been having so much fun trying to capture these little guys mid-flight. They are so cute! Mostly sparrows, but then there’s this jay that keeps coming and chasing the others away. Jays are so ornery! Bossy and obnoxious. But strikingly beautiful.
Spring! Ah, what a lovely season! I won’t say it is my favorite, anymore, because on the high prairies of Wyoming – spring is still quite chilly most days. But I surely do love the idea of spring! All the new babies in the meadows – skipping and dashing around their mamas, the fresh, thin mist of green springing up in the hay meadows, the flocks of blackbirds filling the air with their chattering… oh yes, spring is indeed a wonderful time of year!
After 2 months of night shift, my man has finally returned to a normal day schedule. I am so happy about that! Night shift was actually less work for him, so in that way it was good, but I really didn’t enjoy being on an opposite schedule from him. Especially since I homeschool 3 kids and have 2 little ones here too. It definitely took some creativeness to keep everyone reasonably quiet, but it was good experience for me. I can now sympathize much more with others in that situation.
Reading with her cousin.
We had a real warm spell a few weeks ago, and I took advantage of it by getting in some walks. My foster baby is 4 months old, and HATES the wind in his face, so I was tickled to find a secondhand stroller with a wind-guard! Helps a ton to keep him happy and warm.
He is such a good baby. Of course he has his moments, like the carseat! He isn’t a big fan of that. And he decided to disown his pacifier, which does NOT make me happy! I love when I can stick a paci in their mouth on a car ride, or at church, or to go to sleep. But nope. No amount of coaxing will make hm take it anymore.
Last week the snow and colder temps returned, along with another round of cold virus in the house. But God is still good and on the throne, so I have no complaints!
I have been trying to get back into a better rhythm of Bible study again, now that I’m settling into life with a baby. I find that keeping a Bible laying beside my chair is the best way for me. I used to think: “Oh, I have the Bible app on my phone, I’ll just use that.”
But the fact is – the Bible app is the slowest app to load. I mean, who wants to wait 2 minutes for the app to load, when Instagram loads in .5 seconds?! Seriously, folks, this is what happens. But I won’t accept that. I must get in my reading daily, or I don’t grow. I don’t thrive. I start going backwards immediately. The Word of God is powerful. We say that – but do we believe it? It really is powerful!!! It gives me direction, instruction, courage, and strength for daily life.
So, that recliner where I sit all the time to feed the baby – that is ‘my’ chair. I have an older Bible laying within arms’ reach. I chose an older Bible, because I don’t want to worry if it gets coffee spilled on it, or if my toddler decides to scribble in it. I keep my precious Christmas-gift-from-my-husband Bible elsewhere. I pick it up and read a verse or two or a couple chapters when I have a few minutes. It’s amazing how much you can get read in a day if you make it a priority! I bet you have ‘your’ chair somewhere too. Maybe you can find a Bible that you can lay within arms’ reach and start feeding on God’s Word daily. It will change your life, if you let it. If you are afraid of kids or pets messing up your nice Bibles, then you can go to the Dollar Tree and get one for $1.00. I bet you can manage that. 😉 and then no worries. Just read it. Use it. Mark in it. But read it.
Most of the wildlife around here has been very frustrating to me. Now, I like animals more than some people, I think, but there is a definite difference between a raccoon in a pretty picture, and a 30-lb one eating your chickens! Or a funny looking porcupine who strips your precious apple tree of bark, or innocent looking deer who devour whole gardens in a single night, or rabbits who do the same.
But I finally have a piece of wildlife around that is on my side!! Yay for owls! I have always loved their soft hoo-hoo-hooooo! Their ridiculously solemn, round eyes and heads that swivel. They are cool creatures, indeed. But the coolest thing is that they are predators! They eat mice, gophers and rabbits. (I suppose chickens too, but I can keep those inside a run) And when I discovered that a pair had built a nest in my backyard, I was simply delighted.
It’s been really hard to get a photo of them, tho, as they always fly off the nest the instant they see me. So yesterday I tried sneaking out with my camera. Newsflash:with their eyesight being some of the best in the world, you cannot sneak up on an owl.
She immediately spread her wings to cover her chick in a protecting manner. I think you’d get your hand pecked off if you tried reaching under that wing! But my waiting was rewarded. When mama owl flew off, finally, I saw the cutest little fuzzy head in that tree! It was not making any noise, just hunkered down, waiting for mama. I yelled, clapped, whistled and banged on things, trying to get it to raise it’s head and look at me.
Oh, I was so excited to see this cute baby! I’ve never seen an owl chick before, to my knowledge. I believe this is a Great Horned Owl, but I am not a bird expert. Do any of you know for sure?
The fiercely blowing wind was no match for the warm sunshine. It spilled through the clouds and seeped into winter-weary bones with a comforting warmth. A few green blades of grass poked bravely through the brown, sharing the warmth of the spring sun. The sound of anxious cows, calling for their young, mixed with the soft footsteps of horses on grass, and the slap-slapping of saddle leather. Spurs jingled, but the sound was covered by the “Hup, Hup! Shhh-shhh-shhh.” of the cowboys, driving the cows into a small pen.
A brief pause at the gate to clarify plans, then into the pen with the cows and their babies. Two men on the ground to keep records and help sort, three men on horseback, roping the babies and taking them to the correct pasture. The mamas follow the babies – no need to worry about them!
“Obie” dragging one in.
The sun covered me in warmth, as I lay on the prairie, camera in hand – lens poking through last summer’s weeds. I could have fallen asleep, I think, laying there on the face on the earth. There is something satisfying about the simplicity of nature. Just the sun warming my back, the grass poking my arms, the wind blowing overhead, and the occasional ‘moo’ of a worried cow in the background. I cooked lunch for the cowboys before I went outto watch them. It was only a few men, so not a big deal. I kept it simple this time…
Menu: Swedish Meatballs Mashed Potatoes Sauteéd veggies (Mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and yellow squash) Fresh bread
and for dessert I had: Brownies with ice cream.
“For the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers are springing up and the time of the singing of birds has come.
Yes, spring is here.” Song of Solomon 2:11-12
It has been a mild, seemingly short winter. I say seemingly, because
1) it’s not over yet! and 2) it just seemed that way because so many exciting things happened that normally don’t happen to me.
A sister’s graduation from the RN program, and several months of her then staying with us made the longest winter months somehow shorter. A mom’s retreat, calving season, several friends who braved the winter to come visit… altogether made my winter seem short.
However, with the warm weather we now have, I am trying to keep my planting urge under control, because I know that it is still much to early to plant a garden. 😉
Last year’s spring—no green grass here yet! :)
I get out of bed at 5 am nearly every morning. (except Sunday when I sleep in till 6!)
So I usually get to see the sun rise in the morning – spilling the colors of the rainbow through my eastern window. Some days are muted, soft colors, some days are blazing ribbons of gold and orange.
Sunrise from my window.
Sometimes I ride with my husband in the cake truck, opening gates for him and having what I call ranch dates. We have each other’s undivided attention, and lots of time to talk without the kids. (except the 2 year old, who cares only about the cows!)
The cows are coming!
I climbed up on the cake truck this week, and the cows thought I was crazy. But then, I think they are stupid-looking, so I guess we’re even. 😉
Feeding cow cake on a early spring day.
I spent a good portion of my afternoons the past two weeks tying some custom cinch orders. Then my sister came up on her day off, and we tramped through the fields and along the creek, just meandering and gabbing, as sisters like to do.
She also brought some lovely flowers for my table – so pretty! I love looking at them.
I have so many things I want to write… encouragement the Lord has given me, funny stories I keep thinking about, and delicious recipes that beg to be written down and shared. But as always – mothering comes first. I am working on a routine that will give me some time to write, hopefully that will go as planned and I can get back to blogging on a regular basis.
I hope your first day of spring is a grand and wonderful day – full of warmth and cheer!