Sunday, June 29, 2008

Springs of life...

They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; for the Lamb in the center of the throne shall be their shepherd and shall guide them to springs of the water of life; and God shall wipe every tear from their eyes.

~Revelation: 7:16,17

Hubby and I took a day trip after the wedding. As we were out driving, we saw this water wheel alongside the creek that ran next to the road. The creeks in the area were newly refreshed and recharged with all the rains of May and June. I just had to have a picture. I wonder what the story is behind this water wheel?

All my fresh springs shall be in Thee.
~Psalm 87:7

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A summer chore -- cleaning the grill...

I've been struggling with my grill this's dirty, the gas burners aren't heating properly, the cooking isn't even, and on and on. So today I decided I just HAD to clean the beast. I consulted my favorite book, Better Basics for the Home , for help, but the only thing I could find was info. on oven cleaners so I applied her suggestions to my grill.

You'll need:
A grill scraper/wire brush
A spray bottle of water
A box of plain baking soda
Hot soapy water or degreaser
A paper sack or garbage can

Scrape grates, remove them and let them soak in hot soapy water. Scrape everything inside the grill so it falls down into that little mess-catching tray. Remove tray, empty and scrape again. Put the tray back in and spray all the surfaces with water. Sprinkle baking soda all over everything. The water will cause it to stick to the sides and bottom. Spray water over the soda lightly. Let it sit, but keep on spraying it every so often so it continues to loosen the gunk. You want the baking soda moistened, but not dripping. After about 4 or 5 times of this I let it dry completely. You might need to repeat the spraying longer if your grill is really bad. You can leave it overnight to dry if you want to.
Now scrape all that dried gunk off into the mess-catching tray again. Dump into your paper sack or garbage can and scrape again. The last step I did was to take a little wisk broom and brush off all the surfaces. Pay special attention to the gas burners to see that all those little holes are visible and not plugged. Dump the little mess-catching tray again. You know, the grill is not sparkling clean (it's an outdoor grill after all) but most of the greasy gunk is gone. Dump the pan again and then finish off by washing the mess-catching tray and grates with hot soapy water and degreaser.
Before assembling the grill, I tested the gas burners to make sure they all lit up well. If not, turn off the grill and take a wire brush and run it over all the little holes to loosen any stuff away. Brush with wisk broom and check it again. My gas lit up perfectly with no plugged holes!
I'm so thrilled with the results, and it didn't even take me as long is it might have normally with commercial oven cleaner (OH THE FUMES and all that gooey gunk running over in the grill).
If you have an especially tough job, you can mix half baking soda and half washing soda to sprinkle into the grill. The washing soda is a stronger cleaner than the plain baking soda. They really are two different things. You can usually find washing soda in the laundry section of your store. The best part of this job is that it's non-toxic and all-natural. Let me know if you try this and if it works for you.

Now, onto the grilling!
Here's an old post about cooking with a grill wok.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2nd place isn't all bad....

The FifthBorn played in a qualifying tournament yesterday to try to earn a spot in the USGA Jr. Golf National Championship. In our area, there was one tournament with one available spot. You had to win to get that spot. My Boy gave it all he had and received 2nd place. The cool thing is that he's 15 years old and the winner is 18 years old and this same young man took 2nd place in last year's National Championship!

Not only that, but My Boy really played his heart out and had scores he was very proud of. They played 2 rounds of golf in one day. Par for this course is 72. His scores were 73 and 76. He was really happy with his play and totally enjoyed the competition. He's a true competitor in every sense of the word. (He gets that from his dad)

The other guys in the tournament had caddies to carry their bags and give them tips and advice throughout, but My Boy had none. His friend/coach couldn't make it so he had to go it alone. Dad was there, but the rule was: "No parents may caddie," so he was on his own -- carrying his own bag and making his own decisions about each hole. That's how he always plays so it really was nothing different for him. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience, the players, a new golf course, and the golf itself. He's got something to aim for next year!

I know what you're thinking.... "How does a ranch kid grow up to be a good golfer? Well, it's the sport that everyone at our house enjoys, and he simply grew up with the game. We have lots of open space for hitting tee shots and chipping so he practices that part a lot. The other thing is, he is a determined individual, so even though he's not on the golf course every day (he does have chores and ranch work ya know) he makes the most of his time on the course when he does play.

Let me just say, I am One Proud Mama!

That means, watch out in golf talk.... there always next year!

(these photos were not taken at the qualifier, but at another tourney this spring)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Where cowboys stow their hats when attending weddings...

A cowboy'd never wear his hat in church....

Nor at the reception.
But it's the first thing he'll grab when he walks out the door....
....when it's time to jerry-rig the Bride and Groom's car.

Branding and a Birthday...

Mama cows are first separated from their calves. We treated them with insecticide and sorted them into breeding groups. Then they must wait around until their calves are branded and brought back to them.
(I animated 4 pics into one here so you'd get the effect of cows bawling for their calves. I used Animator-9, a free download, to do it. I just clicked buttons until something happened -- my best method in learning a new skill)

Who wants to be first??????

Vaccinating calves and treating with insecticide.

Eldest Son is branding and Hubby does the tatooing (for identification) and I keep the books and set the tatooer with the correct number for each calf. It's a job that I have to really focus on so I don't give a calf the wrong tatoo. I did have one goof-up.

Lazy Y J Bar
The wet, bubbly stuff is a spray that we spray onto each brand to sooth it and to protect it from insects and bacteria.

This is our work table. It has the record book, highlighters to mark off each calf in the book, a vaccine gun, the spray we put on the brands, the tatooer, the green ink that is rubbed into the tatoo with a toothbrush. Oh....and Diet Pepsi.

Taking a break and admiring the work of their hands.

Third-Born Child was 20 on the 20th and he made it over for a special Birthday Supper and Birthday Cupcakes. There's always a competition at our house when we serve Birthday Cupcakes. The object of the competition is to see if you can put a whole cupcake in your mouth at once and chew it without spilling any out of your mouth while everyone at the table tells jokes and makes crude remarks about you all the while you're trying to chew and swallow. The secret to success is to take a drink of water first so your mouth is wet as you slide the cupcake in. I guess you run out of spit when there's that much cake in your mouth at one time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Gathering cows for branding tomorrow...

The green, green grass of home...

Antelope are playing ...

Git along little dogies!

My cowboy.

Let's get 'em around that water...
(do you see Pete's ears peeking up?)

...and through the gate.

The gate's shut, let's go home.

Early in the springtime we round up the dogies
Mark 'em and brand 'em and bob off their tails
Round up the horses, load up the chuck wagon
Then throw the little dogies out on the long trail

Whoopee ti yi yo, git along little dogies
It's your misfortune and none of my own
Whoopie ti yi yo, git along little dogies
You know that Wyoming will be your new home...

"Git Along Little Dogies"
Songs of the Plains

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Still at home on the range....

We are of the "Out-West" variety of ranchers and that means that we're always very aware of our Situation with the federal government when it comes to land and property rights. Most of us lease federal and state lands to supplement our own land for grazing purposes. Where we live, it takes 40 acres per animal unit (cow) to feed her for an entire year due to the semi-arid conditions we live under, so we count on our government leases being there.

About 18 years ago, the Hage family bought a ranch in Nevada that came with a federal land grazing lease, water rights, and of course, property rights. But the U.S. Forest Service thought they could bully them and take those rights away. The USFS denied the Hages access to their own water rights, introduced a non-indigenous elk that became overpopulated and competed with the cattle for forage and water, and they canceled the ranch's grazing permits. (Who does the USFS answer to anyway?) After 17 years of court trials and perseverance, the Hage family has won their case. You can read about it here. This is a huge victory for those of us who make a living and manage resources in the West.

I just thought you might like to know.

Summer afternoon iced coffee...

It's very simple.
Grab an icy mug from the freezer.
Fill it with ice cubes.
Pour the cold morning's coffee over the ice.
Next, pour a little half 'n' half in with it.
Stir and sip.

"... some like it hot, some like it cold..."
~Old Nursery Rhyme

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Art and inspiration....

By James Tissot
"The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.
~Ashley Montagu

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Sadie Olive at Le Journal had a Red Challenge. It's the last day, so I decided to play.
“God's children and their happiness are my reasons for being.”
~Red Skelton

Saturday, June 07, 2008

...down 'n' dirty

Getting down on your hands and knees is what it's all about. Getting your jeans dirty. Getting dirt under your fingernails. Getting wild, ratty hair blowing around in the breeze. It's not a pretty position for a 40-something woman, but it's necessary if I'm going to do a good job. Getting close to the ground is the best way to distinguish a seedling from a weedling, and that's what I've set out to do today, "pull out the tares from amongst the wheat," so to speak. It's a tricky business because weeds try to look like the very plant they are trying to choke out.

I could get the hoe out and stay cleaner and whack weeds down in a hurry, but I'd take out a lot of seedlings in the process. I could get out the Round-up spray bottle, but I always manage to spray something I didn't mean to, and that's really depressing. The best way is the dirtiest way -- down on my knees, getting close enough to really see, being very discerning and careful. It doesn't seem like such a big deal -- pulling some weeds -- but it's what I have set out to do today, and God was in it.

"We have the idea that God is going to do some exceptional thing, that He is preparing and fitting us for some extraordinary thing by and by, but as we go on in grace we find that God is glorifying Himself here and now, in the present minute. If we have God's say-so behind us, the most amazing strength comes, and we learn to sing in the ordinary days and ways."
~My Utmost for His Highest (June 4)

"For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
~Hebrews 13:5

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The official "Veil Flip" practice...

I believe this was a practice session of the official "veil flip" which, by the way, went perfectly during the actual ceremony.

These past days I've been basking in the afterglow of a really perfectly perfect wedding and reception. It's been fun to think back to all the preparations, the decorating, planning, the little details and then the Big Day which was so beautiful and fun and happy for all of us.

After the Wedding we packed up ice cream pails full of salads, gallon ziplock bags of meat and cheese, boxes of extra fruit, wedding cake, all of the family crystal, linens, clothes, shoes, copies of important documents, keys and whatnots and unloaded them at home. At this point, the crystal is washed up and back in the fancy cupboard, the linens are still in the laundry basket, and most of the food is eaten or given away to friends and helpers. The Honeymooners are still away and as for's back to work.

We've had more rain than we know what to do with this year. The past seven years of our lives here on the ranch have been drought-stricken, but this year God decided to turn everything back to rights. In May alone, we've had over 9 inches of rain and our annual average rainfall for this area is 11 inches. We have water in places we never knew it would stand, and it appears that all the stock ponds, dams, springs and wells are filling up beautifully. What a blessing.

I've been mowing like mad (do you see all the beautiful, thick lawn in the background?) trying to beat the daily rain. Today I finally put the rest of the garden in. It's not a large garden, as I had planned, but the big garden is so full of water, that it's literally a bog and I'm not about to muck about in that mud hole. I hope to plant some native grasses and wildflowers down there yet this spring to soak up the moisture. In this spot pictured, I've got tomatoes (Roma and Early Girl), peppers, cabbages, and onions. I'll add some nasturtiums seed soon. It doesn't look like much, but some of it is underground. The raised beds are all planted with seeds so there's nothing to look at except beautiful, black soil. The geraniums are potted on the front porch and the baskets are hanging.

Ahhhhh.....Life is good. God is good.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A blessed joyful day....

Yesterday we gave her away
to a wonderful, godly young man.

It was a beautiful day
In the most important ways....
God has blessed us all.


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