November Monthly Moos {There's More Grass On The Other Side}

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Summer, and green grass, has officially come to an end and now we are thinking about making the best use of our grass before we begin supplimenting our cows with hay. 
Our lower pasture is fenced off from the rest of our farm because it is our hay pasture and we don't want the cattle on it while we are growing the hay for cutting.  But when the end of the season comes and the last cutting of hay is put up, it's time to open it up to the cows! 
This year we didn't want to open up the entire lower pasture but we also don't want any permanent cross fences put in either as we need to make it easy for the tractors to cut the hay. 
So we decided to extend our little weaning pasture into the hay pasture with some temporary electric fencing.   Three years ago when we were living in our travel trailer on the hilltop we used one strand of electric fencing around our travel trailer and home-site and so our cows got very used to the fence and have great respect for it! 
Eldon purchased these amazing heavy duty plastic stakes that he easily pounded into the ground. 
Then he attached one strand of electric fencing to the existing T-post in the weaning pasture.
He connected this awesome solar charger, and he was finished!  Talk about a quick way to build fence!
It's a great little pasture because it has a very nice grouping of trees along the property line that provide shelter for the cows.  They love it in there.
They also really enjoy the change.  There's something about "new" pastures that just makes cows so happy!
And Belle too... for some reason she gets so excited when the cows are in a different pasture!  She would hang out down there with them all day if we let her!  (This pasture is also pretty close to our Grand-girls house... and Belle always manages to make her way there if she's down with the cows!)

The electric fence ties in to our existing corral and has a great little insulator handle so that we can open it and drive through if necessary. 
We leave the corral gates open so the cows can go through to their old pasture.

And to the pond! 
That's our Angus bull, McKinley, standing there on the pond bank.  Isn't he a beauty?  We love him. 
Well, I'm still in New Mexico with my parents and I'm eager to fly home to our wonderful little hilltop farm tomorrow.  I have a feeling we have a long winter ahead of us and I'm anxious to get back home and do some winter crafting in our warm house! 
Oh and CALVING!!! 
We're really looking forward to some new little calves on our farm! 
Happy (almost) December! 

My Momma, Hip Surgery, and Comfort Food!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I’m here in New Mexico with my folks at the home I grew up in, helping my Momma recover from a total hip replacement.  My mother is a hard working Ranch Wife and I’m pretty certain her motto in life would be, “Get up and get going”!  So this thing of being sort of chair-bound is a little hard on her. 

I love being here and have been enjoying an early morning walk most mornings, if I can squeeze it in.  But I’m going to be honest and say that I haven’t worked this hard since we finished building our house! 
Don’t get me wrong.  I’m NOT complaining.  I’m so happy to be here and consider it a huge privilege to help take care of my mother.  I’m thankful every minute that I still have a mother and that she is in good health and such a treasure to me. 
But I’m exhausted.  And when I get really tired I laugh constantly.  At the worst things at the wrong time!  Like when I went to move Mom’s walker and knocked her in the knee with it and she just about jumped out of her chair.  I laughed so hard I had to sit down on the floor.  My Dad laughed just as hard, mind you.   Dad said,  "She’s going to need a knee replacement next"!  Smile! 
So, imagine my horror yesterday when Mom said (from the recliner where she was forced to lay because it was time for her ice pack), “Today we are going to can those apples”.  I burst out laughing.  She just looked at me seriously.  My next thought was that I was going to call my sister at work and say, “WHY did you pick all those apples off Mom and Dad’s tree?  They were fine just hanging there”!  But instead I wearily said, “Okay, let’s get you set up in the warm sunroom”. 

My Mom was so happy.  She peeled, cored, and sliced apples to her hearts content.  I love watching my mom’s hands when she does something like that.  They fly through the air like you would not believe.  She is FAST. 
So we canned apples.   And you know what?  It was so lovely.  I realized so many things from those few hours.  Probably the biggest thing being that I am my mother’s daughter.  I love the same things she loves.  I’m happiest when my hands are busy; be it cooking, crafting, working, or writing.   I pretty much hate laying around.
When I got up this morning and looked at our beautiful jars of canned apples on the counter top, I smiled.   I’m going to be here two more weeks and, even though I miss my family in Tennessee more than you can imagine, I’m so happy to have this time with my dear Momma and Daddy.
And one other thing I’ve learned that I never realized before is that I’m my Daddy’s daughter too.  He and I can laugh until the tears are rolling down our cheeks! 

So to close out this very (exhausted) jumbled blog post, I thought I would share with you my Mom's favorite comfort food! 

A fresh pot of Pinto Beans. 


All you need is some dry Pinto Beans and Salt Pork. Throw the beans in a large stock pot, cover with water.  Add a few slices of salt pork and bring it all to a boil.  Lower the temperature, put a lid on your pot and let it sit there and simmer for several hours.  Check frequently to make sure there is enough water and add more as necessary.  Add salt as desired but only after beans are completely cooked and soft.

We love to serve our beans with what I thought was my Mom's bean relish recipe.  She said, "It sure is funny that both you and your brother make that bean relish with cucumbers".  She says she never did, so I'm not sure where we both came up with the idea to add cucumbers.   Anyway, here is my Mom's bean relish recipe (my version).

Chop equal portions of onions, cucumbers, tomatoes and green chile (preferably Hatch, New Mexico green chile right out of your Momma's freezer!). 


Throw them together into a bowl and pour in a bit of olive oil, white wine vinegar, salt and pepper to taste. 

Have your dear daughter (smile) dish up a bowl of steaming hot Pinto Beans with bean relish on the side and serve it to you in your recliner! 
On a very serious side note.  My mother would far rather be the one serving ME.  I can only think of a few times in her life that I've had the privelege of being the one doing the serving.  And believe me when I tell you that if you are ever sick or in need of some TLC, nobody does it better than my Momma!
Dad and I just have to tease her a bit! 
P.S.  I am so excited that I'll be going to the airport tomorrow to pick up Eldon!  My Dad is just as happy as he'll have someone to escape with him to The Ranch!   

The Gift In Your Mailbox!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

I recently read a quote that went something like this:

"Letters are the next best thing to showing up personally at someone's door".

The other day when I opened my mailbox I had this sweet invitation from a very special young lady that has surprised me numerous times with something in my mailbox.  

She is young enough to be my daughter, but wise enough to understand how special a little something in the mail is to us old folks!  (Thank you, Raimie!)

Upon opening her invitation I suddenly  remembered a New Years Resolution I made back in January that this year I was going to write one letter a week to someone special to me.  I think I did great for about two months and then unfortunately I let the busyness of life get in my way and that was the end of my letter writing.

So guess what I did today?  

Nope, I didn't hardly touch the million to-do things on my list for this week.

I sat down at my desk and made a list of every single person I want to send a note to.  

 I started pulling out scrapbook paper, circle punches, tape runners, ink, ribbon and all kinds of other scrap pieces of crafting stuff.  

And I got busy.

As I worked I thought about the bundle of letters and cards I have packed away for safekeeping that my husband and I sent back and forth to each other 33 years ago.  

I thought about the phone call from my Mom a couple days ago telling me about the hand written letter she received from my grown son.  (She's not the first person to tell me they got a letter from him.)

I thought about the huge box of cards and letters that were sent to me 10 years ago when I had Breast Cancer.  I treasure those cards like you would not believe. 

I thought about my elderly Aunt that I'm named after... the Aunt that in 52 years of my life has NEVER forgotten to send me a  birthday card.  Until this year.   She is very elderly now and not able for much.  I missed her birthday card more than you can even imagine.   

I remembered the large manilla envelope I got in the mail for my birthday a couple years ago from my sister.  I opened it and out fell about 10 birthday cards.  Cards that she had purchased every year for my birthday, wrote a sweet note, signed... and forgotten to send (they had been sitting in the drawer of her desk)!!!  I love that memory!

It really hit me today how important letters, cards and little packages mean to the person that opens their mailbox.   I want to do better about hanging on to that old tradition.  

So, tell me.  Do you still write letters and send to friends and family?  

Does your heart go pitter patter when you open your mailbox and find a hand written letter?  

Do you feel like I do that letter writing is almost a lost art?  

  In two days I leave for New Mexico to spend almost a month with my folks.  

Guess what I plan to do with part of my time?  (Smile!)