Monday, January 16, 2017

Christmas Sledding, Mackay Style

Its winter here.  Full blown winter.  It has been cold.  Not as cold as some places, but there is a point that cold is just cold.  But its not just the cold that has us knee deep in winter, its the snow.  SO MUCH SNOW!  Like, now that it has settled and been rained on, we are down to about 2 feet.

Yep.  Full blown winter.

But that's mostly ok because we really need the moisture and this is the slow time of year anyway.  So except for the super, SUPER cold days, we are loving winter.  The Rancher takes every chance to go coyote and bunny hunting, snowmobiling, and the kids and I pull out the tubes and sleds every chance we get.  We have had snowball fights and built snowmen.  We have made snow forts and even had a herd of snow angels until they were snowed on again.

Its been lots of fun.  Most of the time I'm too busy being the mom immersed in the fun to take a step back to take any pictures (which I need to do for posterity's sake) but I do have some awesome stories and pictures from sledding over Christmas break while we were in Montana with the cousins.

Even though the temperatures were hovering just about zero (when you were OUT of the wind) we thought we would pull out the sleds and four wheeler and have a go.  Because it had been so cold, the snow was really fine and powdery, even though it was nearing a foot deep. That meant snow was flying everywhere!  Spraying in our faces, going down coats and shirts.  So cold!  Most of the littles only lasted a few minutes outside, and I don't blame them.  At the end there was only a handful of the big kids and then the even bigger kids, aka- the parents!  

And that's when one of my brother's had the idea to build a jump.  He's an engineer so of course he figured out the math to make it a pretty awesome jump.  He figured the perfect spot on the downhill side, coming off the corner so that we would have the most momentum swinging around as we hit the jump.  After just a few runs I had to grab the camera to settle in to catch it all.  But that might have gotten me in a little trouble when the mom's looked at just exactly what we were doing!

Have a look!

The super fine powder was everywhere when they would fly through the snow.  And I'll admit, I got a little excited with it being backlit...

These kids would FLY through the air when they hit the jump!  Their feet would be above their heads as they sailed above the fence.  It was a pretty crazy site.

When I took a turn on the tube, my sister grabbed the camera and caught a few of me and my brother.  We went as hard and as fast as we could and didn't come off.  But to save ourselves we had to let go so we didn't run into the parked car at the bottom of the hill!

You can't really tell, but this is my brother and his son.  They were riding side by side, but about this time, my brother ended up on top of his boy and then....

... they landed the jump like this!  It sorta looks like a bomb went off here...  So cool!

 I still stand by what I've said so many times in the past, ranchers are boys that just couldn't stop playing... Now they have bigger toys and even more fun! 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Branding Chased out by the Thunderstorm

Dare I share branding pictures? Soon enough I will be filled up with branding photos again, so I was half tempted to not but since they were already edited and ready to put up I decided to go for it.  I'm not one to waste effort after all....

When I look at these photos I have lots of memories of this day. Like how...

1.  The Rancher's Sidekick begged us not to brand this day because he still had to go to school.  He didn't want to skip school that day to help, but he didn't want to miss branding so his solution was to just ask us to brand a different day!

2. I took my new car out on the range for the first time.  With my growing family and so many bags and car seats, my truck just didn't cut it... Such a sad day...

3. The cowboys had a unique problem- there was grass.  And apparently roping in the grass makes for rough catching because your rope gets caught on the grass long before it scoops up a pair of heels.

There were a few other thoughts that came to mind but the big memory was the thunder storm that followed.  I bet nobody else remembers that the rain and thunder chased us out, but I do.  I bet they wouldn't even say that it chased us out.  But I remember.

I remember those blasted rain clouds rolling in.  They are the ones that pretty much spell thunderstorm and always head right for us.  And that is when I run for cover, usually for my bed covers and under the pillows.

You see, friends... I don't like thunderstorms.  More specifically I don't like thunder.  I don't like the spine tingling feeling you get when your can feel the thunder has much as you can hear it. The lightning I can handle so long as it is far, FAR away (which usually means I can't hear the thunder... which is probably why its ok..).  The Rancher laughs at me and how I freak out when a storm rolls in but it just happens.

I'm scared of thunderstorms.

I know cowgirls are supposed to be tough and resourceful and brave and can handle anything.  And for the most part I would say that I am tough and brave, until it comes to the storms.  Once upon a time there was a big storm as I was driving the few miles to get home. And as I pulled up to my parents driveway, my gutless bald-tire little car decided it couldn't make it up the super slick driveway.  I figured that since there was no way my car was going to make it up to the house anytime soon, I probably had two option: either sit in the car and wait for the rain to stop or just suck it up and run through the rain to the house.  Not wanting to sit in the car and die a young death from the scary rain and thunder, I decided to run for it.  I bravely slipped off my flip flops (I just knew that running in my flips flops would end badly), opened the door and jumped put.  And just as I closed the door, there was a flash and a boom-crash and I ran the fastest 40 yd dash up to the house.  It probably wasn't that far to run but it felt like it...

And that, my friends, is why I hate thunderstorms...

I wish I liked them.  In all reality I know I am safe and the likelihood of getting zapped is pretty slim. And they are the coolest light show ever, but instead of enjoying them my heart just beats fast and I close my eyes.

Don't think any less of me because I'm not the bravest cowgirl all the time...  Just applaud my honesty and enjoy a few pictures of branding that stormy day!      

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Growing a Kid Crop, Growing a Calf Crop

2016 will go down as a big year for The Rancher’s Sidekick. It’s amazing how fast kids can learn and grow and change.  This boy went from baby to a boy overnight.  I know, that’s not how it actually happens , but when you are the momma you just can’t let your oldest grow up.  But then one day you wake up and he is going to school and totally ok without you.  And then he comes home from school and he can read and write and likes girls and he just isn’t the same kid you sent out the door. 

Obviously school wasn’t the only place he was growing up on me but at home and on the ranch too.  Can I just say how amazing it is to finally have a kid that can help out around the house?!  My kids have doing chores and helping since they were little (in our house everyone helps in the home and on the ranch as soon as they can walk… not really, but young… I believe in teaching my kids how to work).  But The Rancher’s Sidekick can actually really help now.  Like do a job on his own.  And not like the I’m-doing-my-chores-but-mom-really-does-all-the-work-because-I’m-too-little-to-do-a-good-job kind of on his own. 

Can you tell I’m pumped?

This may be as freeing as potty training!

Ok, I may be dramatizing things a bit, but it’s so nice to have him growing up and able to have a little responsibility and him handling it so well. Proud momma here.

And then there’s the growth he’s had on the ranch.  There’s a reason I call him the sidekick because he goes everywhere with his dad.  In fact, this last summer, he would wake up early to make sure that he wouldn’t get left behind.  There were very few day that he didn’t go about to work with The Rancher and stay out there all day.  And he wasn’t just a tag along but actually helped get the work done.  I couldn’t believe the stories he would come home telling about his adventures throughout the day.  In fact, I would sit there, eyebrows raised at The Rancher, when I would hear about how he had pushed the cows all alone out on the range.  It seems just like yesterday I would have to go with him if he wanted to ride and now all of the sudden he isn’t just riding by himself but pushing his own herd of cows!  Of course, The Rancher would smile and beam with pride at his growing boy and slowly my heart would slow down and I could see that our boy really was growing up and he is becoming someone I am so proud of. 

Now, it complete transparency, he is still a typical little boy that is currently in big trouble for not listening to his momma.  And he absolutely drive me crazy with all the boy noises, farting, burping, and how he torments his sister.  But, as we are all a work in progress, I can’t help but be so pleased with his progress. 

Ya know, on the ranch we are all about growth- we’ve gotta get out calf crop BIG.  We select genetics to grow big calves and to have cows that milk well to grow big calves. We have genetics to have calves that grow big out on the range and desert and genetics to have low birthweight calves that will gain fast.  We supplement our cattle with protein and mineral to help with nutrition to grow big calves…. Its all about growing big calves!  At home we are worried about growth too, but less about physical growth and more about what kind of people our kid crop is becoming.  We want to see them grow into hard working, responsible, caring, and committed people.  We want them to grow into people that

So far, I think we are doing pretty ok!