Thursday, November 28, 2013

#30DaysofThanks - Week 4

Day 22 - My job.

I'm not ashamed to admit that I buy a lottery ticket every so often, but until I hit the big one, I'm very thankful for my job. (I know, I know my chances of winning the lottery are like 1 in a 100 million trillion, but I play anyway - it's only a buck. And you can't win if you don't play!)  But I do enjoy my job, the people I get to work with, and the lifestyle it affords us.  

Day 23 - Warm clothing.
It's been chilly here in Eastern Oregon these past few weeks, and when you spend a lot of time outside like we do, it's nice to have warm clothing that keeps the chill out.  My hooded purple work jacket with its nice soft lining (Christmas gift from Clint last year) fits like a glove and is so warm on brisk, chilly days.

Day 24 - Family.
We celebrated Thanksgiving early with my family, and headed to my mom's house last weekend.  She cooked a wonderful turkey dinner (brined using PW's recipe) and great sides.  But before we ate, Shawn, Lindsay & Henry gave my mom an early Christmas present....the guys knocked down a patio/overhead structure she wanted gone, and Lindsay put the leaf blower to work cleaning up the yard.  I sat inside on the couch and watched it all happen.  ;)

Day 25 -Kleenex.
I don't know what hit me - but I came down with the worst cold this week.  But we had a full agenda, so I was thankful for lots of Kleenex, and some strong Tylenol Cold medicine.

Day 26 - Great help.
We bred the second set of Thomas/LGW cows Tuesday, and it went well again.  Just over a hundred cows bred in an hour flat.  I'm working on a post with more pictures, but for now - here's one of a pretty great crew.

Day 27 - Safe travels.
We got into Lewistown, Montana pretty late Wednesday night (technically Thursday morning) but the roads were good, traffic wasn't too congested and that is definitely something to be thankful for when you're traveling thru four states on the day before Thanksgiving.

Day 28 - This life.
We're so blessed.  Seriously.  On Thanksgiving, I'm so thankful for all that I have - the best husband, a great family, awesome friends, a lifestyle I love, a job I enjoy going to, four dogs that can't be loved on enough, and a content heart.  We're living the dream, and I know enough to be thankful for that.


I kind of like this method of posting, so even though November is coming to a close, don't be surprised if you keep seeing posts similar to this one. 
Want to join me?

What are you thankful for this week?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm sorry I haven't posted much lately.
We have been keeping busy synchronizing and breeding cows, celebrating Thanksgiving with my family last weekend, and somewhere in the middle of all of that I picked up a nasty cold that I have not been able to kick.

But before we hit the road for Montana this afternoon (we're spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Lewistown celebrating Paul's wedding) I wanted to wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

 I hope your day is filled with blessings.  Know that I'm thankful for you.
And not just today, but every day.

May you all be surrounded by friends & family, eat yourself silly and be able to spend time relaxing together in elastic waistband pants as you go back for another slice of pie.

That'd happen in a perfect world, right?!?

Happy Thanksgiving!

PS - If you'd like to hear me in all of my nasaly and cold-ness glory, click here for a quick bit on what I give thanks for.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Do you have good bones?

Double M, the ranch Clint works for, has been operated by the same family for multiple generations.  There's a reason that they've last as long as they have - not only are they excellent cattlemen and cattlewomen, but they are efficient with their resources. 

Not much gets thrown away, or discarded without thought.  When we bring in a newborn calf from a pasture that needs a little extra care, we use the same calf sled that was built and used in the 1950's.  It has a newer chain, but the frame is the same.  The TECO calf chute the ranch uses to brand calves is the same one that's been used for the last 40-50 years.  It gets welded on and repaired each year a bit, but the original chute is the same.

So when the decision was made to re-tin the outside of a barn that was a bit older and needing some repair work, it came as no surprise.  There wasn't a question of whether the barn would come down.  It still had good bones and was structurally just needed a bit of a facelift.

We can change a lot about ourselves on the outside;
Get a new haircut, buy new clothes, drive a new car...
But at the end of the day, it's about what's on the inside. 

Our character, our values, our morals;
 {Our bones}
They don't usually change as easily or rapidly. 
So it's important to  make sure they're good. 

Long lasting. 
Of value.

Of course we all have our imperfections - a sagging beam, a split board, an imperfect angle.  A sharp word, comment better left unsaid, deed wished undone.  But those who can age gracefully, and with purpose usually stand the test of time.

They have good bones.

It's about what is on the inside.

If you don't have good bones, the rest usually doesn't hold up. 
But when you do - your legacy lives on.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

#30DaysofThanks - Week 3

Day 15 - Double M Ranch
When we came back to Oregon in 2011, we had the good fortune to land in the spot that we did.  I am so thankful for the people at Double M, and how much of a team effort the cow side of the operation is.  The crew freeze branded the replacement heifers last week, and I got to stop by a snap a few pictures.

Day 16 - Thankful for a job inside.
The Echo & Stanfield FFA auction was last Saturday, and while I always like to help the local FFA chapters, I was especially thankful that on this day my job was inside.  The wind blew like a 'son of a gun.  Also, I was thankful for all of the people who came to the auction and either volunteered, bid, purchased or just enjoyed the evening.  The event raised just shy of $12,000 - an increase from last year.

Day 17 - Installation.
I brought home our new dishwasher at the beginning of the month, but I finally got around to installing it Sunday night.  After a new flexible steel waterline hose, we were in business and the whirl of a dishwasher humming away never sounded sweeter.

Day 18 - Progress.
Every night I drive in the driveway and there is so much progress that's been made on the sale barn prep.  If you came to visit us, I think you'd be amazed too.  (PS - Visitors are always welcome!) 

Day 19 - The AI Crew.
We bred a group of cows here in Hermiston on Tuesday and we were so thankful for the crew of people who came and helped.  155 cows time AI bred, utilizing two double AI barns in an hour & 40 minutes - we were pleased.  And all of it happened with a portable set up in the middle of an irrigated grass circle that was surrounded by a single strand of hot wire.  A big thank you to our grew crew - Annie, RJ, Kevin, Andy, Morgan & Miles - you are the best and make things happen!  And to the Thomas Angus Ranch crew who helped get cows to the chute & numbers recorded - Marti, Matt, Chris & others - thank you!

Day 20 - A blessed birthday.
Cards, flowers, notes, messages on Facebook, phone calls, texts, a manicure (I haven't had one of those since high school I think!) and dinner with my husband really made my birthday a special one.  Thank you! I can't wait to see what blessings this year brings.

Day 21 - The small things.
A pickup that started the first try.  A coat & scarf to keep me warm on a single digit degree morning.  A lunch I didn't have to worry about affording.  Clean clothes in my closet.  Our old faithful dog Austin who curls up at my feet every morning while I'm drying my hair because she likes the warm air.  A husband who always gives me a kiss goodbye before he heads out the door in the morning. 


The small things in life matter.

I hope you all have had a wonderful week filled with big & small blessings.

Also, if you'd be so kind;
Would you pray for a friend of mine who is recovering from a planned surgery?
Prayers for regained strength and minimalized pain during recovery would be appreciated.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Shipping cows.

Once again, I'm blown away by the beauty of Wallowa County.

We shipped cows out of Joseph on Sunday.  
It had snowed the day before, so the timing was just about perfect.

The ladies were fat & sassy, and came off of the mountain well. 
The horses kept us all safe and brought the cows to the truck.  
The buyer seemed happy and we were all home by 6 that night.

And while they won't win any awards, I may have just gotten some of my favorite pictures of the fall.

Success is reason enough.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Morning views.

They probably thought I was crazy.
Who runs out in a windstorm with their hair still wet, camera in hand, snapping away?
Capturing sunlight, black hides, progress and hard work?

{And a variety of white balance moods.}

Heads turned, ears perked and slowly they started to come my way.

They're only here for a few months, and then they'll scatter to various ranches east and west, living out their purpose.

They're not our cattle but while they're here, they're the first thing I see in the mornings as I gaze out my kitchen to the east and see them lined up at the bunk.

We all go through seasons, and have different views.
But on a Saturday morning in Eastern Oregon, this was my morning view.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday at the ranch.

Things are bustling here as the guys get ready to freeze brand heifers, Nate continues to work on the sale barn prep, the crew has cows & calves to feed & bulls keep coming to the bunk.

I'm headed into town to help set up for the Stanfield/Echo FFA Auction and get things ready there.  

If you're local, plan to join us tomorrow night, Saturday Nov. 16 at 5:00 pm at the Stanfield High School. The smoked tri-tip dinner starts at 5:00 pm and is $5 a person.  Silent & live auction to follow!  It's a lot of fun, and a great way to support the local FFA programs.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

#30DaysofThanks - Week 2

I don't know where November has gone, but this month has been FLYING! 

Day 8 - Tennis shoes.
I don't normally wear tennis shoes when I'm {out in public}.  It's probably because my tennis shoes are normally covered in cow crap, because that's what I wear on the ranch.  (I don't ride, so I don't need boots for that and I like my feet to be light.  I'm weird like that.)  Anyway - earlier this summer while Clint was judging a fair in Boise, I had some time to kill in Costco and I stumbled across a pair of tennis shoes that I've somehow been able to keep clean.  I was so thankful for them on this Friday, as we moved tables, set  up spaces and chopped veggies in preparation for the next day's auction.

Day 9 - Volunteers. Sponsors. Bidders. Supporters.
Speaking of auctions, this one wouldn't have happened without any of the people noted above and I am so thankful for them.  This was my first year as the Auction Director for the Hermiston FFA Alumni, and I quickly realized that the task was bigger than initially realized.  But with the grace {lots and lots and a few more heaps of grace} from everyone I got to work with, we pulled it off.  Emphasis on the WE.  A great team of people showed up, worked their butts off, raised their bidder number and helped coordinate a really fun evening, that raised over $20,000 for our alumni group.  Those funds will be used to support the FFA program at HHS, and I couldn't be more thankful to be a part of a group of people who take as much pride in what they do to support ag.

Day 10 - Naps.
I needed one.  Badly.  And after loading a trailer load of panels he bought last week, Clint dropped me off at the house and gave me the chance to have one.  I woke up three hours later at 6 pm to Jesse sitting in our kitchen visiting with Clint. 

Day 11 - Our Veterans.  And freedom.
We are so blessed to live in the land of the free, and home of the brave.  In our home, we don't take lightly this freedom, and are so thankful for our active military and veterans and the bravery they show.  Thank you.

Day 12 - Diet Pepsi.
Just saying. ;)

Day 13 - Meetings & a finished editing session.
I keep all of my reminders on the calendar on my phone, and I love when I can swipe a task off that's been finished.  Plus, we finalized details on the sale barn order - look for a Cool Desert Beige building to be delivered to the ranch in early 2014.  And I finished up editing the Proudfoot family's session from last weekend - such a kind family that I enjoyed getting to meet in person this weekend!

Day 14 - Compliments.
A kind word can really make someone's day.  I'm so thankful for the people in my life who are supportive, and on this day really made my heart feel full with kind words.

My cup runneth over.

I hope yours is too!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Double M Sale Barn - The Before.

As I told a friend earlier this week.....

"Stuff is about to get real here at Double M. "

In July or August, we started tossing the idea of building a sale barn around.  A partnership that feeds bulls at Top Cut asked if we would host their bull sale, and when the ranch agreed at first, we thought we'd just use the shop and 'make it work'.  But Patsy & Mike jumped on board and decided that a sale barn & working facilities would be a good addition to the ranch infrastructure.  And if we were going to do it - we figured we might as well do it right and build something everyone could be proud of, and that would be multi-faceted.  So on top of everything else going on, this fall was filled with getting bids, working budgets, getting new bids, meeting over ideas, measuring distances, figuring out road blocks and finally making decisions.  

After a lot of consideration (and a lot of bids), we decided to go with a steel building.  Yes it's more expensive in the short term, but we feel the quality of the building will be worth it in the long term.  Plus, we're building a 60' wide building, and that gets tough to do with a pole building. (It can be done though.)  A fall special on steel buildings sent us over the edge, and we're in the final planning stages of finalizing the building and hopefully the structure will ship later this month.  

I had planned to document the process of erecting the building, so this morning when I realized that Nate was going to town on the demolition of the fences next to our house, I ran outside in a pair of shorts & t-shirt so I could get some pictures taken.  He was working fast - tonight the two pens next to our house and all of our front fence is GONE.  Torn apart, nails pulled & stacked on trucks.  The guys worked fast today, but I was able to get a few before shots.  

The power company is headed out tomorrow to let us know how we'll bury the overhead power lines, and the guys should be able to finish tearing down the rest of the fence.  Then Jack will come in and begin to level the area, and slope the roadway edge so that we can create parking.  I just realized this morning as I was watching the crew out the kitchen window that I'll lose my view, but the progress will be worth it.  AND....Mike said we're going to tear out part of our front lawn to create more parking & a drive-thru load out area - which is great news!  There'll be a lot less lawn to mow & maintain, and that's always OK in my book.  :)

More pictures to come, as work progresses!

Thursday, November 7, 2013


Bandwagon; I'm here.

Let me tell you, with the week I've been having - this will be one of the best bandwagon's I'll jump on all year.  
Counting blessings and giving thanks makes a difference.  
I dare you to try.

I mean, all of the cool kids are doing it.  ;)


Day 1 - Sale barn planning.
Stuff is about to get real.  We're down to finalizing a contractor, moving dirt, tearing out fences, burying power lines and figuring out how to make parking.  More to come...but I'm thankful that we work for a family who has vision and we are thankful to be a part of the Double M Ranch crew.

Day 2 - Rain.
Cleansing, drenching, dust settling, rain.  Yes - it made me go find my raincoat, and I didn't exactly love doing chores in it - but it is November, and we do need the moisture.

Day 3 - Time to prep for the auction.
If you live locally, join us Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Hermiston FFA Alumni auction for a great evening - Tri-Tip dinner, silent & live auctions with over $20,000 of items and more.  And it all goes to help FFA kids in our community.

Day 4 - This blog post.  
I needed a reminder in a week that has been shaping up to be about as chaotic as they come.

Day 5 - L1
Lindsay is a friend who would swim through sharks, tackle piles of laundry and then picture families with you.  (Well, maybe not the swimming thru sharks....but if you ask me, piles of laundry are WAY scarier!)  Love my sweet friend and looking forward to spending time with her on Monday as we capture our own families, and others.

Day 6 - A new dishwasher.
I don't have it 100% installed yet, but it's not on fire, and someday (hopefully soon) I will have figured out how to connect the water supply to it without a puddle of water forming on my kitchen floor.

Day 7 - El Clinton.

He is the best thing that ever could have happened to me, and I am so proud to be his wife.  Our relationship brings me more joy each day and as cheesy as it sounds - I am so thankful for him.


So there's week one.  Will you join me in giving thanks?

It's not too late to jump on the Bandwagon!


Monday, November 4, 2013

He holds the reins.

"If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins."
- Benjamin Franklin


I could watch him ride all day.
The confidence he conveys on a horse still impresses me.
He was taught well & hopefully someday we'll have kids he can pass that down to.

When I stumbled across the quote by Benjamin Franklin, I knew it fit this picture;
A few years ago Clint made the decision to leave teaching & academics and moved to managing cattle full time.  It wasn't a decision he made lightly.  But the cattle industry is his passion, and while I'm biased - he's good at what he does. 

I am so proud of my husband.
So proud.

Love you Clint.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Fireworks in the kitchen.

So Friday was my day off of work, and I spent the morning doing chores and catching up on editing some pictures.  After I'd unloaded the dishwasher, I figured since I was home for a bit, I might as well clean it.

I've used a cleaning method I found on Pinterest before, and it worked good - so I went to my {Home} board and pulled the link up.  Basically, in an empty dishwasher on the hottest cycle, you add a cup of vinegar, let it run and then add a cup of baking soda and let a second cycle run.

So I grabbed my glass measuring cup & economy size jug of vinegar and got her ready.  I clicked the "Hi Temp" setting on the dishwasher, shut the door and clicked the cycle over to "run".

And that's when the fireworks started.  Literally.

My dishwasher caught on fire.

Luckily, I hadn't left the kitchen and heard the grinding noises, saw the smoke and was able to turn the dishwasher off and kill the breaker.  I also grabbed the fire extinguisher, because you really can't be too safe.  I unscrewed the top and pulled the dishwasher out away from the cabinets and saw that the fire had stopped (I think it was just the motor & electrical wires that had flamed, so once the power was killed the fire went out.)

Needless to say, I'm headed to town this morning to get a new one.

I'm not repairing it - frankly, the cost of the repair + the age of our dishwasher + worrying it will catch fire again DOES NOT = sanity.  I'm willing to pay the extra $100 bucks to know I won't have fireworks again in the future.  It is November after all, not July.  ;)

Wish me luck!