We were finally able to move cows on a nice day! Which was good because we had a lot of small moves to make. We are starting to get everybody shuffled around and grouped the way we need them, to all be moved off the home place this week. We spent the day bringing them in from over here and gathering from over there and sorting them and putting them back out over yonder. We split the calves (and a few cows) into five different groups and attempted to sort all of them simultaneously. It was no easy task, and Mom and I were so confused by the end of the day, we didn’t know which way was up! So hopefully, we got everyone into the right group! But we had fun, and that is all that matters (at least that’s what we tell ourselves!).
Now we can breathe a small sigh of relief (or we can when most of the calves are finally moved out of our “ranch headquarters”). Life gets less rushed and busy once all our cows are out on pastures and don’t have to be fed every day. Of course, this brings its own challenges and headaches. Now we start building more electric fences, checking on all the different herds regularly, keeping everyone watered sufficiently, etc. But those are troubles for tomorrow!
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It has been so windy here lately, ya’ll! If the wind isn’t going to blow in the rainstorm we desperately need, then, in my opinion, it can just stop! I’m not the only one who is tired of the wind. Apparently, big, tough boys become babies in the wind. I have had the bulls at my house for the winter. And two of them found the lowest spot they could to try to get out of the howling wind. They found a place where they could hide in the tall bunch grass and sagebrush to keep out of the wind, and they weren’t going to budge for anything, either. They just watched me walk right by them several times while doing chores and didn’t move a muscle. Thankfully, I live in a draw, so the wind isn’t as bad right at my house as up on top. But when the wind is whipping, it doesn’t just stay on top of the hill, where I would like it too. I am hoping it will die down a little sometime soon, otherwise I might just blow away one of these days!
Sourdough Saturday. That is what I have decided to call Saturdays from now on! Mom made me a sourdough starter for my birthday. If you had told me five years ago that I would be over-the-moon excited about getting sourdough starter for my birthday, I would have said you were crazy. But the presents we get the most excited about definitely change as we get older! Today was the first day my starter was ready to bake with. From what I have read in the recipe book Mom also gave me for my birthday, once the starter is ready to bake with, you will have to bake with it at least once a week. I know what you’re thinking, “Shayne, why are you putting this on your blog for busy women if it is going to be a time-consuming project?”. Well, just stay with me for a little longer. I am working to simplify the sourdough process for all of us (if you want to know more about sourdough, visit the Cooking section).
Side note: I am calling the sourdough starter Mom gave me “Refrigerator Mother” (since this is what the sourdough industry calls a starter you keep in the fridge). The starter I made, I’m calling my “Counter Mother” (again, this is the name the industry gave to a starter that sits out on the counter). It is a little strange to call the starter “Mother,” but it makes for a good laugh!
I didn’t have enough of either starter to make bread, so I made bagels and rolls instead. I used the Counter Mother to make the bagels and the Refrigerator Mother to make the rolls. This was the first time I had made bagels, and it didn’t go so well (which is why there aren’t any pictures of them!). I think the starter wasn’t quite active enough, and they ended up not having enough flour in them, which made them not hold their shape. I have made rolls before, and they turned out much better. Also, the Refrigerator Mother was much more active, so they raised like they were supposed to. They actually raised more than they were supposed to, so I ended up with quite large rolls!
All in all, I started this journey at 5:30 in the morning and was finished by 1:30, but my kitchen was a mess, and I’ll probably spend the rest of the week cleaning it up! But it was fun and made me realize that I missed making my own bread. I used to make bread in high school and college (once I moved out of the dorms). And it was gratifying to slice into freshly baked bread and slathered it in butter! Do you have experience with sourdough? I’d love to hear any advice you would have for me! Use the comments below or go the my contact page.
Mom and I moved cows today in the fog. Thankfully, we found all of them, but it took us a lot longer than we expected! It didn’t help that they had three different pastures they could hide in, either. And we had to do most of our gathering on foot because it had warmed up and the snow was melting, making the ground pretty sloppy. We didn’t want to get the trusty Gator stuck! Right now, Mom doesn’t have a good horse that can get around in the muck, so we couldn’t use horses, either. Although next time, I’m tempted to let Mom walk, and I’ll ride! She is in quite a bit better shape than I am since she frequently hikes in to see the cows, especially when the mud is three inches deep. There was also a lot of tempting green grass, so we had to fight to keep the cows from straying too far up the hills. All in all, it made for a great leg day; I won’t need to work out for a while! I tried to get some pictures, but it was too foggy and I didn’t get a good chance to stop and take the time to get good ones.
The cows are looking really good. Especially considering they have been on old, dry CRP grass for the past several months, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of green grass for them to get to until recently. Mom has been changing up the supplements that she has been giving them, and it seems to be helping tremendously. Obviously, winter isn’t over yet, and it has been pretty mild thus far, so we will see how they hold up for the rest of the winter.
Today I got my new Neutrogena face wash, hydro boost gel cream, and hydro-boost hand cream. I have been trying to be better about taking care of my skin because I am outside quite a bit and am often in an incredibly dusty atmosphere. Grain elevators aren’t exactly the cleanest places! So, I got these products’ trial sizes to see if they worked for my skin. I know I have only used them once, but I’m absolutely in love! My skin already feels so much softer and looks much clearer. I have combination skin, and I deal with some hormonal acne (I have a couple of spots right now). My nose and forehead still feel a little oily to the touch, but less than if I don’t use any products. The only thing I don’t really like about the hydro-boost gel cream is the scent. It’s just a little overpowering for a facial product. I usually like a slight fragrance, but this one isn’t for me. I can’t even describe what it smells like, maybe something floral. I don’t think this will be a deal-breaker for me, though. I’m excited to see what happens to my skin long term! Hopefully, these products will be something I can use in my nightly routine!
My parents and I had a “family meeting” today. We have been working on making it so I can come home, and we can start the transition process. We’ve had a few meetings before, but in the one we had today, we actually set a timeframe for the transition process, which is super exciting! Coming home and eventually taking over has been the dream for a while now. To start having a more concrete plan rather than just hopes and dreams is scary and exhilarating at the same time! We all came away from the meeting with lots of homework to do in order to make the transition happen more smoothly for all of us. We all want this process to a good one. That’s not to say that it will be painless because growing as individuals and a business is never easy. Part of our transition plan requires some growing on all of our parts, and because money is a limiting factor in me coming home, it also requires the business to expand. But we are trying to keep God the center of our relationship, both in the business and child-parent relationship. And we want to stay focused on what is important and not on our perspectives. We have all seen how hard transitions can be on relationships, and we are doing our best on the front end to minimize those stressors and irritants. It helps that all of us are excited for me to take over. My parents are excited about sharing this legacy with me, and I am excited to be a part of something they and generations before them have built.