On The Ranch

A Little Branding

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Last Friday we branded a little bunch of calves that were born late and thus missed the spring branding. It seems like one in there only missed the spring branding by a hair because he was a monster and it was pretty good entertainment watching the guys try to get him caught and flanked. You know when you’re laughing so hard because something is ridiculous but then it only makes you clumsy so it becomes even more ridiculous and a vicious cycle ensues? That was the deal with six grown men and a Hereford bull calf who was not having it. There aren’t any pictures of that particular episode because I was laughing so hard I couldn’t hold up the camera!

Wacey was so excited  to go hang out with the cowboys, and I think the cowboys were all excited for a day to goof off. Branding is always fun, but when you’re branding less than twenty calves, it becomes a lot more play than work and basically a big excuse to work a little and then stand around and have a little party by the pens and trade stories and joke and be silly.

It was a good ending to a good week! We’re working out our schedule as the ranch gets closer to closing and figuring out when we’re going to move house. We should be all moved in by the first of December! Last Friday made me glad that we’re not going far, our neighbors here are so nice and fun, and it would be sad to pack up and leave yet another good group of people; we still miss the crew from Colorado.

Also, you can sort of see–Wacey got a hair cut last week and I’m dying. He looks so grown-up! He hates haircuts, so in the past we’ve usually gotten a stylist who got so flustered that they gave him something akin to the Lloyd Christmas special that I ended up trying to “fix” at home (read: make less bad, but usually failing to do so). Who would have thought that the stylist with nerves of steel and a deft hand with some clippers would be in a cute little hair salon in Ruidoso, New Mexico? Not I! That’ll teach me to underestimate small town America.

This week, of course, is Halloween! We are taking Wacey (and Buster!) trick-or-treating for the first time tomorrow and we’re so excited. Wace has been practicing his “trick or treeeeat!” all morning! Follow my Insta for pictures, I’m making a concerted effort to take a bunch since I took only one, basically, last year and the year before. Good job, mom.

Happy Halloween!

 

Personal

#RuralWellnessChallenge Week 4

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Hi! End of Week 4. I feel good! I was looking at pictures of exactly two years ago when Wace was 8 months old, and I think I look healthier now than I did then, so that’s nice to know.

Best Day: Thursday! Yesterday would have been, but I didn’t MommaStrong.
Worst Day: Monday, again! Weird.
Proud that: I exercised even when I really, really didn’t want to, and went on long walks both today and yesterday.
Not proud that: I moped around on Monday and hardly moved at all for no good reason.
Next week’s goal: to exercise and not eat all of Wacey’s Halloween candy.

The best part of this challenge is showing me what’s working and what’s not, and I’m excited to continue in November!

Friday Favorites · Home

Friday Faves

Happy Friday! Guess what? We’re moving. Yes, we just did that. Yes, we’re doing it again. Why not, right?

Don’t answer that. There are a lot of reasons.

The ranch Bert is currently working for has been sold, and he received a great offer from another ranch in the area, so….we’re moving again! Yes! For the second time in three months we will be packing everything up, and moving it. Yay! (<< sort of manufactured enthusiasm, sort of not).

The new ranch is 20 miles down the road, and has been in the same family since 1917, so it’s unlikely *crosses fingers* that they’ll sell it. Ha. (<<not manufactured sarcasm). It feels good.

So. We will have a new new house. However, guys, the new new house is cool. It’s old, like real old, and needs some work, but oh, the bones of it are so good. And, the closet space is unreal for such an old house. And there’s trees, a tire swing, and a gas range. And funny quirks, like a weird pantry, and the laundry room is in one of the bedrooms. But I sort of enjoy funny quirks because it gives it character.

Anyways.

I’ll cut right to the chase: new house, new Pinterest board, new five-gallon bucket of Revere Pewter. Onwards.

Favorite Chalkboard: Weathered Framed Board. The current porch is a screened-in affair that the owners are enclosing and updating (*cross fingers* *knock on wood* *Hail Marys*) before we move in. The idea is that it will end up being a big ole functional mudroom (please, Lord). If that’s the case (again, please Lord), I would love to have a big chalkboard in there to write verses, song lyrics, uplifting snippets, menus for gatherings, etc. It’s going to be a pretty mudroom.

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Favorite I Wonder If This Actually Works: Cabinet Door Transformation. The part of this house that needs updated the most obviously is the kitchen. The cabinets are oldie-but-sort-of-goodie plywood (yes) that are stained classic 1950s orangey wood. So. Unless the ranch has big plans to redo all of the kitchen cabinets, this little project might be on my (eventual) to-do list. Or they might grow on me and we’ll just pretend we’re super ranchy circa 1951.

cabinetsFavorite Bulletin Board Revival: Burlap and Frame. In the kitchen there is a place for a desk or buffet table or something. I’d like to put a something there with a pretty bulletin board like this over it with all of our calendars and things. We already have a pretty bulletin board, but it needs a refresher, and I love the frame on this one. I might try to see if there’s a way I could do it with crown molding and our current board. I also love the idea of having a little banner of photographs!

framed bulletin board
Favorite Well-We’re-Moving-So-May-As-Well-Get-It-Done: Faded Jeans Chalk Paint. Wacey’s bed needs a refresher, so I’m painting it blue. Bam! Instant refresher. When I go to my high school reunion in a month, and someone asks me what I do, I’m going to tell them I’m a painter because apparently I paint. So, I’m a painter who paints.

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Favorite Welcome Mat: Hey Good Lookin’. We will finally have one door that everyone will use, so a doormat is a must. This is one of my favorite songs, I remember my parents playing it when I was growing up and it has such a special place in my heart. Plus, what a nice thing to say, right? “Welcome to our house, you good-lookin’ human you.” It’s a little sassy, a little uplifting, but also functional. Add in “on time” and you’ve got all the things I strive to be.
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Favorite Bathroom Lights: Farmhouse Lights. I’ve wanted these in the last three houses we’ve lived in and never pulled the trigger. In the master bedroom of this house, the bed is right across from the sink (bath and toilet are in their own little room), and so I’ll have to look at the lights all the time. Eventually, I want to put these in. Very eventually, since no one wants to be the ranch gal that moves in and does allthethings. I mean, I actually do want to be that gal, but that gal is overbearing and high-maintenance, and I don’t want to be that gal, so we’ll all be confused and I’ll wait on the light.
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Favorite Why Haven’t I Done This Yet: Gold Dipped Barstools. We have two barstools that have been with us since Montana. They’re the sort of cheapie ones, but they’re sturdy, and they were free, so I’d like to give them a little fresher-upper with some paint. I already have quite a few cans of spray paint laying around, so I’m not sure why I haven’t done this yet!
painted bar stoolFavorite I Think I Already Talked About This But *Heart Eyes*: Pipe Wood Rack. I love this. Love it! It’s a great way to store a lot of wood in not a lot of space. This house has our first-ever fireplace (and by that I mean Christmas Stocking Displayer) instead of a woodstove, so it’s for funsies only, and I think this sort of rack would be perfect to have out on the porch without taking up tons of room. Also: not sad about not needing to cut and split and stack a thousand million pounds of wood this winter.
pipe wood holder
Favorite HA THIS WILL NEVER BE IN MY BUDGET BUT GOSH IT’S PRETTY: Fancy A** Barstool. I just like these. Kacey Musgraves has them in her house. I like the butt cheek contouring.
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So. There it is. Yet another Friday Favorites full of things for a new house that will hopefully (so many prayers, Lord) come to fruition. I know you’re probably sick of these but you know, I can’t believe we’re moving again. I’m not sad, really, but this is my way of hyping myself up and distracting myself from the fact that we have to move again because moving is so much work. So much. But. Doormat. Chalkboard. (Hopefully) awesome mudroom. Gas range. Full-size fridge. Actual closets. A closet big enough to be a closet and an office. Character. Awesome ranchiness. And, I believe there’s a full-size cutout of John Wayne in Wacey’s closet that comes with the house so: all future guests, beware.

(If you’re related to me, specifically to the Millers, you’ll understand that John Wayne will function as Captain Kirk. And you’ll understand I’ve been dreaming of that exact day for years.)

 

Personal

#RuralWellnessChallenge Week 3

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Hi! End of Week 3. I’m starting to notice the effects of exercising regularly–I don’t have to stop going up the hills when I’m pushing the boys in the stroller, I can lunge for.ev.er, and holding planks is no longer an issue.

Best Day: Friday, for once!
Worst Day: Monday. Exercise didn’t really happen.
Proud that: I finished the week like, real strong, and I did five MommaStrong workouts!
Not proud that: I didn’t get as many active minutes as I should have.
Next week’s goal: 5/5 days for MS, more fruits and veggies.

The best part of this challenge is showing me what’s working and what’s not, and I’m excited to make some big changes in November!

Friday Favorites

Friday Five

I’m writing this on Wednesday night. Bert’s out of town dayworking for a few days, and so the boys and I have been getting up to all kinds of shenanigans like not eating actual dinner and watching the new Magic School Bus in my bed and playing with the horses when we’re just supposed to be checking their water. Right now, they’re both asleep, I’m sitting on my bed wearing buffalo plaid pajamas and eating dark chocolate while watching Gilmore Girls so for this moment, all is right with the world.

Except that Gaucho keeps scratching himself in the mudroom (we share a wall) and it scares the bejeezus out of me because it sounds like someone knocking and yes, I have just gone and dead-bolted every door. Which is suuuuper handy in the literal middle of nowhere, I know, but it makes me feel better.

  1. This kid a) has the greatest moobs, and b) is teething. So a) adorable but b) horrendous. Thankfully, this ain’t my first rodeo, and I’ve already stocked up on Motrin because that was the only thing (and y’all, we’ve tried all.the.things that run the length of the crunchy/non-crunchy spectrum) that helped Wace (other than eating excessively which may cause him to make the jump from the 100th percentile to…whatever is beyond the 100th percentile) and apparently he and Wacey have that in common.bathtub
  2. So, a bunch of my face stuff ran out at once (isn’t that the way it always happens?), but that was okay because I wasn’t feeling super jazzed about it anymore anyway (oh, babies, and the things they do to us). So. I got this cleanser, and this oil, and: the cleanser is lovely. It doesn’t make my skin feel like the Sahara (which is a revelation), and the oil is moisturizing but I’ve noticed that my face is waaaaay less shiny so I’ve started using it as a moisturizer. I still use a moisturizer with SPF each morning, though. Also: my retinol product is almost out and I think I’m going to try this one next time instead because the one I’ve been using for two years just isn’t cutting it anymore. See the aforementioned babies. Even ranch gals like to have pretty skin.

    I don’t know if you care about that, but I enjoy beauty product reviews since the nearest Sephora is 200 miles away, mostly so someone else can decide if something’s a dud, so maybe you do?

  3. It’s Friday. Which means it’s time for fajitas! So, stop what you’re doing and make these. Make sure you don’t skip the lime juice. Believe me. Or the cilantro. Unless you’re one of those unfortunate souls to whom cilantro tastes like soap in which case, I’m sorry for your loss. Then, when you have leftovers because you made so much delicious meat, chop it up, saute some peppers and onions, and toss them into quesadillas.
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  4. We’re about a month out from my birthday sooooo I’m currently trying to decide whether or not I blow my whole birthday shopping budget (that’s my gift–I get to go shopping–alone) on Johnny Was, or exercise some restraint and…not blow my whole birthday budget on Johnny Was. But this top exists, so restraint’s not looking great. Buuuut I also want some new jeans, so…
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  5. This weekend, I’m making this masterpiece of a chicken, and I can’t wait. I love my beef, but gosh you can’t beat a good roasted chicken.

Poor Dean, he just told Rory he loves her and Rory’s being pretttty awkward. Ah, to be young and in love. Or maybe not in love, if you’re Rory.

Happy Friday! This weekend, we’ll probably cake some cows, check some waters, and (hopefully) eat some Sugar Babies. Also: big news (no, not pregnant) hitting the blog sometime next week, so stay tuned.

PS: Did you see the picture I posted of Shadrach the colt over on Insta? Grey horses are honestly and truly one of my love languages and oh be still my heart.

 

 

 

let's visit

Antibiotics: Part 1

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Let’s pretend that we’re sitting somewhere cozy, with big comfy armchairs, and something delicious to sip on. Let’s say it’s chilly outside–precipiation is up to you–but there’s definitely some fall colors action. Got that in your head? Great.

Because today, we’re going to visit about…antibiotics.

Yep. Those little guys. You hear a lot about antibiotics in the fall because kids are going back to school, little ones are going to preschool for the first time, Dan’s got a cough that he brought to the office so now everyone is sick, the weather’s cooling down, life is getting busier. And on farm and ranches, calves are being born or weaned, depending on the ranch’s calving schedule, and many are getting shipped to new locations, and being on top of herd health is ever-important. Plus, cows can get the sniffles, too!

So, here are some things about antibiotics that I hear a lot, and some things about those things. I apologize, this post is on the drier side, but I can only drum up so much hilarity and sarcasm for something as science-y and important as antibiotics.

70% of all the antibiotic use in the US is in livestock. This is true. But, remember: a cow weighs a lot more than a human, even a really big human. So, they’re going to need more antibiotics. It’s all about scale here. You need more antibiotics than your kid, a cow needs more antibiotics than you.

Using broad-spectrum antibiotics causes antibiotic resistance. I talked to a vet about this, and the way he explained it was the it’s not broad- or narrow-spectrum that matters, it’s the efficacy of the antibiotic. If an antibiotic is not meant to treat pneumonia, we won’t use it to treat pneumonia. If a broad-spectrum antibiotic will effectively treat, say, pneumonia, foot rot, and pinkeye, we can use it on any one of those things and expect it to do its job safely.

Edited to add: a microbiologist friend (that I used to nanny–so proud of her!) pointed out that using antibiotics at all–in humans or animals–is going to contribute to antibiotic resistance. Reducing their misuse in both humans and livestock is an imperative, and one that we take very seriously. Thank you for helping me be more clear here, Rhodes!!

Livestock use the same antibiotics that people do, so this is where antibiotic resistance comes from. There are some antibiotics that we can use in livestock and humans–like penicillin–but the most commonly used class of antibiotics in cattle (tetracyclines) are the least commonly used in humans, and 71% of the antibiotics used in cattle are either not given to humans at all, or hardly used at all. 38% are outright not medically important to humans. In the rare instance when we do use drugs like penicillin, it’s because it’s the best choice to knock out the bug in question, which is in the best interests of everyone (see above).

In feedlots, cattle are fed antibiotics to keep them from getting sick and to help them grow. No, vaccinations are used to prevent disease, and carefully formulated rations are used to help them grow. When an animal becomes sick in a feedlot, it is pulled out of the pen by a penrider, treated by a vet, and not returned to the pen until it’s well. Seriously. Also, the phrase “mass-treating livestock” sounds terrible, so that’s why the media uses it. Sometimes, an entire pen will be treated in cases where something really nasty and contagious has happened (someone showing up to the office with strep and coughing on the donuts, anyone?) but cattle are not fed antibiotics for funsies or for growth. In fact, the FDA has come out with guidance eliminating medically-important antibiotics (antibiotics often used by humans, too) from being used as growth promotants in feed and water. The FDA is also in the process of moving medically-important drugs that were previously over-the-counter to needing a vet’s permission to use.

If you eat an animal that has been fed antibiotics, you’re eating them too. I talked about this a few weeks back, but I’ll reiterate: Nope. Nope nope nope. Not a thing.  Even if an animal was treated with antibiotics, you aren’t “eating” those antibiotics when you consume that meat. All antibiotics have withdrawal periods before an animal can be slaughtered to prevent residues from ending up in meat. USDA inspectors then test the carcasses at the packing plants to ensure that residual guidelines are strictly followed. There’s literally a National Residue Program for this, and programs for continuing producer education like Beef Quality Assurance. There’s also a publicly available list of producers who have more than one residue violation. It’s updated weekly, and the USDA will use it to take extra care to inspect meat from those producers. Cattle buyers also use it to know if any of their suppliers have residue problems so they can be extra vigilant or choose not to work with that supplier. It’s a big deal, y’all, and we take it very seriously.

Also: meat from animals not treated with antibiotics is not any healthier or safer for you to eat when compared to meat from animals that were treated with antibiodics. #science.

Antibiotics happen because other herd health management didn’t. Again, a resounding nope. Beef producers work very closely with vets and nutritionists to makes sure their herd is properly vaccinated and fed so they are in the best health they can be. Antibiotics happen because an animal got sick, despite our best efforts, and we need to help it get better because that’s the right thing to do. We all know that, no matter how hard we try, we sometimes get sick and need medicine. Cattle are the same. Also: did you know that producers often give a probiotic in addition to an antibiotic, especially to young animals? It’s the truth. Someone dared me to eat some once, buuuuut I didn’t. #fraidycat #notacalf

Basically, guys, we treat animals when they’re sick. It’s the right thing to do. If you see meat that is labeled as never having had antibiotics, that does not mean the animal was better or worse cared for than an animal that was given antibiotics, or that is it better or worse for you or for the environment. Sometimes it’s luck (or lack thereof), sometimes it’s the weather, sometimes it’s an animal’s immune system, sometimes it’s something else. Full stop.

That will do it for Part 1! It’s kind of a big subject.

More resources here, here, and here.

 

Personal

Twelve Things

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  1. You might have noticed that things have been less cow-y on the blog as of late. First, it was because we were packing and moving and unpacking and unmoving. Lately, it’s been because there hasn’t been much cow-ing going on, and part of that is because they shipped calves early and don’t have many cows here at the moment, but it’s also because…the owners sold the ranch. So, the last few weeks have been a lot of talking, planning and figuring out what our next steps are going to be.
  2. Bert has received several job offers in the area, including from the ex- and future owners of the ranch, which is wonderful because we really, really like this area and all the people here. I’m so proud of him. We have a pretty good idea about which route we’re going to take, and as soon as we’re able to share, you know I will. I’m very thankful we will be able to stay around here, even if we do end up moving houses.
  3. Life on a ranch–especially if you don’t own it, but even if you do–is a very uncertain thing. At any moment, the ranch could be sold, a wildfire could start, the bottom could fall out of the cow market…so many things. So, like everyone else, we’re rolling with the punches, and if that means we’ll end up living in three different houses in a four-month span, okie doke.
  4. Have you heard of these sunglasses? I got Bert a pair for his birthday, and they’re really cool. They’re made out of (sustainably-harvested) wood, so they’re mega light, but they’re also polarized, and the hinge on the side goes both ways so they fit so nicely. I’m putting a pair on my Christmas wish list!
  5. I am having the hardest time figuring out what to get Buster for Christmas. I know it’s early, but we like to be prepared. We’re definitely getting him a little chair to match Wacey’s, but other than that I’m stumped.  He already has plenty of toys, clothes, and shoes. Is it okay to get a “group gift” that Wacey can play with now but that Buster won’t be able to play with for a while yet? I mean, he’ll be nine months old, so he won’t know if he doesn’t get a bunch of stuff, but still.
  6. I’m currently reading the first book of Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, and oh, it’s so good. If you like: Downton Abbey, World War I, the Russian Revolution, politics, Votes for Women…read it.
  7. Antelope season happened, and someone cleaned an antelope sort of by the house, and now there’s an antelope hide in my yard. #cool.
  8. Wacey has started talking about Santa and Christmas trees and oh my heart, I am so excited for Christmas this year. One of the things I’ve caught myself doing as we’ve been interviewing (nonstop since July, it feels like) is decide where the Christmas tree would go in all the houses, so I guess he’s my kid. He’s got Bert’s eyes, and general everything, so I’m glad he’s got my love of the holidays. We may have watched The Santa Clause today because he wanted to see Santa.
  9. Roasts are so cozy. So we’re having one! Recipe on my insta-stories later today.
  10. Why are there not more remote jobs, or why are they so hard to find if they exist? #ugh.
  11. As part of my #RuralWellnessChallenge, I have been looking at my diet a little more closely and after reading this post, I have been looking at added sugar, and yiiiiikes. It’s in everything! I’m trying to keep added sugar to 25 grams or less most of the time (except for when, say, we’re checking waters on Sunday and I demolish a bag of Sugar Babies), and gosh, that could be tough. Sugar is in everything it seems, from even “healthy” cereals to Wheat Thins to ketchup and jarred pasta sauce, and I thought I knew but oh man I did not.
  12. I want so desperately to be an ace DIY-er, but you know, I’m just not. That being said, I will DIY the heck outta something if I hate it and can’t replace it, so maybe I’m an Angry DIY-er? Hmm. What does it say about me that my primary motivation for home improvement stems from anger, annoyance, and general discontentment? I’ve decided I don’t care, because I will take any motivation I can get.

Happy Monday! It’s going to be a good week. I can feel it. I’ll be back Wednesday with the oft-promised Antibiotics post (riveting, I know, but I know you have questions!) so check back then!