On The Ranch · Personal

This is a Season

shipping

The other day, we went down to watch the guys ship cattle. We watched the trucks drive by the house early in the morning, and Wacey couldn’t wiggle into his boots fast enough to go down to the pens.

We sat on a flatbed trailer and watched cow after cow get into the trucks while Buster napped in the car, and it was one of those mothering moments that was so bittersweet. Sweet because I love everyday things that become amazing through the eyes of a child and it was so fun to be sitting next to my oldest boy while he said “Woooow” over and over again, and bitter because oh, I miss working cattle. I miss being horseback, I miss being on the crew, I even miss getting up early and hating my life because it’s not even light out yet and I’m horseback and freezing. I miss the hustle and the use of my body for something other than mothering or intentional exercise, and I miss feeling like I’ve put in a full day of hard, productive work. I miss feeling part of something bigger than tiny humans and the world that can feel so small when it’s really best for all involved to have naptime at home every day.

But you know, this is a season (and “this is a season” has become my mothering mantra when things are tough). Mothering young children is a long-but-short season. I don’t like thinking of it as a sacrifice because that idea just doesn’t suit me or my experience of mothering because for me, motherhood has been a gift–a hard-won, shocking gift–that I never, ever expected. I did not grow up wishing to be a mother, although I wanted to be one…someday. I never, ever thought I would have two children before I was even thirty, much less adore having those two children.

(But, you know, I never thought I would be married and living on a ranch ever, much less before I was thirty, much less loving it, either, so this is God’s not-so-subtle way of saying “Hey, sis, take your plans and shove it. Mine are waaaaaay better.”)

Motherhood has changed me in so many good, good ways. I’m more patient, more empathetic, slower to anger, and quicker to laugh. I’m much more likely to lean on my devotional than get butt hurt over something I can’t change, and much more likely to see the little special moments and have gratitude for everyday life. Bert even says I’m late less, which is nothing short of a miracle, because chronic lateness runs in my family and kids require so much stuff to just get out the door.

Motherhood has also given me the perspective to sit on a flatbed trailer, watching my husband load cattle into a truck, and recognize that while I’m a tiny bit jealous, and that I miss it a lot, someday my children will be old enough to mind themselves while their daddy and I load cattle. Or maybe, if we’re lucky, they’ll be horseback right along with us, and that would be the biggest treat of all.

On The Ranch · Personal

We’re Here, But We Don’t Exist.

20171130_071422So, we’ve moved. We’re here! But it’s going to be a (probably long) hot minute since I get to blogging again because…we have no internet. I’m writing this on my phone (with very limited data) because I hate it when bloggers are all like “OMG sorry I leaves out for like, months.” We can’t get any sort of internet-y thing until our address is verified since apparently this house doesn’t exist. So. In the meantime, I’m attempting to actually post to Instagram (@cowcountry, and @cassidyamelia for now) and hope we get this resolved soon!

Home · On The Ranch · Personal

Taking a Break

far awat cows
Hey y’all! I just wanted to jump on and say I’ll be taking a break for a few weeks since we’ve got so much going on between the sale of the ranch, moving to the new house, and traveling for Thanksgiving.

And decorating the new house for Christmas immediately upon our return, of course. Oh! And my birthday. Big three weeks! Real excited.

I’ll be back the Monday after Thanksgiving! As always, you can also follow our shenanigans over on the ole Insta.

Friday Favorites

Christmas Books with Animals, Shenanigans, and Things That Go

It’s Friday! It’s November! Yay!

We’re spending the weekend packing, hopefully taking some things to the new house, and trying to get Bert to let us listen to a little Christmas music. If you follow me on Insta, you may have seen on Instastories that I ordered Wacey’s big Santa gift this week (not premature–you have to get your orders in early for handmade stuff!!), so I officially have Christmas on the brain. Permit me this one holiday-y post and I promise I’ll do my very best to hold off until after Thanksgiving.

Sometimes when the holidays roll around, it’s hard to live in the middle of nowhere because you see everyone on social media doing all sorts of fun holiday activities like Christmas at the zoo, going ice skating, looking at lights, going to tree farms, etc., and it’s not usually possible for us to do all of those things since a real, actual big town is two hours away, and the cows need someone to take care of them. Also I don’t know about tree farms and ice skating in southeastern New Mexico.

One thing we can do, though, is read books, and we do a lot of that. We’ve started a little holiday collection for the boys, but this year I’d like to add a couple lengthier ones since Wacey is getting into longer stories. The reason I’m posting a book guide this early is that I find it can be so fun to sprinkle Christmas in here and there before getting out the tree and going full-on Clark Griswold, and books are a great way to do that. Also, even with Amazon Prime our mail is s.l.o.w so I order everything waaaayyyy in advance since it’s guaranteed to be late and there’s a decent chance it may not show up at all.

And, if your kid is like my kid, he’s been talking about Santa and Christmas trees and watching Christmas movies for weeks and you’ve got to do something to placate that little elf until you can set up the tree and go full-on Holly Jolly Christmas. Wacey is really into trucks, tractors, and trains, animals, and silliness, so that will be the realm in which we purchase books this year!

Books Collage.jpg1/2/3/4/5/4/7/8/9

This year, I’m definitely adding a few from this list to gift to the boys with (matching, duh) Christmas jammies in a couple weeks. The tractor one is already on order because my tiny tractor fiend just about lost his mind when he looked over my shoulder while I was typing this and saw there was a tractor Christmas book. The only one we have (that I had to include because it’s one of Wacey’s favorites) is Little Blue Truck’s Christmas.

I’m limiting myself to only buying a couple every year because I keep telling myself that we don’t need three hundred Christmas books.

Am I the only one who still struggles with need vs. want, especially around the holidays? It’s an affliction, I tell you.

Anyways. It’s Friday! The guys are working on getting equipment and cattle back to the pens since the sale of the ranch is scheduled to be closed next week and errthang’s gotta go. The boys and I are trying to find the motivation to do our part and start packing while really just running around the house and trying to convince Bert to take us to go feed cows with him.

We’re real handy to have around.

 

 

let's visit

Let’s Visit: Hormones

Hi! Happy first day of the holiday season! Halloween’s over, so let’s talk Christmas!!!

I’m kidding. I’ll save that for a couple of days. Let’s talk about hormones, instead. Hormones are festive, right? Okay, not so much, but the holidays are coming up, and if you’re like many people I know, y’all are going to eat a lot of meat in the next couple of months between the turkeys, honey hams, rib roasts, and other festive fare.

Some folks like a good rack of lamb, but I am not one of those folks. Does anyone else think lamb tastes funny?

Anyways. A concern I often see cited, especially from parents, is added hormones in meat.

First off, why add hormones? Sometimes, a growth hormone implant is added to beef cattle because it helps produce leaner cuts of meat more efficiently by stimulating the animal’s pituitary gland to produce more of the animals own, naturally-occurring growth hormone called somatotropin. Adding certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone is a technology we have to increase efficiency (by 20%!) in our beef herd. Namely: more output (beef) for less input (feed). This way, we can produce more pounds beef with less natural resources.

Secondly, are they safe? Of course. Agricultural hormones have been approved and found safe by scientists all over the world, and the FDA has strict residue limits that are well below any amount that would have a known effect in humans. Hormones are never injected. They are administered in a slowly-dissolving tiny pellet (akin to melty beads, did you guys ever play with those?) that typically goes under the skin of the ear that breaks down once it’s done its job by delivering its message to the pituitary gland. And even though these amounts of added hormones are teeny-tiny, there are still stringent rules about residues and withdrawal times and the USDA tests for residues.

bulls in feedlot

That’s all great, but let’s talk numbers. Sometimes there is a misconception that when we give an animal a hormone implant, we flood that animal’s body with huge amounts of hormones to make them grow faster, and thus end up consuming vast amounts of extra hormones ourselves that can disrupt normal bodily functions or cause early development in girls*. Nope. That is 100% not how it works.

A common hormone implant called estradiol releases estrogen. But the amount of that estrogen is much smaller than you’d think!

  • Non-implanted beef contains .16 parts per billion, while implanted beef contains .22 parts per billion. So, not a big increase.
  • A 3 oz serving of eggs contains 78 times more estrogen than a 3 oz serving of implant-treated beef.
  • That same amount of tofu would deliver over 16,000,000 times more estrogen than that serving of beef.
  • A non-pregnant woman would have to eat 50,000 pounds of implant-treated beef in one day to equal the amount her body produces daily. A pregnant woman (whose body contains a lot more hormones would have to eat over 300 pounds of implant-treated beef which is a lot more than the “eating for two” calorie allotment, my friends.

Joan Ruskamp, a cattle feeder and mama (among many other things) came up with this amazing visual to show the relative amounts of hormones:

mms hormonesCabbage, peas, and potatoes all contain more hormones than the same size serving of implant-treated beef. Our bodies naturally contain many times more than that!

This is also a good time to chime in that all meat, like many other things we eat, is going to have hormones. So, if you see something advertised as “hormone-free”, yeah, that’s not a thing.

If a producer or feeder chooses to use hormone implants, he or she will work very closely with their veterinarian to find the right implant, dosage, and program that works for their animals.

If you want to read more, click here or here for posts by the Feedyard Foodie, here for a video from Joan, or here for a post by a very smart gal with a Master’s in Ruminant Nutrition.

*there is a point to be made here that while the culprit is not milk or meat, it could very likely be that our diets are now much higher in starches and sugars. Simple carbohydrates stimulate insulin production which sets off a chain reaction that ends up with the body producing more estrogen. Check out this blog post to learn a little more!

Happy Wednesday! The boys had a blast trick-or-treating last night, Bert and I had a blast meeting some new people in the area (um hi, making adult friends is hard, especially when you’re both basically hermits), and when we got home I uploaded my Christmas playlist to my phone so all is right in the world.

As always, I’m so happy to answer questions!!

On The Ranch

A Little Branding

wacey edited
yellow horse 2
watching
trailer
tatum edited
wacey 2 edited
randy edited
leggins
happy wace
dirt
branding
boys
bird on saddle

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

exercise.jpg

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!