Grazy Days

Last time I wrote, my husband had just broken bones and had surgery. What most of you want to know is:

Is he a good patient?

In the past, I would’ve grimaced and struggled to spit out a congenial answer. Today, I’m happy to report that he is a good patient.

Yes, there were days when pride frustrated him because he couldn’t saddle his own horse. (Of course he still rode–is that even a question? He’s a good rider on a horse that shares his personality, so it worked out.) He wanted to lift something heavy or pick up a shovel, but couldn’t because he’d reinjure his arm. However, he didn’t complain about pain. He wanted it healed in two days, but he followed the doctor’s orders so he would heal in due time.

He had his follow-up x-ray last week and the break is healed! He still has to work on mobility because of damage to ligaments and tendons, but he’s been using his hand and he’s happy.

We are also pleased to report that fall works went well last week–the calves are vaccinated and gaining nicely. The weather has been beautiful–no snow! It’s so nice to give shots and keep records without also trying to manage gloves. If you’ve done this before, you know that gloves can slow down the process. It was the calves first time through the chute and a few were tentative, but for the most part, they did well. There’s always that one that tries to turn around…

The cows are grazing in front of the house now and it is always a gift to drive home and see them in the field. There’s something about happy cows on good pasture that warms the heart.


It Was An Accident!

It was a week: Long days AI-ing, gathering pastures, running cows through the chute…

At the end of the week, we were about to gather bulls when…oops, there was an accident and my hubby broke his wrist.

He still gathered bulls, but later the x-ray confirmed what we already knew…

And then there was surgery. (Look for more on this coming later in my column in Progressive Cattle.)

Sometimes life is full of surprises and it doesn’t follow what we expect.

Today, as I was attempted to help move cows, I had an asthma attack. I haven’t had an asthma attack in a LONG time, but this was a doozy. I had to get help to get back to the house. The pollen counts are high this year and I guess it is taking its toll on me.

So I figure between the two of us, we can make a team. I have the hands and he doesn’t have allergies…we can do this, right?


We think life will look one way and it looks like something totally different. It is hard sometimes not to be disappointed, but there is always hope. Fred Rogers–as in THE Mr. Rogers–used to say, “Look for the helpers.”

Life is full of challenges, but it is also full of helpers. I had extra help today to help me get to the house. Blessing. My hubby’s surgery on his wrist went well and he hasn’t had much pain. Blessing.

Anyone else experiencing challenges? Are you finding hope? I hope so!


A new baby with Momma, off by themselves. Cattle often move away from the herd to calve.

We are in the middle of calving season. It’s a little earlier than we have done in the past, but when we moved, the calving date was already set. Fortunately, it was not January!

If you follow me, you know that we prefer spring-time calving because it follows nature’s natural rhythm, plus we live in Montana: January and February are brutal months to be calving. The weather is traumatic for their health, you have to watch them constantly so they don’t freeze–even so, they often lose ears, tails, etc to frostbite. It is not good for the cattle, the owners, or the pocketbook.

I understand that some also farm and have to calve earlier to get ready for farming or to make grazing permits work. Some claim calving earlier guarantees bigger calves–not so. That’s a possibility, but the hazards to their health and ours–(night checks at 20 below zero–yuck!) actually delay gain. We’ve had similar weight calves when calving in April to those who calve months earlier simply because it is easier on the animal.

Anyway, I digress…I have received questions about calving from people outside of the agriculture circle. Their biggest concern boils down to one thing: Are we kind to cattle?

A fair question!

Of course!

We believe cattle ought to live healthy lives that follow their natural cycles. We will not beat them or mistreat them. It is unfortunate that people ask this question because it means that somewhere it has been projected that this is the norm. *Sigh*

We’ve warmed calves in the barn because it was too cold outside after they were born. (We had calves in February from a handful of cattle. Again, not our choice, but it renewed our opinions about spring calving.) We have brought them in the truck to the barn, wrapped in old coats or blankets.

Goofy faces! No one got peed on and this calf is back with Momma in the field.

Yes, cattle are a business. Yes, we have to manage them in a way that is financially responsible. AND-we will try to nurture them in the best way possible.

Calving is a reminder of renewal. The life cycle continues and we get to watch it unfold in the fields.

Happy Spring Everyone!


I was driving, so the dog sat on Billy’s lap…

Baxter Black has a piece about his “good” dog fetching the neighbors rabbit. The dog brings the rabbit over–dead. So the rancher puts the rabbit back in the neighbor’s hutch (after some primping) for the owner to find. It turns out the rabbit had died awhile back and the owner was more than surprised to see it back in the hutch. Here he was worried that his dog had done it in! It is one of our favorite Baxter Black bits! (Blessings on retirement, sir!)

In the piece, he says, “You ever been embarrassed by your good dog? Yeah, me neither.”

We have a dog like that.

Her mother was one of the best cow dogs on the planet. (I know a lot of ranchers say that, but well, this dog was good!) We had nine pups in the litter. We decided to keep one. Oh, what a cute puppy!

She ran alongside her mother. For one day.

One day.

Did I say, ONE day?

All, y’all–this dog is scared of cows.


We have a few of those around.

She is so scared, she rides in the cab when we are near cows or she takes off. She has been gone overnight–hiding–from cows!

Good thing she’s sweet.

And she chases off coyotes… Explain that to me.

Here’s to “good dogs!”

**Update on our “elk cow” (see previous post)

The elk that thought she was a cow has found her group. While she stayed with us for a couple months, when the elk herd walked through, she must have joined them because we haven’t seen her in several weeks.


This fall, we had an elk calf join our herd. We think her momma got hit on the highway and the ranch’s cows were the closest family.

The first time the crew moved the herd with our new “calf”, the calf took off in wild zig zag patterns ahead of the cows and the cows tried to follow her…it was a little crazy.

One of these things is not like the other…

When we sold the calves, the elk calf stayed with the cows.

When we processed the cows, we thought the elk calf was going to go into the corrals, but she changed her mind.

The next time we moved the cows, there she was… and she walked right through the gate!

The elk stayed with the herd for a couple months. I took this picture driving home not long ago… the elk has grown so much!

I’m not sure where she is now. We moved the cows out of this pasture and the elk herd came back by, so I imagine she hopped in with her kind. I kind of miss her, but I think she’s probably doing fine.

So, dear friends, you never know what you might see out in your field. But I hope 2022 brings a lot of goodness. Happy New Year!

* I know there is a concern over brucellosis with elk and cattle, so please be aware that we bled the cows to check for this. No brucellosis!


An outbuilding near the new place. The views aren’t bad… 🙂

We have a home.

It’s been a long road, but we are settling.

We found a ranch to work with in southwest Montana. We are only an hour away from where we lived before. It is a beautiful setting, but the house needed a lot of work. We ripped out carpets and painted before we moved. There will be clean up projects around the yard and shop for awhile, but we’ve made a nice dent in clean up. We’ve taken several loads to the dump.

It’s been an intense 6 weeks–a rollercoaster of emotions and a lot of work. We have been sad about leaving, excited about a new place, and tired.

Those of you who have moved a ranch before know it is different than selling a house and moving. While moving is exhausting in and of itself, when you have equipment to move or sell, a barn to relocate and critters to transport, it can be a lot of moving parts. While we were once beyond excited about moving south, I suppose not moving so far away was easier. There were a few trips where I simply put pictures or lamps in the back of the rig and brought them over without boxing them up.

I spent a couple weeks really missing our old home. I didn’t want to write about it because I had poured so much into it. Yet, I am content where I am right now. It was gross at first, so I think that’s why I was sad, but as we clean it up and put some love into it, it is feeling homier. Plus, we’ve already met some really nice people.

Friends, home is where you have people to love and that love you. Home is a place we create.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. It’s been a ride!


Photo by Skylar Kang on

We had a plan.

You ever have a plan?

Yeah, a plan. That we thought was divine–literally and figuratively. We thought we were doing what God wanted for us and I thought I’d have this amazing news to share.

I was waiting to share it because we were waiting to cross what we thought was the final T.

And then…Road Block.

It didn’t happen.

We sold our house, our cows, our equipment because we were so excited about a possibility in a different state and we needed to be ready to roll. Long story short, we prepared for a situation we thought was concrete and it wasn’t.

It messed with us a little bit. We were SO disappointed.

After a bit of time of grieving, we are looking at new options. It feels different because we spent so many months picturing something else. However, God is always good. The way He does things may surprise us, but He never leaves us. He has something good–for all of us! You, too!

Since we are back in the preliminary stages of options, I can’t reveal much info about possibilities yet. But they are out there! And they are new things to be excited about.

When we sold our ranch, we didn’t do it out of necessity. We were making money. Managing well. It was about an opportunity to be involved in something bigger than ourselves and to help others. We still want to do this and are starting on a very exciting opportunity that I can’t wait to tell you about.

Sometimes road blocks lead to detours that are just as amazing or better than the original route. I will update you soon. In the meantime, what road blocks have you encountered that led to something good?

Moving On…

When my husband was working ranches early in our marriage, I knew moving was part of the deal. Cowboys often move, but I thought once we started our own production, that would stop.

I’m a girl who loves roots. Deep roots. As in, I have wished we had land that was handed down, complete with the house my grandmother was born in. However, this has not been our experience. I am not upset that hasn’t been our path, but I have daydreamed about what that would be like to have that kind of heritage.

However, I have heard the stories about my grandmother’s family traveling from Missouri to Montana, hoping to find land. Their path was hard. They made a difficult journey and things never really got “easy”. My grandmother’s family had sheep and some cows, but they mostly farmed. I don’t think they had much land. Anything they had was gone before my dad came along and from then on, everyone worked in town.

When I think of people traveling in the 1800’s and early 1900’s to find a better way, it impresses me. Many people moved 100 miles away from family and never saw their family again. Others moved across the US for “free” land or the hopes of having something of their own. Their tenacity is commendable.

Our current culture isn’t doing that kind of moving anymore–exploring unexplored land or mining in the hopes of striking it rich are gone. However, I think we still long for more, for something better. Those of us who have started out on our own in agriculture certainly look for new opportunities.

A new opportunity brought us to our place here in Montana.

A new opportunity will take us to another place.

I will tell more later, but for now, what I can say is: We are moving again. We sold our little ranch.

I’m sad. I’m sad we aren’t staying here forever. YET–we can’t stay in the same place if God’s plans are for moving on.

I’ve poured my heart into this place. It was in need of so much TLC. We gutted the house, refenced the place, built new gates, etc…only the exterior of the buildings stayed the same–well, except for some paint.

Making a home is part of my DNA. I want a place where people feel welcome. I want to pour into my community. Hopefully we’ve done that and will do it again.

I’m also excited. We are on an adventure. A big adventure with many unknowns–not to mention Covid unknowns! We look forward to being a part of something new again and hopefully the love we poured into the place we are leaving will be felt by the new owners.

Fortunately, we get to stay until our middle daughter graduates in May. We have a few months. I’ll be in touch.

Anyone want to guess where we will land?

God has a plan!

World View

San Pedro

Our oldest daughter just got back from Guatemala. She spent three weeks in a Spanish immersion school with a friend and toured part of the country. She saw things I may never see. This thrills me. World views tend to be the small “world” we build around ourselves: our immediate family and surroundings, our day-to-day circumstances, the food we consume most commonly. None of this is bad per se; it is just that it can be very small.

Having a chance to experience cultures and languages different from our own broadens our perspective. It helps us appreciate our own heritage, while valuing the experiences of another. My daughter found she really enjoyed the beauty and color in Guatemala, along with some of their traditional foods. Homemade tortillas, ground fresh every meal, are something she will remember. Her deepest treasure though is friendship. The amazing people she met–her host family and friends from the school– are people she’ll likely connect with for the rest of her life. She made cultural connections that shape how she values people and hopefully how they value her.

I’d like to say I remained peaceful the entire time she was away, but I didn’t learn until the last week to trust. I prayed and talked to her, but I finally the last week realized my perspective is often limited. It is much too easy to concoct a world view based on fear or the unknown. Yet anything based on fear isn’t rooted in the truth of who we are and Whose we are. The reality is God loves all people across the globe and until we see what their lives are like, we may live in a world we create in our minds. Seeing the pictures helped me broaden my horizons, but I’m so thankful my children are getting to experience something outside their daily routine.

The world is harsh in many ways, but it is also beautiful. Realizing that circumstances don’t revolve around us brings a lot of intentional focus to the situations we encounter on a daily basis–even things like irrigating. How wonderful to have good water!  May your day and your perspective be rich!

Transportation: a Tuk-Tuk 
World View from Guatemala

Country Girl in the City

Our daughter recently had an opportunity to attend a track camp in LA. I drove her and we stayed for a few days while she attended camp.

Everyone kept asking me why I would want to go to LA. I actually like the city as a place to visit. It gives me fresh perspective. Most of us are afraid of what we don’t know. We build a case around unknowns in our minds, while never having seen it. We form judgments without experience.

This happens between city and country folk I think. We tend to imagine what the other’s life is like and then form our thoughts and perceptions from that imagined baseline.

I actually found quite a bit of beauty in the city. It was far from my normal, but I found that I could appreciate people and places that weren’t like me. I also could see how easy it would be for city people to form judgments about ranching.

In fact, two girls mentioned to my daughter how cows were ruining our environment. My daughter offered her perspective and how we live. It was difficult for the girls to imagine. They could only view cattle as biohazards.

We could become frustrated or we could understand their current mindsets and seek to build bridges. Unfortunately, some of the population sees ranching as cruel and harmful. Sadly, there are some who give ranching a bad name. However, overall, ranchers take pride in caring for cattle while simultaneously stewarding the land.

We’d love to be a part of creating a healthy mentality toward the cattle industry. We work diligently to provide the best for our cattle and land–we’d like others to know that it isn’t a cruel animal factory, but a nurturing environment.

The city and the country have the opportunity be a thriving, symbiotic environment.