A New Dawn, A New Day

Wow. My last post was almost a year ago…I really need to keep up on this!!!
Here’s an update – we finished calving, got everything branded, got our cows out to summer pasture…the summer was a BLUR. I still haven’t caught up and now we’re weeks from calving again!
Some exciting things from my year:
Our daughter, Shayna, is having a baby at the end of February! I am both excited and horrified to be a grandmother…excited because, well, obviously…horrified, because I’m 35…but, I’ll be the cool, young grandma and that works for me.
Our daughter, Kadence, got a sassy Shetland pony in July named Salsa – and boy is she spicy – and she and Kadence have become great friends. Kadence and Salsa will start barrel racing this summer – which also excites and horrifies me!
I got a new horse a couple weeks ago – a beautiful, gentle red roan named Jim. I am working on putting some weight on him now, and I think by spring he’ll be ready for some long hours. I sure have missed riding, so I am working hard to get myself in good shape by then so it won’t hurt so bad!!!
We made it through fall – gathering, preg testing, shipping, and then we had a nice month of November where we basically did nothing.
So here’s my new year’s resolution – I will do my best to post at least every other week, and Sus will do the same – I hope…
If there’s anything you want us to talk about, please feel free to ask!!! We’re here for you. 😉
Until next time….
Trina Jo

PHEW!

Wow, its been a while! Here’s an update (and an excuse why I haven’t written for two months). We’re almost done calving – 18 to go!!! I’ve finally convinced the weather to cooperate to get a few more photo shoots done – I still have one senior to finish before he graduates next month! We branded at a neighbor’s house a couple weekends ago – always a good time visiting and checking in with people we haven’t seen forever. Last weekend we branded at my dad’s house, which meant on top of getting our butts worked off we also get to have a semi family reunion – both my brothers and my sister were there, so that always makes for a good time!
We’re branding this weekend – and yes, of course the forecast says we’re going to get snow on Saturday and the high will be 31 degrees. SO, my husband decided this morning we’d better brand Friday instead. Which means we have a smaller crew, which means I will somehow manage to spend the day in the corral working cows and helping brand, as well as finding time to put lunch together in some sort of orderly fashion. Don’t feel bad – I’d MUCH rather be in the corral than in the kitchen, but alas…that’s my lot in life. Its not a lot, but its my life. (Feel free to laugh out loud for my benefit. I’m feeling witty today.)
Those of you that are ranchy know how much work there is to do leading up to branding. Yesterday morning, we moved all the cows closer to the barn, and then I showered and headed the 100 miles to the nearest “big” city (Great Falls) and spent the day getting branding supplies and food. Unfortunately, that meant a trip to my FAVORITE (did you hear the sarcasm?) store WALMART. My first cart was filled to the brim with beer, pop, bottled water and paper plates. Check out, take it to the car, unload, go back in, spend the next two hours filling the cart AGAIN to the brim with food for lunch. Check out, deal with the absolutely RUDE women behind me in line – I don’t care if you speak spanish, or any language, but don’t get all up in my space and then be rude to me in spanish when I tell you to move so I can pay for my damn groceries…take it to the car, unload, call husband – I’M DONE!!! – and then crap…I forgot batteries for the hot shot…BACK into the store. I swear I’m going to shoot someone. Maybe carrying a gun in my purse is a bad idea…Why is everyone in the city of Great Falls at Walmart RIGHT NOW?!?!?! Get in the car…breathe…

Today, I’m paying bills, editing pictures, making graduation announcements, cleaning the house, putting the groceries away, and then I’m off to a 4-H meeting, and then gymnastics, and then a school board meeting. My husband is just as busy – fixing the corrals, getting all his branding supplies in one place, figuring out who’s going to do what on Friday…its a big week.

I don’t know that this post has a point – I just wanted to let you know I haven’t forgotten about you. 🙂

Now that she's six, she's FINALLY big enough to push calves!

Now that she’s six, she’s FINALLY big enough to push calves!

What I learned…

My daughter loves EVERYTHING about ranching, especially the new calves!

My daughter loves EVERYTHING about ranching, especially the new calves!

Growing up, we were the kids that had to do CHORES. We were also in the corral, riding and working cows as soon as we could talk.

There wasn’t time for going to movies, or being in EVERY extra-curricular activity, or “hanging out” after school. there was work to be done. IT WAS SO UNFAIR.

“All my friends get to have a job in town – why can’t I?”

“All my friends get to have their own car – why can’t I?”

“All my friends get to sleep till noon on Saturday – why do I have to get up and WORK?”

ITS NOT FAIR.

We missed out on EVERYTHING. It was so UNFAIR.

What DID I learn while I was stuck at home working?

A LOT.

I learned to listen. To my dad, my mom, God. They knew was was best for me.

I learned to treat tje land and the animals with respect – they are our livelihood.

I learned how to work. HARD. Did it hurt me at all to get up at 6 a.m. to milk the cow EVERY DAY? Nope. And i had one hell of a grip.

I learned you get out of life what you put into it.

I learned how to read a cow. How to know when to zig when she zags. How to tell when she’s bluffing, and how to get out of the way when she’s not.

I learned the more kids you have, the more free labor you have. then again, my parents did feed me and clothe me and house me, so I guess that’s a pretty good paycheck.

I learned there’s more than one way to skin a cat, but if you’re not going to do it daddy’s way, you’d better be damn sure your way is going to work!

I learned to speak up. Turns out, the old man might be open to trying something new if you can just muster the courage to suggest it.

I learned your horse really can be your best friend. AND he makes a great fall guy when the cow gets away that you’ve spent 20 minutes sorting out.

I learned to think like MacGyver. Who needs to buy new parts when you have twine and duct tape?

I learned that no matter how bad it is, it can always be worse.

I learned that growing up working alongside your siblings and your parents really isn’t that bad.

I learned that money isn’t everything. My parents taught us to do what we could with what we had. We always had food on the table, and we never missed a holiday. I appreciated my parents as a kid, but I appreciate how hard they worked for us so much more now that I’m in their shoes.

I learned that growing up in the country, getting dirty, working your heart out is SO much better than growing up in the city with all the finest things, not even knowing where your food comes from.

Most importantly, I learned that doing what you love with who you love is the most important thing in the whorld, and I thank God every day that He has provided this life for my family.

They say the American cowboy is a dying breed, but I disagree. We’re still alive and well, all over the country. But, in the words of Chris LeDoux, you just can’t see us from the road.

Until next time,

Trina Jo

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Hi All,

Just wanted to let you know we haven’t forgotten about you! We have been busy, busy, busy here at the Bradley Ranch, and I am sure Sus have been just as busy at the Anderson Ranch. We are due to start calving in about two weeks, so we’ve been to town to get supplies, we’ve built a new maternity pen for our barn – well, not we, my husband – and on top of that I’ve had a TON of editing work to finish out my Class of 2014!
I’ll try to keep in touch during calving, and of course we’ll have PLENTY of cute photos to share!

You can check out what I’ve been working on at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dragonfly-Photography/319073140527. 🙂

Until Next Time,

Trina Jo

What Should I Make?!

If you’re a ranch wife like me, I know you’ve been faced with this question NUMEROUS times. The hard part is not finding something delicious to make for all those neighbors and friends that come help work cows, its finding something delicious that makes ITSELF.

Here’s how my morning on a typical cattle working day goes – I get up at dawn, throw a bunch of stuff in the crock or oven, get my daughter up and fed and ready, then rush out to the corral, where we spend all morning working cows. THEN, while the men stand around and BS for a few minutes, I rush to the house, set the table, finish the meal, whip up anything extra that I need, make two pots of coffee, and HOPEFULLY have that all done before they crowd into my not-big-enough-for-ten-people kitchen.

I used to make roast and potatoes EVERY TIME, because that was easy, and it cooks in one pot, and its done when I get to the house. HOWEVER, roast and potatoes bores the crap out of me. So, I started testing new things on these boys, and I have to say they’ve been pretty accepting of my attempts at gourmet cooking. So, I’ll share a few of my favorite recipes with you.

Pizza Casserole is a recipe I got from my stepmother, who got it from Country Favorites, a cookbook published by the Dupuyer Community Club like a hundred years ago. Its wicked easy to throw together the night before, and then just put in the oven before you go out, and AS LONG AS YOU QUIT FOR LUNCH WHEN YOUR HUSBAND PROMISES YOU’RE GOING TO, it turns out splendidly. Add a tossed salad, some garlic bread and some kind of dessert, and you’ve got a meal fit for a king.

My favorite go-to meal is Taco Soup. Its so easy a caveman could do it. Brown the burger, open a bunch of cans, and voila! Dinner is served. Dump a bag of tortilla chips in a bowl and shred some cheese (or buy it already shredded like I do) and again, simple meal. This one is the best for when you know you’re not going to have any time either in the morning, or when you break for lunch, because sometimes let’s face it – there’s a lot of cows out there and not a whole lot of time in the day to be spent in the house.

Do you have some go-to recipes you’d like to share? I’d love to have them!!!

Until next time,

Trina Jo

Pizza Casserole

1 (4 oz) pkg. pepperoni, sliced

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. oregano

1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce

6 oz. spaghetti, cooked

1 med. onion, chopped (I actually use about one slice of an onion)

1/3 cup butter, melted

1 lb. Mozzarella cheese, grated

1 (4 oz) can mushroom stems and pieces

Boil pepperoni to remove excess fat for five minutes in water to cover; drain well. Saute onion in 1 tablespoon butter. Pour remaining butter into a 13×9 dish. Place cooked spaghetti in baking dish; toss to cover with butter. Cover with half of the tomato sauce. Add in order: half of grated Swiss cheese, half of pepperoni, half of grated Mozzarella cheese, all the mushrooms and onions. Sprinkle with oregano. Top with remainder of tomato sauce, Swiss cheese, pepperoni and finally the Mozzarella cheese. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Serves 6.

(If you cook it at a lower temp you can leave it in the oven longer. I double this recipe for eight-ten guys, because my brothers eat. A LOT.)

Crock Pot Taco Soup

2 pounds ground beef

1 med to large onion, chopped

2 can corn, undrained

2 can black beans, undrained

2 cans chopped tomatoes with chiles

1 cans kidney beans, undrained

2 small cans tomato sauce

1 envelope taco seasoning

2 cans chilies

1 can chopped jalepenos

Brown burger with onion. Drain well and put in crock. Add all other ingredients. Stir well. Cook on low for four to six hours. When serving, top soup with broken tortilla chips and shredded cheddar cheese.

Aside

Trina, aka the Young Cow, did a wonderful job of introductions.  I just wanted to welcome you all to our new blog, too!  I’m the Old Cow, Sus.  There will be no mistaking me for a heifer.  To be honest, an efficient outfit would have culled me a long time ago.  I’m the kind you run open, because “she’s always been such a good old cow…..let’s give her one more chance.”  So what I lack in productivity, I make up for in experience.

Something important you should know about both of us is that we both grew up on ranches working for our dads.  I can already see some of your heads nodding.  So for those of you just starting out working with family, we’ve been there, done that, so please feel free to use us for advice, as  a sympathetic ear, or a shoulder to cry on.

Also know that while we say we hope to give advice, we welcome your ideas too, so please feel free to share great ideas and information.  With calving starting soon, we can all help each other.  There are no stupid questions!!!!!   

A few introductions…

Hi everyone. Hope you’re all keeping warm wherever you are. Its a balmy ten below here, but I saw wind blowing in the mountains today so I trust tomorrow will be warmer. If you’re not from the East Slope, here’s a little bit of trivia – yes, we actually CAN see the wind blow. Its one of the reasons we’re few and far between up here – there’s only so many people crazy enough to live in this wind blown country.

On to the introductions. This blog will be written by not only me, (apparently Susan decided I should be the Young Cow, since I am most definitely not a heifer anymore), but also the Old Cow, Susan, my BFF. Between the two of us, we have about 80-ish years of ranching experience. We’ve done everything. If it can happen on a ranch, we’ve done it or seen it. And, like so many females in the part of the country, we not only get the honor of being a ranch hand, but we also have perfected the art of a quick meal. In the last year alone, I was shoulder deep in more cows than I care to mention, gave mouth to mouth to a dying calf, AND hosted my very first Christmas, complete with a seven course meal AND red velvet cheesecake cake.

My point is, Sus and I are well versed in the art of ranching. And we’re going to do our best to take 80 years of experience and make something useful for you ranch wives – especially those of you that are just starting out and don’t know the unwritten rules of ranch wifing. We love feedback, so please leave us notes and let us know how we’re doing, or share a story, or make a suggestion for a future blog post!

Until next time,

Trina Jo

A little advice…

Hi, and welcome to our blog, Cows and the Kitchen! With this blog, we will try to provide handy money and time saving tips for all you ranchers’ wives, since we know how busy you are!

A couple helpful tips to start off with:

1. A warbex ladle can be rinsed and used in the stew you made for lunch – Lord knows you only have ten seconds to get in the house, set the table and serve lunch to the cowboys that you were just in the corral with all morning.

2. A large syringe can be “borrowed” from your husband’s stash and used to baste the Thanksgiving turkey.

3. Your crock pot CAN be your best friend – as long as you get up an hour before daylight so you can have lunch going by the time your husband wants his morning coffee on the way to the corral.