Friday, January 27, 2012

A Walk Round the Ranch.......

These pictures are from a 2 hour hike The Man and I took 'round the ranch a couple weeks ago......

Till next time..........God Bless!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Fat Fobes....or Phat Phobes.........Lookin' at the Outside Instead of the In....

Do you know what a Fat Fobe is?  "Fat Fobe" is a goodwife invented word to describe folks who are anti chunky monkeys.  I'm sure if you think about it, you've known a few in your life and maybe you might even be one.  If somebody said to them, "You can gain 50 lbs or lose your left leg, what do you choose?", they'd have the meat saw out hacking through bone before you could say....fat folks have more fun!  My mom is a Fat Fobe and so is Mouse....

Now does this mean my mom doesn't love me?  Of course not.  She loves me fully and accepts me as I am.  As a matter of fact, when I was younger and bemoaning the fact that my sister was 100 lbs dripping soaking wet and strutting around in her size 0 jeans, when I was wailing about how ugly I was, my mom was the person who grabbed me by the chin, looked me right in the eye, and said, "Your sister might be littler than you, but she is NOT prettier than you."  Oh how I love my Mama!!  But she is a total Fat Fobe.  In her mind there is no more terrible fate for HER than gaining weight.

Pretty much as soon as we moved here I discovered Mouse's Fat Fobia.  She doesn't direct it at me, but she doesn't hide it either.  When she describes someone the first words out of her mouth are fat or skinny.  It's how she defines people.  I'm sure we all have a way of describing folks, either by height, weight, race, or something else, seldom ever do most folks lead with personality traits.  In her mind fat people are lazy, or sit around and eat all day long.  If they didn't, they wouldn't be fat!

Mouse has a daughter that here I'll call Pied.  Pied is 5 and in kindergarten.  Until calving begins in March, Mouse takes the girls to the bus in the mornings, and then Mouse and I both ride together to pick them up.  Mouse and I are becoming fast friends and we have LOTS in common.  We have the same sense of humor and can talk critters for hours.  We truly like each other, and Pied is sweet with a touch of fire and attitude.  Well, a lot of attitude.  As a matter of fact, I'm terrified for her teen years..........they might just not live through them!! yesterday Mouse took the girls to the bus as usual.  When she got home she called me to see if I wanted to go put out mineral and check cows with her.  I of course did, so she stopped by the house, picked Ellie and me up and we were off.  As we were driving around the ranch she was talking to me about Pied's attitude and how she didn't know what to do about it.  She was noticeably upset.  She said Pied has been so disrespectful and called her fat this morning.  Mouse isn't fat, not even a little bit.  She's tall and fit with strong legs and arms and a totally flat torso.  The body of a woman who's worked outdoors all her life.  I mentioned how rude some kids can be to their parents and we talked about different ways to handle it.  Then, Mouse's hands flew up to her face and she said, "I'm so sorry, so sorry, but this morning Pied said...."

I knew what was coming.  Lets face it, I've been a fluffy nugget my whole life and I've heard it all at some point or 'nother.  As they were driving past Mouse's folks place on the way to the bus, Mouse made a comment about the sheep being fat, at which point Pied said........"They are even fatter than "The Youngun's" mom!!"  I laughed, because Pied is only 5 and we all know that kids say what they see.  Pied loves me, and she didn't mean it in a nasty way, she just made a statement.  Mouse flew all over her, told her to never, ever say such things about someone and Pied cried the rest of the way to the bus.

I reassured Mouse that it was ok, I've been heavy my whole life and Pied didn't mean it.  Mouse was all over apologetic and we discussed teaching children tact and that was pretty much it.  I'm very thankful that Mouse and I have become good enough friends for her to tell me (because I knew The Youngun would as soon as she got home.)  We finished putting out mineral, driving through cows, chasing elk off the big hill, and checking water and she dropped me off at the house, where The Man was just getting home for lunch.

As I was telling The Man about my morning, I told him that Mouse's Fat Fobia was coming back to bite her in the butt.  I told him the situation and how it didn't really bother me.  As I said, when you've been heavy your whole life you've heard it all.  It's much easier to take from a 5 year old than from a teenager or adult who should know better!  I've been mooed at, called a fat cow, ridiculed for my weight throughout most of my high school years.  I'm pretty much over it.  Of course it still stings a bit, but that's not the point of my story.

The point of my story is this.....children are a mirror reflection of their parents.  Pied is simply describing things in the way her mom does, and in illustration of my point.........When we picked the girls up at the bus that afternoon, Pied had her snow pants on.  Now Pied is a teeny tiny little thing and her puffy snow pants were around her itty bitty torso so when she got in the truck and took her coat off, she looked like Olive Oyl wearing the Michelin Man's pants.  Mouse said to her, "Those pants make your butt look huge!  Your butt looks like Grandma W's! Of course hopefully your butt won't ever get as big as Grandma W's."  Now......where do you think Pied got the idea to compare the fluffiness of the sheep to the fluffiness of moi??

When The Youngun and I got home we talked about what happened.  She said she wanted me to know, but didn't want to hurt my feelings.  I reassured her, telling her that I learned a very long time ago not to base my self worth on an exterior image, and certainly not on the image other folks have of me.  As my grandma used to tell me, God made me and God doesn't make junk!  He has a purpose for me and He loves me, every square inch of me, and yes even when the square inches of me are better measured in feet!

I started thinking that perhaps one of my purposes here is to break through Mouse's Fat Fobia.  I will guarantee you that I can work side by side with her and not quit until she does.  I'm a big girl, yes, but I'm strong, and relatively fit, and healthy.  I can run a chainsaw, carry sacks of feed and mineral, and work as hard or harder than anybody without stopping.  I'm not lazy, and I don't sit and stuff my face all day long.  Do I like my groceries?  Hecks to the yeah I do, but I don't have a feed bag strapped to my face all day long.  I have an amazing marriage, a healthy sex life (ooh la la) and a beautiful daughter who respects and loves me.  If I were ever to be disfigured in some way, I'd be able to go on, because my self worth comes from the inside.  My identity comes from who I am, not what I look like.  Let the gray hairs and wrinkles come, because no matter my weight, or what my outer package looks like, I'm God's daughter and He loves me.

Till next time............God Bless......

Monday, January 23, 2012

Life on the Ranch......Fixin Fence........

Life on the ranch mainly consists of two things...........

What are those two things? 

Why fixin' fence and feedin' cows a course!  Naturally different things crop up during different seasons, such as calving, haying, branding, and whatnot, but the day to day, every day tasks are feedin' and fencin'!

Yesterday after The Man got done feedin' cows he and I went to cut a load of wood and on the way we stopped to fix two places where the antelope/elk/deer had broken the fence.

The first thing we had to do was dig the strand of barb wire out of the crusty snow......The man did one end and I did the other.

When the wire breaks you have a left side and a right side.  On the right side of the broken wire, I made a loop.......

Then we took the new barb wire and stuck it through that loop that I just made......

And tied it back on itself.  So now we have the right side of broken barb wire looped together with the new barb wire which is still attached to the roll......

Then you attach the fence stretcher to the tail of the new wire on the right side, and the tail of the broken wire on the left side, and crank that sucker till the wire is tight enough to sing opera.  The fence stretcher holds everything nice and snug while you get it all attached together.

Next you cut the new wire off the roll, leaving a long enough tail to loop it back on itself like we did the right side in the beginning.  Remember? 

Then you take the broken wire on the left side, and loop it with the loop on the new wire, thereby fastening the whole mess neatly together.

Now you can take the fence stretcher loose, very carefully.  You want to be for sure and certain that everything is tied together, or else it will go zingin back apart cutting you to ribbons when you take that stretcher off!
Then you have to put the stay back on.  Yup, just like a corset stay, this little gizmo makes sure everything stays where it belongs.  It keeps the barb wires equidistant and snug.

And now we are done!  We can move on to the next area of broken fence!

Now, a few weeks ago Anonymous had a question about bears getting in the cows.  I talked to Mouse about it and she says bears aren't a predator issue with the cows.  We do have bears here but they are snoozing right now.  It seems that our side of the mountain is where Yellowstone likes to drop their "problem" bears so we do have a few Grizzlies and a lot of Black Bear. 

I said they weren't an issue with the cows, however, Mouse's mom does run a flock of sheep and they have had a few troubles over the years with bears in the sheep.  Right now there is a wolf pack that is preying on sheep in our area.  We've been spared any losses, but our neighbors haven't been so fortunate. 

The dumpster also is favorite prey of the black bears as evidenced by their wittle paw prints on the side, as well as the chokecherry and raspberry bushes behind Mouse's house.....I hope to get pictures this spring when they wake up!

Well that's all for now.........till next time..........God Bless.........

Monday, January 9, 2012

Funny How That Worked Out..........

When I was a little girl I wanted nothing more than to marry a cowboy (I was always partial to bulldoggers cuz they were big guys) and live on a real ranch in Montana.  I had a two posters of half nekkid cowboys on my bedroom wall. (Who didn't though right?)

Pay no mind to the little cowgirl.  That is a little girl we babysat for.  She called my folks mom and dad and her folks by their first names, and I had to do my best to corrupt her!
I used to write the Montana tourism folks and they would send me packets of information on life in Montana.  I used to have dreams about it, one dream in particular that I was living on a ranch in Montana with my cowboy husband and I called my mom because I needed to know how to roast a ham.

Well I happened to fall in love with a butcher (he was irresistible in that white apron that framed his adorable little booty), who became a Schwans man, who became a trash man, who climbed the ranks and became a big boss man, who lost his job and worked at a factory, who hated that and became what??



Louis L'Amour would be so disappointed in how he skylined himself, but it made for a great shot!

He doesn't wear a cowboy hat, and he doesn't wear cowboy boots.  He works cows with a dirt bike and a flat bed pickup instead of a horse, but he's a cowboy all the same.  I've always been so thankful and proud to be his woman, no matter what job he was working, but a couple days ago I remembered those old dreams and thought.......'s funny how that worked out!

Oh how I love this sexy man!!

Till next time..........God Bless!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Answers to Asked and Unasked Questions...........

Ok, ok, so some of the questions were asked, and some of you couldn't care less......since when has that ever stopped me?  Baaahahahhaaaa!

  1. Is The Youngun still being homeschooled??
  2. Where is Champ??
  3. Where does Willow (the cat) now live??
  4. Are you insane??
  5. Do you ever get sad, down, depressed.....ever??
K.........thats enough questions for now. If you have any others though, please do feel free to leave them in the comments section!

Answer to question new-mare-o eww-no.......
  • No.  We were feeling nudges to put her back into the public school system while we were in Kentucky.  I wasn't crazy about that idea as I wasn't fond of the Bowling Green school system (waaaaay to big for this goodwife) but we did want to mind the Lord and we had been talking about it as a family and praying about it.  When this Montana gig came up I began googling the school up here.  I was pleased, and even more so after meeting with the principle and staff.  The Youngun was excited though nervous.  She attended Thursday and Friday of the first week and then Mon.-Wed of the next week before being off for Christmas break.  The school is tiny and there are 7 kids in her math class.  Lots of one on one attention and yes they do still call it Christmas break here.  A wonderful and refreshing change from IL schools.  She goes to school 26 miles away from our house and Mouse or I drive the girls 14 miles one way to meet the school bus, where the bus then takes them the remaining 12 miles to school.  Same drill in the afternoon.  Did I mention The Youngun loves it, and she re-entered public school seamlessly??  God is good!  I also strongly feel that it was His plan for us to pull her from school in IL when we did because of all the turmoil we were headed for.  Moving from IL, to KY, to MT in the space of 6 months would've been a bit traumatic if she'd been attending school in IL and in KY!

Moving on past question twa for now, (and that means two in goodwife speak).  The answer to question three lies in the following picture........

My days now consist of........ feed the dogs, let the dogs out, let the dogs back in, feed the cat, dogs eat the cat food, feed the cat again, cat poops, dogs eat the cat poop, repeat until bed time..............

Question 4.......ah dear sweet question 4.......
  • Probably............but not for the reasons you think.  We have faith..........if that makes us insane then we're proud to be nutty!  Life only scares us when we think we are in charge.  When we know we are letting God make the decisions it's all just a really fun and exciting journey!

Question 5.........the meat of it all............
  • YES! Although it isn't very often sometimes I'm get so sad I don't think I can go on.  Usually it's related to my monthly cycle (see above question cuz I for sure am then) (sorry if TMI) and I can usually power through it but sometimes it's the hardest thing I have to do.  A few days after we moved to this beautiful place I was PMSing and feeling terribly sorry for myself.  The Man was having the time of his life learning the ranching trade and I was feeling as useless at tits on a boar.  For the first time in 13 years I have no critters that depend on me and I was feeling low, low, low.  Then I was laying in bed and I had one of those smack upside the head moments that God often graces me with.  I remembered........I am here because God wants me here.  God has a plan and a purpose for me and if right now all that purpose is is to keep my house nice, feed my family and my dogs, and scoop that dang cat box, (see the above question about where Willow now lives), well that's ok.  That is what God wants me to be doing.  Then I felt better!  And you know what?  About 2 days after that, Mouse started calling on me and having me help her with cow stuff.  And God said...... SEEEEEE, you must give Me time to work.  And I said..........sorry Big Guy, I failed you again!  And I was once again so thankful that even though I fail Him constantly, He never ever fails me!

And answer question heart constricts on question twa........
  • Champ is gone.  He couldn't come to Montana with us.  Champ was 24 years old.  He was an old man in horse years, and I couldn't bring him 1600 miles north in December.  The climate and altitude would've been too much for him.  On a totally practical note, we aren't exactly rolling in cash and transporting him would have been a financial outlay we simply couldn't afford.  As I've stated many many times, selling him was not an option.  He left this world relaxed and happy and that's all I'd really like to say about a very painful subject.  ♥
    He gave me 11 years of wonderful horsey love and I'll never have another like him, if I ever even get another horse.  I'm a lifer and a horse can be a 20+ year commitment for a person like me.  I'm also not too sure that God has ever had horses in the plan for me.  I think He's allowed me to have them because I've wanted them, but I'm not sure it's ever been what He's wanted for me, though we do talk about that often as my heart yearns to ride over this 30,000 acres on a faithful steed.  God will let me know in His time what the plan is regarding that!

So that's those questions answered.  There was another question posted by anonymous on my last post, about bear eating wait........maybe it was about cow eating bears??  Anyway, I'll answer that question next time..........

oh this font hard for you to read???

Till then...............God Bless..........

Monday, January 2, 2012

So What Exactly Are We Doing???

Ranching of course! 

God has led us to a 30,000 acre family ranch smack dab in the middle of Montana, about 2 hours northwest of Billings and about 2 hours northeast of Bozeman.  Hank Jr sang a song about the little town we are near, though we are 14 miles away from it even.

It's always been a dream of mine and The Man's, to live in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.  We thought we'd have to wait until he retired to make this dream come true because you can't exactly commute from where we are, but God in His infinite wisdom led us here, where we get to live on 30,000 acres of deeded loveliness for free, and get paid for it even!

So now you know.............the rest of the story.........but it's only beginning isn't it? 

Till next time...........God Bless.........

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday, January First, Two Thousand and Twelve..........

Good morning dear readers and blog friends!  I've been waiting on this post for a couple weeks now.  How fitting that it should begin assembling itself in my mind on the first day of a new year! 

If you are new to this blog and would like to catch up on what's been happening please click here...... that will take you to a lot of blog posts and you can catch up on what's been going on!

If you are a faithful friend then I'm sure you are sayin'.....yadda, yadda, blahhh, get on with it sister!!  So I will!

When last I reported to you the goings on in our lives The Man was working at a factory in Bowling Green, KY and God had led me to sell my goats.  We were beginning to feel nudges about putting The Youngun back in school, and although I wasn't really feelin' that in B.G., we wanted to mind The Lord

Now I'm usually not a good one for remembering dates, but these are cemented in my mind.  On Tuesday, November 15, 2011 The Man came home from his second shift at the factory miserable.  Well he'd been coming home miserable for about a week now, but especially miserable on that day.  He really didn't like working at the factory.  He didn't mind the actual work, but the work ethic and the mindset of the folks he was working with were really getting to him.  He also wasn't enjoying being cooped up in that building for 10-12 hours a day.  As always, we'd been praying without ceasing for God to show us the way.  For Him to show us what He'd have us to do. 

I began telling The Man about this lovely lady and her family.  Mountain Mama and her family strive to live for God and to have the courage and faith to go wherever He leads them.  At one point, He led them to manage a lodge in the mountains.  As I was telling The Man about this, he didn't really say too much and I just let it go, praying all the while for His direction. 

The next morning when we got up he asked me if I thought I could find us a job like that.  I said I don't know but I can try!  We all three marched back to the computer and I stared googling jobs for couples.  It took me to a site called working couples dot com and I started searching the jobs there.  There were several jobs on there, jobs in Florida, Georgia, and Texas.  I asked The Man if any of those sounded interesting to him and he said the one in Montana sounded pretty good.  There was a name, and address, and a phone number, or you could apply online through the site.  I told him to call the number.........he took a deep breath........I said, do you feel like God is telling you to do it but you are scared to death??  He said.......Oh yeah!!  I said, then call!  So he did......

The job said no experience necessary and while The Man had a little bit of experience doing this type of work, he didn't have a great deal, but he had faith and he called.  After speaking to the lady, she told him to send her 5 references and a resume.  She wanted 3 references of people he'd worked with in the past, and 2 of people he was currently working with at the factory.  He went to work that afternoon, Wednesday November 16, 2011 and asked two fellas if he could use them as a reference.  They said yes so when he got home from working second shift, at around midnight we sent the resume and the references.  By the time he got to work the afternoon of Thursday the 17th, she'd called both of those references, as well as two of the others.  She couldn't get ahold of the last one because he was up a tree.  It was deer season in IL ya know.....

K.........hate to do this to you, but I got to take a break.  I will leave you with another picture though, and promise to continue this story next week!

Till next time...........God Bless........

Just kiddin!  Would I do that to you??  Baahhahahaa!

Ok, so anyway, she couldn't get ahold of Brandon and she was determined to talk to all of his references.  We didn't hear anything from her and The Man continued to go to work at the factory.  We continued to pray for His guidance and He was really telling us this was going to happen.  We went to IL for Thanksgiving, leaving on Thanksgiving day and coming home Saturday the 26th.  While we were in IL, we visited with my family, telling them we'd applied for a job in Montana, and doing the same with his family.  My family was very supportive as they always are.  His family didn't believe us.........

We got back home to KY on Saturday and got up Sunday morning the 27th to go to church.  We loved our little church in Barren County KY and really hated to leave it!  During a church service a few weeks prior our preacher opened up the church doors for membership, but we didn't go forward.  A couple Sunday's after that we told the congregation that we didn't come forward because we didn't know how long God was going to leave us here and we didn't want anything holding us back from going where He led us, including church membership......After church The Man called to follow up on the job.  The lady told him she'd filled the job, but the guy hadn't shown up yet and if he didn't get there quick she was going to call us. 

We knew were were destined for Montana, so we began craigslisting everything we didn't want to take with us on a 1600 mile move.........

On Monday November 28th she called The Man to tell him he was her pick but she wanted us to talk it over and be sure we wanted it as a family.  She also had to talk to her dad and her husband about us......meanwhile, while The Man was on the phone with the lady, Missy (Brandon of the deer stand)'s wife was frantically calling us to tell us she'd finally called and talked to Brandon!

Tuesday, November 29th The Man told the factory he was done.  What???  Without knowing for sure he had the job???  Yup.......FAITH.......

We began listing stuff on craigslist in earnest and going through stuff again.  I don't even know how much stuff we sold, but we unloaded lots more "stuff" that was weighing us down.  It all sold almost as soon as we listed it.  More of God telling us this was going to happen. 

I called my dear friend Jennifer of Our Little Farm (remember she bought Tulip and Star?) and asked her if she'd take my 6 laying hens.  She said she would, and we kept selling stuff, my trio of Muscovy ducks included.

We told my folks we were leaving for Montana on the 9th of December and they planned to come down and visit us the weekend of the 3rd and 4th.  Now mind you we still hadn't gotten the confirmation call that we'd gotten the job.  Going on faith here folks, which is a heady and glorious feeling!!

Saturday morning, the 3rd of December the lady (who I'll from here on out be referring to as Mouse) gave us the call and said, well if you think you want to do this, then come on!  We told her we had to take The Youngun to the orthodontist in IL on December 8, and then we'd be on the road the 9th. 

We went to our little church one last time and told them where God was leading us and with some tearful goodbyes we were that much closer to being ready.

 We took Ellie and Ginger in to get spayed on the 7th, made a trip to IL to the orthodontist on the 8th, and spent all day on the 9th getting packed up and loaded, with help from The Man's family in KY. 

We intended to get on the road by noon on the 9th of December, but that didn't happen.  The first uhaul we got was too small, and of course we didn't realize that until we had it loaded!  Back to Bowling Green and a bigger uhaul.  Brought it home, unloaded the first one into the second one, loaded more stuff into the second one, took the first one back to Bowling Green while The Man and The Uncle finished loading the second one......whew!  We didn't think we'd ever get on the road! 

With the three dogs, we had to pre book our hotels to make sure we were in a dog friendly one, so we had to go ahead and leave to stay on schedule.  We stopped in Columbia MO the first night but it was around 3 am before we got there!  Then on to Chamberlain SD the second night, then to Laurel MT the third night and on December 12 at around 11 AM mountain time, The Man, the goodwife, The Youngun, the three dogs and the cat arrived at our new home!

Now I really am going to make you wait to tell you what job The Man is doing, and tie up some more loose ends you may be wondering about but that's ok cuz suspense is the spice of life right???

Till next time..........God Bless............