Tag Archives: winter

Feeding the cows and Peace on earth.

Red Angus

A few days ago, I rode with my man while he finished feeding the cows. He loads round bales onto the bale-buster, then drives out to the pasture and spreads it out so the cows can eat it. It was a cold day – single digits. And there was a strong wind. I’d guess 30-40 mph with much higher gusts on the high areas. That heated tractor cab is wonderful! :)

tractor feeding hay


The bale-buster is a contraption that holds a round bale, then iron teeth on the bottom rotate, digging into the bale, and the hay spits out an opening in the bottom. When the bale is gone, Cliff raises the arms that are holding the extra bale, and it flips up and drops into the bale-buster. It throws a lot of dust when it is chomping up a hay bale, and the wind blew it over everything.

Cows eating hay

tractoraspens in snow

After we fed the cows, we took a bale to the horses. A soft evening light was settling over the landscape, making me forget my cold fingers. I snapped a few more pictures, between opening gates for my man.

By the way – ranch wives joke about having to open gates for their men, but truly? I don’t mind. Any time spent together is great! :)

paint horse and ponieshorses

Now it is nearly Christmas. The wind is howling outside as I type, there’s a fresh couple inches of snow on the ground. The gifts are wrapped and the cookies are made. Strains of holiday music fill the air.

It is not picture perfect, because we are a real family, we traipse snow in on our boots and the hearth around the wood stove is perpetually ash-sprinkled and messy. There are toys and cups sitting around my living room, because I was too tired to pick them up last night.

But the love of Jesus is here. Our love of each other grows stronger and purer each year. Our love for God is increasing, and we are working on our “peace on earth, goodwill to men”.

Dear ranch mama, don’t be discouraged if your house is not as holiday-ready as your neighbor’s. Don’t allow Satan to steal YOUR peace, this week. Reduce expectations, keep it simple, and love on your family. Take a few minutes here and there to slip away and pray. Of course you can pray ‘mentally’, but there is something about locking the bedroom door for two minutes and taking your attitude and trials to God in prayer. :)

running horses

May your home honor God and bless others this season. Starting with your own family.

 

What I’m reading right now.

For the past several years, I have had precious little time to read; between foster babies and normal mom stuff. But lately, I have committed to reading more books – not just magazines and blog posts. It is hard for me to find time to sit down and read a whole book. So much easier to pick up my phone and read a blog, or pick up a how-to book from my coffee table, and flip through it. But I am getting back into writing, and to be good at writing, you need to read, and read lots! So today, I thought I would share with you what books I am reading right now.

I read one of Miller’s other books several years ago and enjoyed it immensely, so when I saw his name on this book, I snagged it used from Amazon. It is even better than the first one I read! I am only halfway through it, but it’s great!


This book is starting out great! I love historical fiction, especially Biblical fiction. But it has to be done right, you know? Not cheesy. The Thoene’s always deliver! They are amazing authors, and I love everything they write. This book has me hooked, and I’m sure I will be buying the rest of the series!

This one I started over a year ago! (gasp) But I was so busy caring for my foster baby, homeschooling, and being a mom, that I never finished it. But I want to finish it soon!

So there is what I am reading! Yes, I have that weird habit of reading several books at once! But I do finish them, eventually. :) It is perfect reading weather right now – snowing and blowing outside, and a cozy fire inside. I am working on some Christmas cinch orders, too. It’s the time of year for indoor projects.

Snowsnowsnow cabin I hope your holiday season is blessed and happy. Try to sneak some reading in! :) And stay warm.

Birds in my yard.

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.

Thanks for bugging me, mom!birds

birds birds birds birds birds birds birds


February in Wyoming.

Pulling a calf to the warm barn, with mama following.

Pulling a calf to the warm barn, with mama following.

February is a month of love. Valentine’s Day, candy, hearts, and roses. But on the ranch, February is much different. It means long nights of checking heifers, pulling calves, wading through thawing snow, and bottle-feeding bum calves.

It is also the middle of the long Wyoming winter – blizzards and high winds and ice. We have been having crazy high winds the past few days, 75+ mph. It blows over semi-trucks, and blows shingles off houses and blows over anything not weighed down. If the windmill blades aren’t locked down, they will blow right off!

We have been dealing with some sickness,  (not too bad) and it got the baby. One day he was feeling so poorly, that I took him for a drive – just to lull him to sleep. I don’t remember ever doing that before – taking a baby for a drive to make it sleep. But by baby #7, you tend to relax on some things. 😉 Plus, with Cliff sleeping during the day, I couldn’t have him screaming in the house. Anyways, he did go to sleep, and I moseyed around the ranch, stopping to snap a few pictures from the window.


calving cows

The snow has mostly melted, for the first time since Thanksgiving. We had giant snow piles along the lane for months. But I don’t relax too much, because March – May are normally our snowiest months! :) I expect several more big storms before we see real spring.

I am busy with our foster baby – he is a good baby, but still… babies require a lot of time. I almost forget how often they like to eat! 😀 He’s getting chubsy and smiley and oh! so fun. We are all falling in love with him.

Note: I can’t say much about him, due to confidentiality laws. But I’ll address the most asked questions —
No, I can’t tell you why he is in foster care,
No, we are not planning to adopt (we always work to reunify kids with their families), and
No, we have no idea how long we will have him. :) 

So that is why my blogging suffers, right now. I’m busy making bottles, changing diapers, and rocking a cute little boy. :)

February in Wyominghorses on a ranch in wyoming

Today it is really warm outside, and the first calm day for a long time. So the kids ran outside as soon as they finished morning chores – determined to not waste this lovely day! I was happy to see them go. The older ones promised to watch their littlest sister carefully – which made me glad. Teens are the coolest! (lots of tractors/trucks/horses/bulls make the ranch yard not terribly safe for a tiny human)

Yesterday we had a recertification meeting with the foster care co-ordinator. I was nervous, (which was unnecessary,) but as always, she was calm and helpful. I hear so many horror stories of caseworkers and foster care workers, but I guess we are just really blessed. Ours are the best! I mean sure, some are more strict than others, and some are naturally more cheerful, or whatever, but I haven’t had a bad experience with any, so far. Really kind and helpful.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. I better go throw a load of laundry in the washer.
I hope your day is pleasant and you find a bit of nature to relax in. :)

Wide open places are my therapy.

Wide open places are my therapy.

 

Calving Season, 2016

Calving season is upon us again. And my husband is on night duty – 7 day a week.  I am so thankful we have a large house, so he can get some sleep during the day! I mean, we have 5 kids, and they are not quiet! :)

Meanwhile, I am trying my best to stay on top of schooling 3 kids, caring for a baby, and keep a 3 year out of trouble! Whew! I’ll just tell ya right here; I am not doing it. I am not ‘staying on top’! I am sliding into a hole. I can’t keep up with everything. But that’s ok. I am doing my best, and what work doesn’t get done today will still be there tomorrow. 😉  I am very much sticking to the basics. School is obviously a top priority, and meals and laundry. Cleaning gets done in fits and starts. My kids help a ton, and ya know – when you have a 2 month old baby, it’s ok to just do the basics, right?! :)

The sunrises gleaming golden and peach on the snow makes for beautiful mornings! I never get tired of the view from my window…12640345_10205955384945463_7447383232765907524_o


I walked down to the calving barn this week, to see the new babies. They were mostly sleeping, but I got a few shots. This lil guy had a rough start and was staying in the barn to get warm and healthy.calf This cutie was just soaking up the sunshine! I need to go down more… those babies are so cute. IMG_6662How’s your calving season going? Do you sleep alone during calving, too?

Another Year Beginning

winter cows 1It’s a new year, a new beginning, a new date to remember to write. I used to scoff a bit at New Year’s resolutions, but the past few years I have made a few of my own. Some have stuck, and some haven’t. But I decided it’s fun! And it does usually get me a lot closer to my goals than I would otherwise. 😉

The year is no different – I resolved to:
get in a couple days of exercise each week,
to work through some Bible teaching, ( HERE  )
take a month off of Facebook,
and write daily.

snowOf course, there will be days so full that I miss my exercise or daily writing, but overall, I believe it is a goal I can reach. The bible teaching is the number one thing I want to keep up with. There are enough short podcasts (all transcripts available as well) to give me 15-30 minutes of listening or reading per day. I’m already enjoying this!


Writing… you know, it’s one of those things that I feel almost driven to do, and yet it is the first thing that gets scratched off my list when life gets busy. I hate that! I would rather give up social media or tv shows or something rather than keep on this way. So that is definitely a priority as well.

A good friend of mine recommended this book, so I have it in my cart at Amazon, ready to buy once we get paid. I am excited to read it!


(affiliate link)

So what are you resolving for 2016?

Snowstorms and Sunshine

Monday night a winter storm moved in. It was so pretty when we woke in the morning to a layer of fresh now and very little wind! But as the day progressed, the wind picked up and it began drifting like crazy. These photos are from yesterday, about 10 am. It snowed a good several hours after this.barn in snow

 

snowy cattlecows in snow


 

cows in snow

winter house

 

A Snowy Thanksgiving

The snow started falling on Wednesday evening. The kids looked worriedly out the window, afraid the storm would prevent our friends from driving up for Thanksgiving. The snow continued through the night and most of the day Thursday, but our friends bravely ventured out and made it in time for lunch! We were so happy to host a large gathering this year. Our house has a huge dining room in it so we seated everyone with ease. (23 people)

This morning it was snowing again, lightly, softly – and I laced up my Whites, zipped my parka, and headed out with camera in hand. I love catching ranch life during a snowstorm. There’s so much ‘feel’ to it!

A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy Thanksgiving At one point, my fingers were freezing from being out of my gloves too often, so I hung out in the barn and blew on them warm them up. :) The barn is always full go fun things to photograph, anyways. A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy Thanksgiving A good day to not be a horse! Although their thick winter coats keep them toasty, don’t worry! God designed them in a very special way to insulate them and protect them. A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy Thanksgiving The cattle were enjoying some hay, unmindful of the snow piling up on their backs. That’s a good thing, by the way, when the snow piles up on their backs. It means they are not losing body heat. The hair and hide do such  good job of insulting them, that the snow doesn’t even melt! God is an amazing Designer, and you can rest assured knowing His plan is perfect. A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy Thanksgiving A Snowy ThanksgivingI hope your Thanksgiving was pleasant, and your days warm!


Stay faithful, my friend.

November Ramblings…

 

November ramblings...

 


November has brought with it the beginning of winter, finally. We enjoyed such a lovely fall, that it seemed like winter perhaps wasn’t coming! But of course, it did – in due time. We have had several light snowstorms, and some windy days and cold nights. Nothing too major yet.

I have been busy working on some cinch orders, lately. Some are to be Christmas orders, so they need to go out soon. (speaking of… if you want a cinch for that horseman on your list, on’t delay! Soon it will be too late to get it done before Christmas! 😉 )

I have also been enjoying some slower days at home – just puttering. School takes up my mornings, of course, and sometimes part of the afternoon. Then there’s meals and laundry and cleaning. I have been putting a lot of effort into learning the art of a neat home.  My kids are getting older, so no excuse on having piles of mail and random clothes laying around! Of course, the mess still happens, but my goal is to keep after it – get it picked up and neat before supper, for instance, and sped more time on wiping off fingerprints and splatters.

I used to feel it almost pointless to keep cleaning surfaces that would just get spattered again in a few hours, but I have learned that it is blessing my family, when I spend time cleaning my house and keeping it tidy. There is little value in blessing others, if I am not blessing my own family first. So now I grab a cleaning rag and a spray bottle and get busy, and I actually enjoy it! Haha! Never thought I’d say those words, but there you go. Ask God for a heart that is willing to bless your family, and you might just get it!

Which reminds me — I felt cramped in our previous house, especially when hosting overnight company, or serving a dozen cowboys lunch. So I prayed for a bigger house… this house, specifically.  And God allowed us to have this house, after several years. (different house on the same ranch) But guess what?! I forgot that a bigger house means more cleaning! LOL! I now spend at least twice the time cleaning, and I don’t especially enjoy cleaning! So there you have it – be careful what you pray for! :)

Sub-Zero Temperatures on the Ranch

Have you had winter yet? Because I think Wyoming just sucked all the winter from the rest of the world and is all curled up in it – a ball of frozen icicles and swirling winds.

Jan. 2012

Jan. 2012

Ok, perhaps a bit dramatic. I know the North Pole is colder. That’s what they say, anyhow. 😉 But really, it has been so cold this past week! One morning it was down to -16° when we woke up. That was actual temperature. The windchill was -30º.  The house doesn’t like the cold either. It pops and creaks and snaps… I lay awake one night, kept awake by the loud popping in the roof above my head, and whispered to my husband: “How are you supposed to sleep with that going on?!”  He didn’t know.

January, 2012

January, 2012

I should’ve went out and taken pictures of the beautiful white snow for you all. But I didn’t. Because I am a wimp. I did go out and try to rig a light for the pets, so they wouldn’t freeze. I did drive to my mailbox to send some letters on their way… but I did not go outside to take pictures. Cause that just isn’t what I do when it’s 1º. My fingers can’t work the buttons of my camera for more than 10 seconds at -16º.

Calving, Jan. 2012

Calving, Jan. 2012


My husband, now, he is tough. Cowboy Tough. He layers up and walks out that door whether it’s 16º or -16º. (he wears 4-5 layers, not the 110 layers that a friend’s little girl thought he must have to wear! 😉 ) He breaks ice, spreads hay on the ground, and puts out feed. Those mama cows get taken care of, baby. You betcha. I don’t feel sorry for him driving around in a  warm truck. What makes me feel bad is when he has to break ice in sub-zero temps and the wind is blowing. Or when the tractor or truck breaks down and he has to mess about and try to get it going. But, like I said; Cowboy Tough. This what cowboying is – this is what they do. In the winter, in the summer, in every kind of miserable weather. And you know what else? HE rarely complains. I’m the one sitting in a toasty-warm house and whining about Florida. (I really, really want to go. 😉 )

Cliff's boss - feedin hay.

Cliff’s boss – feedin hay.

Bale-buster. A handy tool!

Bale-buster. A handy tool!

Cows - eatin hay.

Cows – eatin hay.

What is the winter like so far where you live? Do you enjoy winter and all it has to offer? Or are you like me, and just want to dip your toes in some warm saltwater? :)