Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Preg checking.  It isn't glamorous, it isn't picturesque but it certainly is exciting and entertaining.  Not the actual preg checking itself... that is somewhat boring and redundant.  We make the day entertaining and exciting any way we can, which most often includes some kind of razzing about somebody everybody.

On this fine fall day, we were working the cattle we run on the forest ground.  It is a considerably smaller herd of cows than the group we do out to Black Pine.  Don't get me wrong, with three different ranches pooling cows together, there was still a lot to do, but we were able to slow things down a bit.

And slowing things down for a bit was kinda nice. I'm sure that the guy that got put on the fence a few times didn't think it was a take-it-easy kind of preg checking day. Or the guy that was doing the preg checking...  There's nothing nice or easy going IN the OUT end of a cow! 

Every rancher will tell that there is more work to be done than there are hours of the day.  Even if the cows are settled and the haying is done and the water looks good, there is fence that could use fixing and equipment could do with servicing.  There comes a point that you have to decide just how hard you want to push yourself.  You could work a neck break pace and get a lot of work done, but that leads straight to burnout and once you hit burnout you hate your job.  And where this is more than a job, its a lifestyle, we can't afford to reach the burnout stage.

So what do you do to avoid burnout?  I don't know that we have totally found the answer to this question.  Unfortunately there are those days and weeks that you have no choice but to push hard.  But even though we don't have the complete solution, I will tell you that there is one thing we always keep in mind and that is our priorities.

There are a lot of things that are important to our family and our ranch.  Obviously, as far as the ranch goes, the cows have gotta be happy.  Its hard to swallow that hundreds of other girls get my cowboy's attention over me, until you take into consideration that they are cows.  Then its all good.  Beyond the ranch, our priorities are God, family, and community because without God we are nothing, with out family none of it is worth it, and its all so much better with good friends and neighbors.

Our priorities have to be family priorities with a common goal because on the long days where my husband is nearly non existent and I am being both mom and dad, it can get overwhelming.  If I didn't have the ranch's success as one of my priorities I'm pretty positive in would be a real cranky wife being put second.  And knowing The Rancher's priorities include taking care of his family helps me to know that he is doing everything he can to make it back home as fast as he can.

So on this day of preg checking, we certainly had getting the work done as our top priority.  But enjoying our time working together with our family and friends was a close second.  And because it was, it was a fun day even if it was spent at the back end of a cow.   

Thursday, January 19, 2017

It Looks Like we are Working, But we Call it a Vacation

We preg checked the buffalo again.  Not because we had to, which is usually why we go preg checking, but because we want to.  Are we weird because we want to do more preg checking?  I know we are... We are one of those families that enjoy working, so instead of taking a real vacation, we go to my brother's place to do more work.
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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.
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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....
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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.  
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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Range Weaning Out to Black Pine

Not being a local girl to southern Idaho, its been pretty fun for me to hear and learn little bits of the history, especially the fun tidbits that relate directly to the family, the ranch, or the land we run on.  And since the family has been around for more than 100 years and we run on like 50,000 acres (ok… I don’t really know how much land it is, I just made that up… but its a LOT) of public ground, there is a lot of history there.  History ranging from the construction of the transcontinental railroad to the wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail to the local Indian tribes that lived in the valley.
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Friday, January 6, 2017

Confessions About Truckers...

I have a terrible confession to make…. Growing up I had a very narrow minded, very terrible perception of truck drivers. There… I said it. And the sad thing is that it was an opinion I formed in the first grade that took me YEARS to change.

I very vividly remember my little 6 year old self sitting around a table with a few of the boys of my class hearing them say that all they wanted to do when they grew up was to drive semi.  Now, if you please, imagine a very cute somewhat bossy, sassy, darling and very opinionated little girl that was sure that the only dreams worth living were her dreams… that’s me.  In my mind, the only guys that drove semis were fat, stinky single fathers that drank and smoked and were on the road so much that their own mothers had to take care of their kids.  It was like they couldn’t get a job at home and the only thing they could do was drive.  I took them for failures and therefore anyone that drove semi or wanted to, were failures at life too.  Pretty terrible right?  At the time I didn’t think so and so you can guess that when I heard these boys I was absolutely baffled why someone would want to choose a life as a failure, destined to be stinky, lonely, and fat from sitting on their rear all day.  

Great opinion, huh?  Remember I was 6!

Fast forward 14 years and all the sudden there I was marrying a man that loved semis just like those boys, and although he didn’t want to be a truck driver all his life, he did love the opportunity to haul cows in the semi.  Eek! I kinda couldn’t believe it and I really didn’t ever want to admit that my husband did such a thing.  But after riding with him those first few years, my opinion drastically changed.

Having an up close view of just what it is like in driver’s seat helped me realize that first, driving semi isn’t easy and isn’t for the faint of heart.  That moment when you have to pull your rig across the highway, stopping all lanes of traffic to get turned around to get backed into that tight spot to load up just about makes me pee my pants… And I’m just the passenger! And speaking of backing up, can you imagine backing up a 50 foot trailer a quarter mile when you struggle to back up your car 10 feet?!  I seriously thought truck driving didn’t require a brain but then my mind as BLOWN watching The Rancher drive. 

Being the wife of an occasional trucker help to debunk the all-truckers-are-fat-stinky-losers myth pretty fast.  I mean, with a wife as awesome as me, how can you NOT be rocking life?! Haha… But seriously, The Rancher’s character of being an honest, hardworking, giving, God-fearing family man easily proves that truckers are great men too.

Do you hate me? I seriously had a terrible perception and really discredited a lot of good men (and women!) with my shallow stereotype.  But now every time Smokey and The Bandit comes on, I have a sense of pride for my trucking husband. So now I am here to tell you truckers are people too! And good people!  Sure there are a few that give them all a bad name, but that’s in every job and industry we see.  They are good, smart, skilled people that just have their own dreams. 

PS On a similar note, The Rancher says to give a little love and share the road with those truckers.  Just remember, they are bigger than you!