Here we go.

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Can I rant a little? Well of course it’s my little blog, in my little world. We live on miles, I mean Miles of dirt roads. It’s awesome. Who doesn’t love a good dirt road. No one comes down our road unless it’s the UPS driver or oilfield traffic. Basically we are in our own little civilization here. What could be better? What could be bad about it right? Wrong.

Dirt roads bring dust. Not really an issue until there are 30 or more semi trucks delivering water to the wells. Let’s just say going slow is not one of their finer skills. I will say dust I can handle. It could be worse.

Oh wait it is. Next comes mud. That’s right when the snow melts as it has this last few days, it seeps into our tired deprived ground and creates a wonderful layer of slippery goo. If mud bogging was a skill, let me say I am up there. I can rooster tail with the best of them. Well mine is not on purpose, but I can do it. Mud also creates ruts. Deep truck rocking ruts. When the road is driven on over and over and then the mud dries the ruts are deep. They pull your tires in and keep you in the tracks. It can rattle your teeth at times let me just say. I could slow down a little more, but I am also racing something. Usually it’s beating the clock to get somewhere on time.

Well yesterday our road had basically dried up. You could walk outside with out the need for muck boots. But that tricky mother nature, she loves me. I can tell she does. Last might it started raining and it rained, and it rained. So that it was a muddy, sticky, gooey mess outside.

Today was vet day. Yes I scheduled all four dogs to go in and see my amazing Dr. Root. (aka best vet ever). I let the dogs in at about 4:30 am when the rain got bad. Of course my Jipsey was already in, snuggled up on our bed. It’s awful I know.

When the kids were ready, I went out in my trusty Muck boots and started the truck and spread out a sheet on the back seat. I could not have my dogs getting the truck muddy. I then realized that one of the kids would have to sit on back with the dogs. So I devised a plan. Yes, it’s possible. I decided to carry each dog individually out to the truck, so that they would not have muddy feet. Oh my gosh. The three females were no problem. Our big red and white border was different. Since breaking his leg in half. Yes completely compound fractured and completely disgusting. He has healed, but in his confinement of about 10 months, he has gained some weight.  Now he is a large dog anyway.

Let me say I am small. Yes, I will admit I am vertically challenged. At 5 foot 2 inches, this dog is about as long as me. So you can just picture me trying to carry this dog in slippery gooey mud to the truck and once there I had to open the door. My goodness that was a task. I am surprised we didn’t fall and both of us roll in that muck.

We made it to the vet. The kids made it to school. They even remember to switch shoes before they got out of the truck. Oh the life!

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It’s Time!

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There is something about the giving away of summer and the entrance of fall. Yes, fall. Not the abrupt jumping of seasons that winter tried to do last week, but the gradual entrance of fall. I look forward to this every year. I for one detest summer. The hot long days of cow work or just the blinding heat that keeps you trapped inside an overly hot house. Ugh! You can’t cook because nothing sounds good, plus who wants to heat up the house even more. I for one am a cooker. I cook for fun, when I am stressed, or depressed, or when I have nothing to do. Okay I always have something to do, so if I am avoiding doing something I should be doing, I cook instead.   It is what I do. A terrible habit I must admit!

Well fall brings with it my inability to stop myself from cooking everything. It’s time again for cookies, pies, and soups. Oh, how I love to cook a good soup. Plus it is almost time for the holidays and the cooking gets even more intense. Oh I just love this time of year.

We have an outfitting business and I do all the cooking. It is so much fun and I cook until I am tired of standing in the kitchen.   My poor hands crack from the constant dishes, but it is so darn fun. Well I have leftover supplies that I being back over to my house. This year one of the things I just never used was a two pound bag of pecans. I mean what was I thinking to buy that big of a bag. I hate nuts in anything. They are just odd. Well this morning as I was putting away all the supplies this bag of pecans just kept pulling me. I couldn’t help myself. I usually wait till closer to the holidays, but I couldn’t I had to make the most fabulous thing possible with pecans and in my world quite possible the only thing I make with pecans, Candied sugared holiday pecans.  These are so good. Oh I could eat them all. I really could. Over time of course. You must try these. They will be a hit with everyone. Even non nut eaters like myself will be begging you to make more. Trust me do this, do it soon.

Sugared Candied Holiday Pecans

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 1 lb pecans whole
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup sugar

1. In a large bowl combine the egg white and water. Whisk until frothy. Add the  pecans to the bowl and mix until coated well. Let sit for 2-3 minutes to moisten well.

2. In a small bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the pecans. Mix thoroughly until all the pecans are coated with the sugar mixture. Pour onto a greased cookie sheet.

Bake at 200 degrees for 1.5 hours. Stir once. Let cool on cookie sheet. Break apart and store in an airtight container.

A Wonderful Pain in the Tail

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I resigned from teaching in February of 2013, to stay home and help on the ranch. I had taken a leave of absence the year before to see if my mind could handle not teaching. There is something about teaching that enables your mind to always grow.  New challenges and learning from the students keeps my mind busy and active  I know it sounds weird but if I’m not doing something my brain aches.  I feel like I have to learn something new all the time and challenge myself.

Well I found that with ranching there was lots for me to learn and time to begin new hobbies. Oh and also the fact that I needed to be the taxi for my growing kids.   At times I wish I was teaching, I think life was less hectic then. But kids will grow, and need taken to various activities and if I was teaching, well they wouldn’t get to go.

We raise red angus cattle and use border collie dogs to help with just about every aspect of life on the ranch. We had three awesome dogs. They worked great. However when we moved cows it seems I was always left with no dog, because they are extremely loyal to my husband. Yes, he can tell them to stay or even just leave one. But the moment they hear a command he gives ton another dog, they too must go over to show themselves, how dare they be left with this boring lady.   So alas I am always alone and darn it sometimes you need a dog to get those cattle moving.

In November of 2012, I flat decided I was getting a dog. Not just any border would do, I wanted a registered red and white. So I found Abingdon Border Collies out of Oregon. I ordered my little Jipsey and she flew into Casper.

At three months old she is working with no fear.   Now that’s great. However she is my puppy. That means special treatment. Yes, she sleeps in our bed. Oh, she is bathed often and really doesn’t care for the delightful scent of oatmeal that her doggie shampoo gives her. But she gets it anyway.

She has had her moments in training. Her first big trailing of yearlings she just didn’t know where to be so she chased yearlings till she ended up right in the middle and then was so mesmerized by all the yearlings around her, she just laid down. Yep, smack dab in the middle. When those of us on horseback got to her, she was wide eyed and just lost. It was the funniest thing. Of course she hadn’t really mastered commands, so getting her back to me wasn’t going to happen.

She also has a passion for chasing anything near the house. She must be watched like a hawk. My husband came in a couple of weeks ago carrying fencing stretchers and told me “your dog is tied up outside, you have two gates to fix. “. Yes, my sweet dog chased our long horns and the kids cow calf pairs from 4-H through two pastures. She can definitely cause a wreck.

Well yesterday we moved 200+ pair on the mountain and she did a darn good job. We had some really snotty mommas who were not real excited to have this dog chasing them. They took her more than I can count, but Jipsey just circled around and put them into the herd. The more she works, the more she is coming into her own. Plus she stays with me and that is the best.

She is the sweetest little thing, and a very aggressive working dog. However like all dogs sometimes she is just a pain in the tail.

What a Weekend….

Well as everyone is probably aware we had a huge storm move through Wyoming this past week. It hit Thursday night and took our power with it. We ended up with about a foot of snow, and drifts as high as 5 feet. We had a crew of 7 hunters staying with us. It was definitely a challenge to cook meals, clean dishes, and provide water with no power.

I have a new appreciation for the generations before me that had no running water, no indoor plumbing, and no cooking stoves. I feel I am pretty resourceful, but that was hard. I did manage to cook soups, biscuits with sausage gravy, and at last I went to town to take hunters I came home with the absolute best pizza that I have ever bought. Yes, after two days I was tired of heating up water to wash dishes. It takes forever. The first day we melted snow. Let me say, it takes a lot of snow to make a full pot of water.

We are hoping to have power by Wednesday. That is pushing 6 days without power. We do have the generator that can power portions of the house. However the large generator that runs the hunting house and our water pump is up on the mountain. So we are making do.

On Sunday we hijacked my friend’s house to do laundry, and for the family to take complete showers. I have never been in a shower that felt so good. Just to have water come out of the pipe was utterly amazing.

I know it happens all the time, but we have been so spoiled with our generators that I have taken for granted all the things that make our life so much easier. Even the simple task of washing hands becomes difficult when holding a bottle under your chin, so that it will run over your hands.

In the midst of all of this there has been one great blessing. My children have had the privilege of no TV. They have done their homework, read their books, and then played. Yes! Actually played without looking at a screen.

So we head home tonight from working on the mountain to one more day without water, without electricity, but with each other enjoying time without distractions. IMG_00000403

Winter Wonderland and Mom’s Creamy Potato Soup!

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Let’s just start of by saying BRRrrrrrr, and Yeahhh! That’s right I love winter and cold weather. It’s a little crazy, but it’s true. The snow hit last night and it is still coming down. We have a house full of hunters here from Tennessee and guess what? The electricity went out early this morning and we are still running without.

Well a really good cold day calls for body warming soup. Not just a regular soup, but a thick creamy soup that not only warms your body but floods your mind with memories of loved ones.

This is my mom’s creamy potato soup. It is just divine. I have it simmering on the fireplace as I write and the aroma is so amazing. When the guys come in they are going to be drooling everywhere.

Mom's Creamy Potato Soup

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6 potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 medium onions, diced
2 carrots sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can chicken broth
1 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half and half

In a large pot combine potatoes, onions, carrots, celery, cream of chicken soup, and chicken broth. Add water if it is too thick. Cook until potatoes are almost tender. Add basil, salt and pepper. Continue to cook until tender. Mix the flour and half and half. Add to the soup, and stir until combined. This is a thick soup. Serve with rolls.

A Reminder for Myself

IMG_00000399Today I celebrated my 37th birthday. It is amazing when I look back over my life, so many different seasons I have experienced. (Seasons is a reference Beth Moore uses in her bible studies to refer to periods of our lives. Maybe a period of depression, heartache, or joy for example. By the way love, love her bible studies. Don’t miss a chance to take one.)

One thing that I experienced on my darkest season is the complete love of others and from our Lord. He does so much for us to help us through our tribulations if we only seek and ask.

I purchased myself this bracket today for my present from my husband. He likes to give me money and I pick out my gift. Rather ingenious on his part, He never gets it wrong!

I looked at all they had to offer and this just stood out.

1 Corinthians 13:8. Love never fails.

What a powerful statement. In all things love keeps us going. It is given to us from friends, family, strangers, and from our Lord on a daily basis. Love is what keeps us moving through life with out being wiped out by the negativity and the tribulations we will go through.

This bracelet reminds me that with love all things will succeed. But we need to give love to help others to keep from failing. Our love is a gift and at any moment we may have friends and family who are going through a season that is extremely difficult, and when we give them that little ounce of our love it may change everything for them.

Love never fails us!

I said never again…

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In October of 2012, my daughter signed up for quilting in 4-H. That’s would be fine, I would get my friend Mandy to help her. Mandy is one of those friends that can do it all. She is one of those crafty bugs who does a little of everything, so I can always count on her to tell me what to add to a recipe to fix it, how to make a pot holder, or basically any other question I need answered when I can’t get a hold of my mom. Yes, she is on speed dial, or voice dial, or whatever it is now a days.

Loganne and I signed her up for a beginner’s quilting class at the local quilt store. Every week we went in to learn a new square and techniques that would hopefully make her and us quilters.

Well every week we stitched and sewed, ripped seams and re- sewed trying to get it correct.  We had an awesome teacher and we learned so much. At fair Loganne’s quilt took grand champion. Wahoo, we are done. I swore to never make or help make another quilt. Well we all know what happens whenever we say never, yep I got addicted it is so amazing to see fabric turn into a beautiful quilt. I ended up making my mom a very oversized Christmas quilt. It should be back from the quilters soon and I am on edge until I see it.