Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Drive Through the Buffalo

My family loves to work together.  Is that weird?  For family reunions we have cut a horse (castrated him),  built fence, and put up drywall.  Everyone does stuff like that, right?!  Someone once told me that so long as you are doing something you enjoy, you can consider it recreation.  We like to recreate by working, sweating, stinking...  Ok, maybe not everyone and not all of the time... there are times we like to sit and do nothing.  But that doesn't last long at all.  

So whenever my older brother announces that he has big work days like preg checking the buffalo, we all (those within a reasonable distance) head out there.

The kids and I showed up the night before the big day, not long before The Lemhi Rancher (my brother) walked in the house.  He sat down with a sigh and said, "All the buffalo are in the corrals... what a relief!"  You could see that he REALLY was relieved.  Working buffalo carries a little more anxiety than working cows.  There is nothing really domestic about these animals.  They are still so primeval that whenever they encounter anything that stresses them out they go fight or flight.   Hard core fight or flight.  So for the work to go well, for the buffalo to get in the corral without any intense effort, IS relieving. 

We had one long day of work (more about that later...), like so long that at the end we had a few phones out to shed some light on the work.  Working hard all day meant that I didn't have anytime for pictures.  Which was just fine... That meant I had to take a drive the next day to satisfy the photographer in me!

I loaded up my kids and the cousins (to open the gates of course!) and we drove through the buffalo.  This was a first for us in a sorts.  We are usually up in the spring and summer, so to see the buffalo not losing their hair and in the snowy fields was a fun change.  I'm awed to watch the buffalo and like to imagine what it might have been when they roamed for hundreds of miles on end.  They are constantly moving, almost like they still have that instinct to migrate.  Good thing The Lemhi Rancher has some big pasture!

Like I said, primal... not domestic...  Certainly interesting, entertaining and always making a fun shot for this Rancher's Wife.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Have no fear... I'm still here!

Oh, dear readers...  I owe you an apology.  Do you know that it has been nearly 3 weeks since my last post?!  I can't believe how fast the time has been slipping away!  It seems like we just shipped the calves but that was weeks ago.  Since that time we moved cows, finished preg checking cows, went to our annual ICA Convention, gave thanks with our family, competed in the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet, and now we are full swing celebrating Christmas.  What a whirlwind (and a long sentence)!

Since so much has happened I have so much to share with you... and share I will!  But first I want to tell you something, explain something.

I love life.  I love MY life.  I love all of the pieces of it- being a mom, being a wife, working in the community, being involved in my church, pretending to be a photographer, blogging, and living on the ranch.  I don't know that there is anything I would change.  If there was something I could change it would only be to have more time to do more.  So much to do in so little time and there are so many dreams I have yet to live!  But having so many different areas to spend my time means that my time to work on each is spread thin.

About a year ago, a new fire was lit to inspire me in my blogging/photography work.  Speakers, conferences, discussions on society's perception of agriculture- it all pushed me to see how I could couple the things that I loved and use them for our industry.  Since then I have been pushing myself.  Pushing to learn new things about writing, taking photos, graphic design, web design, and being more aware what is happening in my little niche of the world.  Pushing myself to be more present in the social media world.  Pushing myself to meet new people and hear their story.

And in it all I came to a conclusion.

I have an incredible opportunity to connect the ag industry to the consumer.  For the most part, our world of producing beef never really comes in contact with those that eat our beef.  Once the calves leave the ranch, we begin to focus on the next bunch to be raised.  We don't have the luxury of tracking the beef to the plate.  I wish we could see the families that use our beef for dinner.  I would love to ask what their favorite recipes are, how they think its tasting, and then answer any questions that they might have.  I wish we could have a conversation with the consumer.

But we can't...  At least not a traditional conversation where we sit down and talk back and forth.  That only means I have to get creative to make that conversation happen.  Instead I am going try to have a conversation without really knowing if anyone is really there to listen.  I am going to tell my story, answer the questions that I hear out there in the virtual world, and hope that someone will hear it.

I love this work and I will do it in the hopes that it will help or inspire somebody.  And I will keep doing it if my life gets crazy and weeks slip by without touching the keyboard.  I want to connect to people through all of the craziness of life...  So... sorry its been so long.   But know that any time I have a brief hiatus, I will always return!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Rancher's Wife Calendar 2015

I did it again.  I made another calendar.  Last year I didn't really know what I was doing and this year.... I mostly do...  I'm jumping in again and just praying for the best.  I actually like trying to do some bits of graphic design and making a calendar that I would like to hang on my wall allows me to dabble in it a teensy bit.  And this last year I have loved to see some of my favorite photos on a calendar hanging on my wall. 

So with out further ado, I am announcing my 2015 calendar!

If you are interested in a calendar, please email me or comment on this post.  The calendar will be $25.00, which already includes shipping.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Family Photoshoot in the Snow

For having a population of about 90, there are so many terrific people in this little valley.  In the few years that we have been living here I have made some incredible friends.  Over the last few struggling years its been humbling to watch our ranching and farming friends plead and pray for help and to see them celebrate in their triumphs and stand tall in their trials.

This little family has to be at the top of our best friends.  He was best friends with The Rancher as they grew up, she and I hit it off instantly and we have kids the exact same age that already love each other.  She asked me to take a few family pictures and we found the perfect day on the morning of the first snow of the season.  Now when I say she wanted me to take a few, she really meant it.  "I just need a family one, one of each kid... and I guess just the two of us!"  That's just what we said.  I snagged a few others and then talked them into taking a few fun ones "sledding" that I think turned out so fun!

I'm a work in progress, ready and eager to learn how to take AWESOME pictures, and I'm grateful for those willing to jump in and let me capture their story!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Headed to Fall Pasture

Calling it fall pasture now sounds wrong that it is currently covered with a sheet of white snow, but since the calendar still calls this time of year fall we will go with it.  Fall pasture.  That's where we headed a week ago. The Rancher asked me one of my favorite questions- do you wanna ride?  Um... YES! 

It really was a fabulous day and a fabulous day for a ride.  Unfortunately... there was one part of that day that wasn't so fabulous- I didn't bring my camera!  I was so busy getting kids together and getting out before the cowboys left me that it slipped my mind.  But in some ways it made for a different kind of ride.

I always enjoy being out for a ride and I love capturing the scenes of the day.  But as I've been riding and photographing at the same time, I realized that as much as I take in with my camera I don't personally it take in.  I look around seeing my next photo or noticing some exciting action and then I take the picture instead of internalizing what's happening.  And that is exactly what I did this ride.

We gathered in the forest cattle, the same bunch we had brought in twice already.  This time it was to sort off all of our remaining cows to head over a couple of hills to the fall pasture.  Luckily they pretty well sorted themselves... a few of them were a little hot and if too many were that feisty it might have made for a bad day...  When they take on the horse in front of them rather than running through the gate, you can see that there was plenty of fun that day.  Once we got all of our cows out The Rancher, Cowboy E and I started moving them down the road. 

It was uneventful.  The cows moved slow because they were busy eating all along the way.  The air was chilly but the sun beating down was warm and comfortable.  We commented about how good and fat the cows looked.  And we called for the dog keep the cows moving (NEVER move cows without a good cow dog... he's worth his weight in gold!). It was nice to have a moment to connect to what we were doing and take it all in.  The creak in my saddle, the cow's hooves on the gravel, and the dog running were the only things to really take my attention.

This little uneventful ride helped me realize how beautiful of a life we live, in its simplicity and in its intensity.  We have times of the year that we fall into bed exhausted only to wake up early again the next morning.  Then there are the days that The Rancher gets done early enough to saddle up the horse for the kids to ride.  In all of it we get to live a life where we work as a family to raise beef to help feed the world.  We work hard, play hard, and have beauties all around.  On this ride to fall pasture I didn't capture the day with my camera, but I certainly captured it with my heart.  If only I could help you to see the imprint it has left on this rancher's wife.