Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas from The Crew

What a glorious season it has been!  It certainly has been busy with friends, family, service, playing, working...  The list can just go on but in reality it has been a terrific season of celebration.  I am a religious woman- you know that (not too many ranchers are NOT). 

I take this time of year to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ because of the blessings that have come from His life.  Every day I am grateful for His birth, His life, and His death.  It has given me so much and everyday I strive to live in a way to thank Him. 

I have been blessed with a family- a wonderful, hard working husband, two happy and healthy kids, and a lifestyle that shows no bounds.  Every day we can connect with Him and, in His way, we work to serve people all over the world.

From all of us at the ranch, we want to say Merry Christmas!  Thank you for a fun year riding with the Eliasons! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The Buffalo-Working-Crew

I'm finally getting around to telling you a little more of working the buffalo from my trip to Lemhi.  The crew The Lemhi Rancher assembled was all sorts of random.  A sister and her crazy kids, a brother and his family, a few hands from the ranch and then the office crew.

The owner of the ranch has several businesses under his hat, which means he has a variety of guys that work for him.  The office guys come in really handy on the days when they run short on ranch hands.

Most ranches are only run with a few guys.  Sure there is always work to be done, but for the most part, the day to day things can be taken care of without a big crew.  But then there are a few days that you just can't do it alone.  On our operation, we turn to our neighbors and friends and in return we help them.  We realize how valuable the ranchers are that we work with and grateful we are that they are willing to step in.  In a way they become invested in our operation, hoping that the work that they do for us isn't in vain.  Because of their hard work, we are happy to turn around and help them whenever they need.  And its become a real blessing working so closely with neighbors.  They aren't competitors down the road but are family of the industry. 

At Lemhi, it isn't quite the same.  The cowboys don't go into the office to help do the accounting or paper work.  But working together on the ranch helps them have a better understanding of the role each of them play in the big pictures.  Working buffalo might not be their strength, but every bit of help is welcomed.  We take the buffalo-working crew however they come, with grateful hearts.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Little Lemhi, Idaho- My First Happily Ever After

Lemhi, Idaho will always have a special place in my heart.  Mostly the ranch that my brother worked on.  Why?  Good question... I'll tell you.

This is the place I met my cowboy.

I always said I would marry a cowboy but then when I went to college, there were no cowboys around.  I was interested in the nursing program at BYU- a school where there is nothing remotely close to an animal science or ag business programs.  See.. ya... no cowboys.  It was a little much for this country girl so I would head up to my brother's to visit, ride my horse, and get out of the city.  It so happened that The Rancher thought that Lemhi would be a great place to do an internship and took a semester there.  We met.  We played.  We worked.  We checked cows until midnight.  I though nothing would come from it because he didn't even come say by as I left that first weekend I met him.  That was until I got a call from my sister in law warning me that The Rancher had asked my brother for my phone number!  Too scared to ask me, but not too scared to ask his boss for his sisters number... Boys...

So we romanced and fell in love and got married.  Then we moved to the ranch!  We worked on the ranch the first 8 months before we went back to school.  It was like a long honey moon- we just worked and played with practically no one else around (have you heard of Lemhi?  No?  That's because its suuuuper small.  LOVE IT!).

Now when we go to visit I always think of those great few years where The Rancher and I got our start.  In some ways it will always be home because that it where we had our first home.  I love to take time to drive around the valley and the ranch to just take it all in.  This was the beginning of my happily ever after!

Cousins make the best of friends! How many boys does it take to open a gate?...

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!