Thursday, December 31, 2009

Resolution Reccomendation

Cease from Anger.
That’s what my daughters suggested I do when one of them had the idea that we exchange New Year’s resolution recommendations for each other. Brad thought that was a bad idea, but we did it anyway.
They think I’ve been overly distressed. A little angry. Afraid I’m going to “stroke out.”
Well I probably am, have been, will continue to be, will try and work on it, and probably will.
But I’m betting that anyone that realizes what’s going on in our country is probably feeling pretty angry right now too. If not, ignorance is bliss, or they have a government job.
I’ve experienced a lot of emotions during my life: sadness, jealousy, embarrassment, fear, and anger to some degree.
Anger doesn’t just occur. It stems from something. I believe in my case it’s fear and frustration.
I grew up during the Cold War. Nothing was more feared than the A bomb during the 50’s and nothing scared me more than the “test” performed daily on our black and white T.V. suggesting that “in case this was an actual emergency” we would follow the instructions. Heaven only knew what that “actual emergency” was. I was pretty sure it had something to do with a mushroom cloud, crouching in a corner with our heads between our legs and a fall out shelter.
During the 70’s the Vietnam War also put the fear in me. I was a newlywed. About a month into our marriage Brad received his draft card; lucky number 11 and “bam” he was drafted. We awoke early on a cool September morning. I kissed him goodbye, and he left to board the draft bus for a two hour drive into OKC for a physical, thinking he would never return. God blessed him with an accident that cut his finger off when he was a year old (I’m sure his mother and dad didn’t think that was a blessing at that time, but they did when he returned home that evening on the bus. He had been “rejected” as he couldn’t use his trigger finger..
During those years fear was overwhelming. But not frustration. We knew who our enemy was. It was other countries; Japan, Germany, Vietnam. Not my own. Today that war is here in the U.S.A. being waged on Americans by Americans.
We’ve never maneuvered this territory before. We’ve never felt this kind of fear and frustration. Our enemy has always been on the outside. Today that enemy is sitting in the White House, in Congress, in our nation’s Agriculture Department etc. We’re losing sight of who our friends are. Who can we trust?
I believe as an American if you’re not displaying some anger and frustration about what’s going on, you’re probably not aware of what’s happening to our country; the Socialist Tsunami, Islamic sympathizers-Christian bashers gaining control of our school’s curriculum, senseless legislation being ushered in by radical environmentalists and animal activists who know nothing about running a business, but who have been given the reins to run ours.
You bet I’m angry. The past year I’ve watched the dismantling of my nation. I was really counting on my grandchildren being able to grow up in the same nation I grew up in (fear and all). Right now I’m afraid that’s not going to happen.
The Lord said to turn the other cheek if someone strikes you. On the other hand he must have gotten pretty angry when he turned over the tables of those selling items in the church. He also suggested that when you do become angry, not to sin. I’m trying to figure this all out.
I’m aware of my anger and frustration. But I’ve read that there is good anger and bad anger. Anger that fires you up to get things done. I’d like to think that’s the kind I’ve got. In the meantime, I just turned on Joyce Meyer. It may be a coincidence, but I hardly think so. I think I’ll be ordering her new book, “Frustration and How To Deal With It.” Seems like I’m not alone.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's Life



This is my backyard. This is our office. It's located in my backyard. So are the loading chutes, sheds, barns, silos and molasses tanks (tanks full of molasses that cattle find extremely tasty and nutritious.) Loading cattle here has been a common sight for as long as I can remember.
Tonight we loaded bulls. It started to snow when they were loading. I hope the driver and the bulls get to their destination safely.
The bulls have been in my backyard for several weeks. Getting fat. Getting ready to go north. Getting ready to...uh... go to slaughter, or should I say "harvest." Not too long ago that word reminded me of wheat. Kind of like the word "gay" used to make me think of someone happy.
Anyway, today our "politically correct" friends recommend we don't refer to the word that actually describes what has taken place since Adam and Eve. The word that describes what has taken place for centuries to insure human survival. No, today we must treat the word like candied fruit. Sugar coating reality. We might offend tender ears if light is shed on the gruesome origin of food, clothing and consumables.
However you want to say it, it still results with meat on my table, leather for my shoes, buttons on my coat, crayolas for my grandkids, deodorant for my underarms, perfume for my pulse points and footballs. It means I can carry a purse, wear gloves, eat ice cream, and enjoy butter on my bread.
I've watched this cycle of life and death from the time I was old enough to walk. I love cattle. I love animals. I was sad when those bulls loaded on that truck tonight. For the past few weeks I'd been watching them and listening to them. They fought each other. Bellered. Bawled. And dug up dirt here in my backyard.
Tonight their fate was sealed when they boarded the truck. It's part of life.
But it's not keeping me from praying for their safe arrival.

chainranchlady.com

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh, Poop

It's been quite a week. I had the opportunity to spend the night with my youngest daughter, her husband, and their 3-- under 4. She made Christmas goodies and I organized cabinets. That night I had a new "teeth brushing" experience. Their bathroom lighting was a little dim, so was my sight- absent my glasses. The tube looked like Crest, felt like Crest, squeezed like Crest but it sure didn't taste like Crest. Boudreaux's Butt Paste just doesn't have that same fresh minty flavor.
After leaving their place, Brad and I had the opportunity to take 4 of the other 6 (3 under 4 and a 9 year old) Christmas lightseeing. Prior to the light viewing, begging resulted in a stop at the Golden Arches. The playground was just as you'd expect...packed with hoards of gleeful kids playing in a less than sanitary environment while parents watch on as their little ones perform grotesque antics.
After witnessing a boy of 5 or 6 laying face down licking the carpet I questioned our sanity in bringing them their during flu season. Nearly an hour into having more fun than anyone should be allowed, it dawned on me that I was missing a girl. I called her name, no answer.
The other 3 were alerted to scour the tubes. Nothing. Just as I was going in to search myself, the blond haired beauty appeared from behind the shoe stand. An angelic demure smile on her face. As I approached her the smell hit me. Brad motioned something to me."What?" I mouthed. He motioned again. As I picked her up, I realized why startled glances were being shared. I can only say it ended with a trip to the dollar store to get a new set of clothes.
After the dollar store stop we headed to the lights. The excitement was more than they could bear but soon dwindled as the lighting disappeared after entering the park. The entrance was beautifully lit but that's where it ended. The 80 mile round trip to view a few lights at the entrance of what used to be a lighting extravaganza, and the disappearance of the rest, was a little disappointing and hard to explain to two 4 four year olds---but nothing that ice cream wouldn't fix. The 40 mile trip home was quiet except for an occasional ice cream slurp.
The rest of the week resulted in more busy bodies spilling, pooping, dropping, breaking, crying, burping, laughing, stuttering, questioning, hugging, spilling, dropping, crying, pooping.............
Yea, it's been quite a week...and I wouldn't trade it with anyone, poop and all.

Merry Christmas
Andy
chainranchlady.com

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not So Far Away

Consolidated Six (Con 6) , the country school where most of the community received their education was a large lonely looking blond brick structure that sat solitaire in the middle of a field several miles from our house. My dad and his sisters attended school there. When the school was closed in the late 50's the building became the hub for community activities ranging from serving as a voting precinct to the gathering place for many, many holiday get togethers, the grandest being the Con 6 Christmas Program. The faithful Con 6 Club ladies met monthly to organize these activities which were anything but mediocre. The dinners were served on white linen tablecloths with linen napkins. Emmense effort was put in every detail.


"The Con 6 Men's Quartet" consisted of (L-R) My Uncle Lloyd, our good friend and neighbor Bud, my dad, and our mailman, LeRoy. These guys could really sing. My dad and Bud can still carry a great tune. Uncle Lloyd and LeRoy have since passed on.
Those days were filled with wonder and excitement. It was a simpler time, a time I thought was gone forever. Well, I was wrong. Our daughter & son-in-law, and their three children have moved home from back east and are managing a portion of our ranching operation. They now live in a community much like the one I grew up knowing. The hub of their community revolves around a country church in the middle of nowhere...but don't let that fool you. The citizens in that area are many and they turn out religiously to celebrate holidays, assist those in need, and hold bake sales & auctions to raise money for missions, all with generosity and open arms.
Our kids had a house warming/ blessing this past week. Our family traveled over to this community to join in the celebration. It started with a meal of chili and stew, homemade cornbread, pies, and cakes at the country church and ended up with everyone traveling to their house where the minister blessed their home and family. It was a wonderful experience. Each visit to that community takes me back to a time I only thought had disappeared. I can't wait til next week-my daughter is in charge of the community Christmas Program. My contribution:
Making C-h-r-i-s-t-m-a-s letters.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Grateful

After venting in "Wasted" a voice of positive gratitude is in order. It's easy to complain about life's problems, it's a little harder to take the time to be thankful for what we are blessed with. I try to thank the Lord each day for all he's blessed me with. We're supposed to thank him for our trials too, those make us stronger. I have a hard time with that one, but that's what we are suppose to do...I'll try to do better.
I'm Grateful The Lord Has Given Me:
His grace, forgiveness, and mercy; Brad, my folks, my 94 year old grandmother Hazel, my kids, my sons and daughters-in-laws & their families, my 9 grandkids, our health, living in the U.S., being raised by christian parents & grandparents, our secretary-Linda, our abundant supply of food, my dishwasher, my washer and dryer, running water, Ronald Reagan, our great employees, the fact my house has heat in the winter & is cool in the summer, my church family, my vehicle and fuel to go in it, country churches, small town grocery stores, electricity, the fact that I can walk, talk and get around, laughter, small towns, big towns, beautiful sunsets, beautiful sunrises, pets, Marty Robbins & Johnny Horton, education, traveling, eating out, growing up in the 50's, being able to fix Thanksgiving dinner, having all our kids and grandkids living nearby, good preachers, good music and being able to sing along with it and listen to it, dreams, growing up country, good coffee, good tea, pumpkin pie, fresh water, Glenn Beck, books, thrift stores, babies, little kids and their great stories, big kids & any morsal of conversation they might share, old people and their great stories, people excited about life, weddings, good restaurants, being able to run, good running shoes, comfortable boots, swimming pools, having 8 years with my Aunt Mo, warm clothing & Cuddle duds, small town commitment and loyalty, our founding fathers, veterans, Woody Guthrie's ability to write great ballads, good teachers, good friends, good chocolate, horses, spring- summer- winter- fall, the Bible, good bread, hot springs, massages, pedicures & manicures and the people willing to give them, did I say living in America?, living in Kansas and getting to know and appreciate it, our banker, my sweeper, my Total Gym, the air I breath and life. These are just a few of the things that I'm thankful for. I would write more but he's given me a beautiful day to enjoy- Sunshine and No Wind!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stupid Human Tricks

This could have been far from funny, but we can look back and laugh now.
One hot summer afternoon my folks took my brother and I to the Little Sahara Sand Dunes, an area covered with acres and acres of sand used for recreational purposes. In the 60's the dunes didn't have much there. Today it's covered with dune buggies and thousands of people...I still haven't figured that out--what draws a person to want to get hot and sandy in the middle of the summer. Anyway, that day 40 plus years ago, my folks met another couple there and we had a picnic. This couple had no children and we soon became bored. The picnic area was a good distance from where the car was parked. After lunch we headed back to the car. The car was new and we were infatuated with its new unique gadget. We thought we'd go experiment with it. The push button trunk opener was one of the most amazing things we had seen. Being bored kids we weren't satisfied just popping it and shutting it, and popping it and shutting it, and popping it and shutting it. We decided to take turns getting into the trunk. I got in first. He shut the trunk and popped it. Out I came. Now it was his turn. He got in, I shut the trunk, pushed the button...nothing........nothing at all. I pushed and pushed. We had popped it one too many times. In a muffled voice he said, "Aren't you going to let me out?' I said, "Mont, it won't open." He frantically piped, "don't tease me." I told him I wasn't teasing. He began to scream, and kick and scream. That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do, leave him yelling and screaming locked in that sweltering trunk and run to get help. Today we both are claustrophobic.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wasted

I'm too simplistic. I like to see the big picture. I keep trying to paint one in my mind of what's going on. When an artist paints a landscape he needs a viewpoint. A viewpoint is the height from which the artist sees the subject they're painting. It determines where the horizon line is. A consistent horizon line is fundamental to accurate perspective. When I paint this picture in my mind there's no viewpoint, no consistent horizon, no perspective. It keeps resembling Evard Munch's painting " Scream." Does anyone else feel like the creature clutching his head in that strange picture?

I don't like to waste anything...you can ask my kids. If we had pot roast for supper you could bet that we'd be having roast beef sandwiches the next day and stew after that...and what wasn't eaten I froze. Discount stores were the norm, and the mall was pretty much off limits. I didn't have an outside job, (just a pretty intense inside one). That was my contribution to the family. For us it just made common sense to scrutinize every possible way to save a penny so I could stay home and raise our family.
In the past year I've watched dumb founded, at the lack of common sense and the " taste for waste" that is becoming the norm within our society.
The incidences I've personally encountered have become so numerous that I just decided to sit down and list them. My aggitation because of them has hit a crezendo.

I first witnessed willful slothfulness when I went to purchase a new pair of glasses last fall- just after the election and on the cusp of the first big government bailout. I sat in line for nearly two hours as I watched people in sloppy t-shirts, sweat pants and house shoes enter the office, wait maybe 10 minutes then waltz on back, government cards in hand, ahead of me. I didn't have a government "member's only" card. Don't get me wrong. I'd give you the shirt off my back if you asked me. But these people were rude and had an attitude of ingratitude. That incident got me going. My tax dollar was being wasted. Not only was I watching the government waste my tax dollar to pay for eye wear for individuals who hadn't had the gumption to get dressed before coming to town, I was also watching them pay off homes people had no business buying. All the while my kids and friends were struggling to pay off their home mortgages- husbands and wives both working their rear ends off to do so.

Another irritating waste problem concerns a water issue we've had for the past three years in a neighboring state. On our ranch which is located in this state, we have abundant water. Everyone wants that water, including a city that has been using it for years free of charge. We would like to have a little of it to irrigate an area of ground to raise alfalfa. Routine 8 hour round trips to the agency which decides the matter have resulted in us being ignored, lied to, threatened and told "no way-that area is over appropriated." A few months back I stumbled upon the fact that the city was knowingly wasting thousands of gallons of water a day because of old lines, and the agency which does the regulating was issuing permits all the while. That got me going too.

And yet more irritating tales. This summer we went through a fire on our ranch which destroyed over 50,000 acres of grass in our county. The outrageous encounters that came with the fire ended my naivete. During the days that followed the fire I was told by one government agency that no help could be expected for the fire victims-- urban areas only (i.e. New Orleans)- not rural, were the only ones that could seek assistance during a disaster. The director of that government agency asked me to help in gathering numbers on losses as he was understaffed. He also explained that his unit had to have two phone lines while in the fire field; one to orchestrate help for fighting the fire and one for reporting endangered wildlife species back to the main office. He was exasperated. After talking with that government agency I contacted another government agency asking questions about the cause of the fire. This conversation ended with the secretary of that government agency outraged at the director of the other government agency(which she had no affiliation with) all because he asked for my help. While these crazy conversations were taking place, over 50 local fire departments were doing all they could to keep the fire under control...until another government agency came to help...the head agency. This government agency insisted on pulling local fire fighters out of the field, away from fighting fire, to take inventory counts of all the firefighters. Local firefighters were exasperated when that help arrived. This was the same government agency that had earlier insisted on fighting with the other government agency.
Then to add insult to injury... A meeting was formed of all the landowners who had been affected by the fire. Another government agency attended that as well. They were there to help too. That meeting ended with an invitation to all of the farmers and ranchers in attendance who had lost cattle, fencing, houses, barns, and machinery to attend a Prescribed Burn Seminar??? And to add more insult to injury...that government agency director read the list of programs we could attend that coming Saturday. Among the list--- "Will Cedars Burn In July?????" Sound absurd? This is absolutely true.

And lately... While attending a serene place I go to escape from all of this waste and absurdity, I had yet another irritating encounter. A roaster full of chili which had been made to feed football boys wasn't used and was left in the refrigerator of this serene place. We don't have many helpers at this serene place. I usually make sure the frig is cleaned out there but I was gone for two weeks. On the second week when I returned and open the door I nearly fainted... the soup had rotted. Those who knew the soup had been left in the frig just shrugged and replied "Oh Well." $75.00 worth of chili wasted. My serenity disappeared.

And this weekend I attended yet another meeting where waste didn't seem to be a big deal. This group is in charge of the utilization of other people's money for an industry promotion. I learned at this meeting that an advertising project costing thousands of dollars had been scrapped because a few people were unhappy with it's results. A new and improved project would begin...utilizing someone else's money.

I'll say it again. I don't waste anything...even to a fault...just ask my kids. Maybe I learned it from my Grandad Lenard, who made soup out of nothing at all. Or maybe Brad's mom, Barb, who never let a bowl travel to the dishwasher without a good spatulan (cleaning every particle from a bowl with her signature spatula, old and slightly limp) Her frugality gave me a husband who never complains about what I serve, won't make a trip to town to buy a machinery part until he's exhausted every possibility of making the repair himself, and who's thrifty to a fault...just ask his kids.

I still can't explain what's going on in this world. But I think I'm finding my viewpoint. I just needed to get it off my chest and on paper. My horizon is a little more defined and my perspective a little clearer. I can sum it up now: I'm not going to stand for waste and I want answers to common sense questions. I'm tired of big government taking my tax dollars and putting it into the hands of people who lack the ability to use it wisely. I'm not going to back down, I'm going to keep voicing my opinions and offering my suggestions. I'd urge you to do the same.

I think Benjamin Franklin put it quite nicely.
"Waste neither time nor money, but make the best use of both. Without industriousness and frugality, nothing will do, and with them everything."

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Servant's Attitude

Once upon a time I had a friend named Maria. She helped me clean house. When we first met our friendship was instantaneous. I didn't speak her language and she didn't speak mine. But that communication barrier didn't bother us. We were from two different countries, two different churches, and two different cultures, but that didn't matter, come Friday we would hug each other like long lost sisters. Maria didn't have to speak English and I didn't have to speak her language for both of us to convey this message of friendship.
You see Maria was easy to befriend-- because of her gift. Maria loved to serve. She never tired of serving. Each week she couldn't wait to serve.
Maria never complained, never called in sick, was never rude, never mad, she was never slothful in her work, never insolent and she never gossiped about anybody... not to me anyway! I didn't have to tell her what to do, she always saw what needed to be done and jumped in. Often times she would bring me homemade goodies from her kitchen. She shared her food, her friendship, her all... wearing a beautiful smile every Friday.

I wish I was more like Maria, I wish there were more Marias in my life. I wish our country had more Marias. I wish our church had more Marias. I wish our government had more Marias.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Anyone can be great because anyone can serve."
Maria was great.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Nation Under GOD

As most of you know I'm a hard core conservative; 2nd amendment loving, state's rights believing, God fearing, Constitution upholding American. I am having trouble swallowing all of the ##*! that's being fed to us. While I'm thinking these thoughts, I call myself a Christian. I'm struggling with that too. How can I be a Christian and have such hateful thoughts towards other Americans? Last night the results of a House vote nudged us yet closer to a socialized nation. As that news flashed across my computer screen more hateful thoughts popped into my head.
I believe the Bible is God's instruction book for life. There is not a single question about life that's not answered there. This morning I sat down to read my Bible and the Lord opened it up to Psalms 37. I've read this many times before, but as usual, the scriptures don't always stick...that's why we have to read it daily. Here's what God says will happen. And he's in control-not me. I just have to keep reminding myself of that. I'm having trouble with the "be still", "don't fret" " "turn from wrath" and "wait patiently" parts.

Psalms 37

Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither,
like green plants they will soon die away.

3 Trust in the LORD and do good;
dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.

4 Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the LORD;
trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,
the justice of your cause like the noonday sun.

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;
do not fret when men succeed in their ways,
when they carry out their wicked schemes.

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;
do not fret—it leads only to evil.

9 For evil men will be cut off,
but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land.

10 A little while, and the wicked will be no more;
though you look for them, they will not be found.

11 But the meek will inherit the land
and enjoy great peace.

12 The wicked plot against the righteous
and gnash their teeth at them;

13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
for he knows their day is coming.

14 The wicked draw the sword
and bend the bow
to bring down the poor and needy,
to slay those whose ways are upright.

15 But their swords will pierce their own hearts,
and their bows will be broken.

16 Better the little that the righteous have
than the wealth of many wicked;

17 for the power of the wicked will be broken,
but the LORD upholds the righteous.

18 The days of the blameless are known to the LORD,
and their inheritance will endure forever.

19 In times of disaster they will not wither;
in days of famine they will enjoy plenty.

20 But the wicked will perish:
The LORD's enemies will be like the beauty of the fields,
they will vanish—vanish like smoke.

21 The wicked borrow and do not repay,
but the righteous give generously;

22 those the LORD blesses will inherit the land,
but those he curses will be cut off.

23 If the LORD delights in a man's way,
he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
for the LORD upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
or their children begging bread.

26 They are always generous and lend freely;
their children will be blessed.

27 Turn from evil and do good;
then you will dwell in the land forever.

28 For the LORD loves the just
and will not forsake his faithful ones.
They will be protected forever,
but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;

29 the righteous will inherit the land
and dwell in it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom,
and his tongue speaks what is just.

31 The law of his God is in his heart;
his feet do not slip.

32 The wicked lie in wait for the righteous,
seeking their very lives;

33 but the LORD will not leave them in their power
or let them be condemned when brought to trial.

34 Wait for the LORD
and keep his way.
He will exalt you to inherit the land;
when the wicked are cut off, you will see it.

35 I have seen a wicked and ruthless man
flourishing like a green tree in its native soil,

36 but he soon passed away and was no more;
though I looked for him, he could not be found.

37 Consider the blameless, observe the upright;
there is a future [b] for the man of peace.

38 But all sinners will be destroyed;
the future [c] of the wicked will be cut off.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD;
he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

40 The LORD helps them and delivers them;
he delivers them from the wicked and saves them,
because they take refuge in him.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Whoops


This weekend was our yearly revival. A preacher who pastored our church for over 14 years returns each fall with his wife and two grown sons who are now ministers and the three men hold a meeting. Our community loves their "homecoming" as many lives were touched while they lived here.
Rod is not only a great person, father, minister, and husband but is part comedian and has a great sense of humor. He won't mind me sharing this story with you...I'm pretty sure he won't?! ...Maybe he won't find it.
He and his wife had just moved to our community. The boys who were about 6 and 7 loved to come visit our ranch so Rod would bring them out to visit. On one occasion the threesome arrived with one of the boys wearing a cap they'd found along the road. Across the top of the navy blue cap- advertisement of "Mable's Whorehouse" printed in large white letters. My dad and mom didn't know what to do or say when they showed up at the house and the small boy was wearing the illicit hat. They didn't say anything.
Later that day they received a phone call from Rod's wife. Exasperated and apologizing. She said when her boys returned home she almost fainted. Besides being livid that he had let the boys pick up a hat along the side of the road and wear it, she sat amazed as Rod defended himself. He just couldn't figure out what the big deal was about letting their son wear a hat all over town that advertised "Mable's Warehouse" on it. Yep, he had let his youngest advertise old Mable's establishment all day long in and around our small town-thinking she sold tools.
My dad has never let him live that story down, and brings it up each year when they hold their meeting
That incident years ago didn't effect the poor guys preaching career. Tonight he shared a wonderful sermon charging us to rely on God during sufferings here on earth, and melodically recited this cute poem he had memorized.


Two frogs fell into a can of cream,

Or so I've heard it told;
The sides of the can were shiny and steep.
The cream was deep and cold.
"O, what's the use?" croaked No. 1.
"Tis fate; no help's around.
Goodbye, my friends! Goodbye, sad world!"
And weeping still, he drowned.
But Number 2, of sterner stuff,
Dog-paddled in surprise,
The while he wiped his creamy face
And dried his creamy eyes.
"I'll swim awhile, at least," he said-
Or so I've heard he said;
"It really wouldn't help the world
If one more frog were dead."
An hour or two he kicked and swam,
Not once he stopped to mutter,
But kicked and kicked and swam and kicked.
Then hopped out, via butter!
-T.C. Hamlet
Hebrews 12: 1-2: "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

When Irish Eyes Are...Laughing?...Jigging?

chainranchlady.com



My husband's family is Irish. This weekend we enjoyed a reunion of this robust, musical, borderline rowdy bunch. Descendants of 11 siblings- 8 boys, and 3 girls- whose legendary roots began when patriarch Augustus came over from Ireland in the early 1800's, met to carry on traditions such as the "Laughing Song" and "jigging" (an Irish dance which the 8 brothers performed throughout their lives). I had watched Brad's grandfather, W.S., perform this dance over 30 years ago at a reunion when he was about 70. This week I watched in amazement as a nephew of W.S. (a Dallas preacher in his 60's, who could also play the harmonica, bass guitar and sing) cut a rug once again.
Yesterday descendants reminisced as they viewed a film from the late 40's of the 8 brothers in their prime, enjoying life, each other, and this legendary dance. A circle of well dressed men (as in suits and ties) was formed by the 8 brothers. One brother would take center stage, do his best at jigging, then shuffle back in line, letting the next brother take a turn. It was a slow methodical extravaganza with each brother's dance a little different than the previous. In many ways it reminded me of the Irish Immigrant dance scene from the Titanic, but suited and a little less rowdy.
Memories of the "Laughing Song" included the fact that the brother's performances were improved after a trip to the trunk of their cars. Yesterday someone had a copy of the words so we gave it our best shot...no trips to the car--honest--cross my heart. It had everyone laughing...it's just an infectious song. Youtube it-George Johnson's Laughing Song. We think it must have originated here in the 1890's.
I'm mostly German. No "Laughing Songs" or jigging at our reunions. We eat, talk about the weather, the markets, and go home. I'm not complaining, that's all I knew...Until I married an Irishman.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

For He Will Give His Angels Charge Concerning You, To guard you in all your ways

Today I praise the Lord. We lost a calf, but it so easily could have been our oldest son. An electrical line that ran from our barn to an old branding shed had blown loose last night during a rain storm. We had just turned some calves out in the lot yesterday. Our son realized one of the calves was down so went to check on it. The calf was dead. He didn't notice the line, and went ahead and roped on to drag it off. It wasn't until he had secured the rope to the calf did he notice the line dangling. It was then that he realized it had been electrocuted. Luckily the breaker had blown when the calf touched it so it wasn't hot when our son was working with the calf.
I pray daily for the Lord to encamp his angels around my family. Thank You Lord
Psalms 34: 7; Psalms 91:11

A Trip To The Sale Barn

We sorted cattle last week and dropped by a local auction barn to check on an upcoming sale. Sale barns have been a part of my life. During earlier days most communities had a local sale barn. Today it's been whittled down to the "survival of the fittest." With auctions being offered via satellite and internet a lot of buyers go that route instead. I still love to visit them.

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Unloading cattle for the sale




The Auctioneer will auction from the center
as cattle are brought into the ring. Ring men
are located around the perimeter of the ring
taking bids.

Buyers are seated "theater fashion" and
bid in various ways; raising a finger, tipping
their hat, winking, nodding their head etc.
Seasoned buyers have a trademark bid that
the ring man will recognize.


Most sale barns have a cafe, but most are not
this nice and clean.



The homemade pies here were hard to pass up

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Naked and Hungry

AG PRODUCERS...Check out HSUS' 100 point Change AGENDA FOR ANIMALS. It includes a White House Animal Protection Liaison appointee (such as Carol Browner...read link below) and also within their site--our President promoting their agenda. Couple this with more White House Socialist minded czar appointees, and the handwriting's not too hard to read. I urge all of you to join Barbara Jacques and I in boycotting ABC CBS NBC CNN (they've been banned from my home for the past year) These news outlets have been relentless in portraying ag producers in a very negative light. No one else will fight this battle for us. It's up to us to let citizens know that...COLD, NAKED and HUNGRY is what WE ALL WILL BE without AG. I say WILL because these liberal efforts at AG destruction so far is succeeding; for instance the success of HSUS in banning horse slaughter or HR 503/s.727. For those of you that don't know, this has devastated not only the horse industry as a whole but the poor horses as well; there is now no market for old horses so many are left starving along roadsides, in peoples pastures without water, etc because of the owner's inability to feed them. For non producers information; the HSUS is the Humane Society of the United States. You see their ads asking for 19.00 to save an abused animal. This is not your local pet shelter. A good portion of that money goes to legislate ag producers out of business. Their main objective is to put an end to Animal Agriculture.
Please Pass This On and Please read the article on Carol Browner...it gives you a glimpse of the ideology guiding this administration.
Andy

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Biting The Hand That Feeds You

I received this email from a great friend and fellow agriculture producer this morning. I want to get her message out all across the nation: What I want the citizens of our great nation to gleen...NAKED, HUNGRY, AND COLD-THAT'S WHAT YOU'D BE WITHOUT AG! (The news channels listed have been banned from my house for over year)

TIRED OF HOLLYWOOD!

I am fed up! Last night, the show CSI Miami was the straw that broke the camel's back! This show depicted American farmers and ranchers as evil crooks who cared nothing about human life, only money. They showed cattle standing in sewage that drained onto crops and killed people with E.coli. Another victim died of botulism from an ear of corn that had been genetically modified. They had it all, including cover-ups and even stealing land from a poor family farmer. One of the lines in the script stated how ignorant and uneducated rural people are. The show ended with all the CSI agents going home and tending their organic gardens and raising their own food. There was not one accurate detail in this show. It was all propaganda.

This comes on the heels of The Larry King Show on CNN last week as well as multiple hits by the media who has used the full range of lies and false information to slam American agriculture. Articles by the New York Times and Time Magazine, and the movie Food Inc are just a few examples. They are trying to upset the balance of our world food supply and they are so arrogant they don’t realize the devastation they are bringing about for our nation and the world. If they actually wanted to make a difference they could have easily worked in some information on food safety. This actually would have been very helpful and would have done some good. Nothing like this was mentioned in any of the articles or shows.

I may be one of those ignorant rural people, but I AM SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW that I don’t have to watch their networks any longer. NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN will NOT be airing in this household ANY LONGER! Trust me, life will go on without their daily dose of propaganda.

Hollywood has been trying their best to teach our children to be shallow, greedy, violent, and void of any morals what so ever. Here are some suggestions for shows that I would like to see on TV. I want to see a show on the hundreds of young people that die each year from eating disorders because they think they need to look like a movie star. I want to see a show exposing the numbers of deaths that could be credited to the violence that Hollywood feeds our children on a daily basis. I would like a show exposing how many illegitimate children are born each day because Hollywood has taught our children that it is cool to have casual sex. The sequel can be a show about the spread of HIV and how many people die each day from that disease. Let’s talk about substance abuse, and how “the stars” have taught our society that it must be okay because they drink and take drugs all the time with no
consequences. But let’s be very clear….….it is not about the money.

For those of you who are not involved in agriculture, it is very doubtful that you have any idea of the battles that are fought every single day in order for you to have food on your plate. I hope you will take a stand against the garbage that these networks are feeding to us and to our families. PLEASE TAKE A STAND AND TURN TO A CHANNEL OTHER THAN CBS, CNN, NBC, OR ABC!!!! It may surprise you how little you miss them!
Barbara Jacques

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Glamor On The Farm? Forget It

Mud, dogs, dog poop, cats, cat poop, more dogs, neighbor’s dogs, horse manure, cow manure, wet dogs. Ranch life pleasures are innumerable, but these things are sometimes hard to appreciate.
It had finally gone on sale. The cute little floral print dress I’d been eying, in my favorite clothing catalog for the past six months was on sale. Visions of wearing it to town...away from dogs and other varmints, mud and excretions, danced in my head. I quickly called in my order knowing that if I waited too long my size might be gone. I had a small problem, my husband and I would be leaving on Saturday to visit our daughter and son-in-law and wouldn’t be back for several days. I wanted that dress. I placed the order, relieved that the order taker promised a three day arrival...Friday. That would work. Friday arrived, no dress. No problem. I’ll leave the UPS man a great big note on our back door with great big explicit directions to leave the box inside our unlocked house. Neighbors, kids, family and friends were alerted to watch for the cargo.
When I returned home, I anxiously looked for the UPS box. I searched the back porch, the back entry hall, the pantry, kitchen...nothing. I called all alertees inquiring about the package. They had seen nothing. I called the company. It had gone out as planned and I should have received it by now. Several weeks went by, and the dress fetish relinquished..
One cold afternoon with temperatures in the teens and snow blowing, I pulled out of our driveway to go to town. As I drove out I noticed a lifeless, frozen, snow covered heap in my front yard. I stopped and made my way to the middle of the yard. Brushing the fresh snow away revealed a box covered not only with frozen snow, but frozen poop as well. Stuck like super glue to the ground was a box. It wouldn’t budge. I kicked it hard prying it loose. The return address: J.Jill Inc. My dress! So much for the UPS man’s direction taking. After some questioning I found out he had left the package on a bench under our carport. Lilly, our Old English Sheepdog thought he'd left it for her. The company sent a new dress, free of charge. Lilly would end up destroying that one too. Washing instructions recommended; hand washable, line dry. So I hung it on the line...for her amusement she thought. I would later find it ripped and tattered...once again in the yard. Glamor on the farm? I'm having trouble finding it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Enter At Your Own Risk


This could have been the day...

My Grandad Lenard built the house we live in, around 1930. My husband, Brad is convinced he got up one morning, stepped it off and built it- absent a tape measure. Nothing is level. This has never bothered me, but he’s more of a perfectionist when it comes to which way spilled milk flows. We’re always working on it. On doors, on stools, on leaky ceilings, etc. etc. etc. It’s always something. But we love it.

A beautiful purple glass knob graced the door of one our bathrooms…most of the time. There was a certain way to open and close that door or the handle would fall apart leaving you stuck in the bathroom with one piece in your hand and the other on the floor outside the door. You pretty much had to be a family member to know the combination.

This booby trap bathroom was located in a remote area of our house. If you became trapped and everyone moved on to the north end of the house out of ear reach, you were pretty much on your own until someone noticed you were missing.

The Schwan’s man didn’t know the combination. Late one afternoon while fixing supper for a houseful of kids; my four and several friends and cousins, he made the mistake of asking to use the restroom. Dodging kids, noise level a low roar, I absent mindedly nod towards the hallway. That was the last I saw of him… I forgot all about him. We all moved into the north side of the house, far, far away from the remote bathroom location. Coming back into the kitchen about twenty minutes later to check on supper, I heard a faint knock coming from the hallway. I was stricken. I was so embarrassed I couldn’t go get him out. I can’t remember which kid released him, but he escaped unharmed. I said I never saw him again. I literally didn’t. He never came back.

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Today Was America

Today was America.
I spent the first half of my day traveling over two hours to a small sleepy town in Kansas to attend a Cowboy Story Teller’s of the Western Plains meeting with my dad. He’s the president and has been for over 12 years. And me...I’m the treasurer, a job I acquired one day when I rode with him to their “folding” meeting. That was three years ago. That day I urged them not to terminate their group. Well, now I’m the treasurer. This organization was founded over 20 years ago by a group of people that didn’t want their family’s stories to die. Today there are many, “empty saddles” in the original group. But new members perpetually regenerate. As members gather, concerns for a country gone awry can be overheard. The meeting begins with a prayer giving thanks to our God for the day, our freedom, the food, safe trips to and from, and guidance for our country. A small unorganized board meeting takes place and accolades to an 87 year old member who has mapped the Chisholm Trail and erected markers all across the state is given. As the afternoon rolls on stories, poems, singing and banjo picking permeate the community center... a ninety year old woman relating stories of her childhood, the great grandson of an 1890 homesteader giving a power point of his roots, a beautiful young family of 8 singing Christian hymns, a young mother reciting original poetry about her Grandpa’s spurs as her three year old son looks on adoringly, a cowboy reciting a poem written during the Dust Bowl entitled "Dust On The Bible" and two awesome yodelers yodeling.
The evening finds us in another county in another state 130 miles away. My dad had received a county award and we meet family members there to celebrate. Five members of our county were inducted into the county Hall of Fame. The banquet begins with some unorganized shifting of tables, plates, and people, group singing of "God Bless America", and a local minister expressing concern for a country gone awry as he gives thanks to God for the day, our freedom, the food, and safe trips to and from and guidance for our country. The five honoree's biographies are read, each one giving God the credit for their successful lives. The end to a perfect day...facing a large wall hung U.S. flag crocheted by the 87 year old father of one of the hostesses, the crowd begins to stand, one by one, hearts crossed, as a talented young man sings, "I'm Proud To Be An American."
Today was America, let's pray she doesn’t change.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An Exposition Expedition

I rode my dirt bike yesterday. I’m having a foot problem and can’t run, so it felt really good to ride. I left, I thought, early enough to make it into town for evening church. I put on my spandex…a disgusting sight I’m sure for anyone who gets a glimpse, but you have to wear them; baggy, loose clothing gets tangled up in the bicycle spokes. Around the neck of my bike, I carefully duct taped a change of clothes; something decent to put on when I got to church, stuck some toiletries and my cell phone in the zippered pouch beneath the seat, filled my water bottle and headed off to town. It’s 15 miles, counting the back dirt roads I take to keep lurking eyes off my seeping spandex. It was a great trip for the first 9 miles or so- only one vehicle. I know the neighbors along this route and feel safe as I ride along. Our church is located in a small town situated next to a large state lake, the back road I take ends next to the lake and is paved from the lake into town. This route too used to be a wonderful, quiet drive, ride, run or walk in 2007 B.C...Before Casino. It's opening put an end to my quiet, safe, retreat, turning it into a small city complete with a Wal-Mart type parking lot and everything that comes with one…use your imagination. When I reach casino proximity the landscape quickly changes from fields of sunflowers, cattle and milo to toothless, red-faced Dastardly/ Muttley looking types slowing down to gawk (at the spandex seepage I’m sure), rolling their windows down to laugh and share crazy statements with me. “Why in the world can’t there be a dirt road that runs completely to town?” I think to myself.
Naked. That’s how I felt. It reminded me of my first triathlon. During a triathlon there are stations. First you swim, then you bike, then you run. You make sure before you start the race that all of your equipment is laid out at each station, ready to put on for the next leg of your race. Brad was my cheerleader/coach. We had driven three hours so I could participate. However, when I got there, I lost all confidence as I watched sleek, smooth swimmers American Crawling back and forth across the pool. I wanted to turn around and go home, but he wouldn’t let me. I was relieved when my turn was getting closer as the strokes of the swimmers began to resemble mine. I agreed to complete the race and timidly slipped into the water with goggles and swim cap (an alluring sight) dog paddling off. I finished my swim, ran to the next station, dried off, jumped on my bike and rode the distance down a quiet road...with no audience. I then came into the final station to finish the last leg of the race; a 5 K run. The running course took us on a trail that ran alongside an interstate. As I transitioned from bike to running I realized my shorts were missing (due to a lack of communication with Brad who had helped me lay out my belongings). As I looked frantically for them, the transition person was yelling “Go...Go…Go!” I looked down at my legs, looked up at him, looked down again. In the distance I could hear Brad yelling “GO. GO!” I took off…lumbering along I -35 in my birthday suit, or so it seemed to me; cars whizzing by with curious gawks and stares. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that written in Sharpie up and down the length of one arm and leg is a large number, your entry number. Anyway "exposed" I felt that same way yesterday as I rode the last leg of my trip to church… in spandex.
As I awkwardly struggled to climb the last few hills that led into town, it was hard to hide my face from several couples I knew who passed me on Harleys. I made it to church... 30 minutes late... without my shirt, the one I'd carefully duct taped on. I slipped quietly inside while unpretentious and forgiving members glanced back and smiled. I headed for the kid’s class to dig for a “paint shirt” to cover my seeping spandex. Exhilarated I sat solitaire in the nursery listening to the tail end of the preacher’s sermon, thinking to myself that I should probably leave 30 minutes earlier next Sunday and use more duct tape.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Summer Of Our Discontentment...or Discouragement...or Dismay...or Devastation...


The fire started July 10th. We are still shifting cattle around, fixing fence, and rebuilding.


Thousands of acres of grass was destroyed in the fire not to mention buildings, fences machinery, homes and cattle. Thank the Lord, no loss of lives.

The Lord Blessed Us With Rain All Summer Long

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

It's For Cetain







My Grandad Lenard always looked forward to this site-the equinox. Every September 20th or 21st you could count on the sun setting on the highway that runs in front of our houses...just like clockwork. Today nothing is certain, actually life has never been certain, but today's problems seem to be a little more haywire. But one thing is certain, we serve a Big God, and he's in control of all things.
"Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account." 1Thes. 3:15



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Friday, August 7, 2009

Waste Not Want Not?

Common Sense? I'm wondering if that term will soon be erased from our vocabulary. My eldest son just called and was sharing his thoughts on a trip to eastern Kansas he had taken with his granddad. They went to ship cattle. Have you heard of the Wild Horse Program? It's a very lucrative business. The government pays a land owner so much a head a day to run a wild horse for the duration of its life. Thanks to animal nurturing groups like the HSUS (Humane Society of the U.S.) laws were passed to stop horse slaughter. Animal activists won. Sadly the horses lost. Nature's perfect balance of supply and demand had, for years, kept old horses slaughtered and young horses utilized. Results of their supply and demand tampering: a horse market crash. Today you can barely give one away. For the past few years horse owners have been leaving their horses at sale barns, in ditches, in other people's yards and pastures, turning them out on Bureau of Land Management Land with no water etc. Emaciated horses have become a common sight around the country. Horse owners simply can't afford to feed them. Today my son witnessed absurdety. On one side of a country road tall, green lush grass a head tall covered a large pasture. That land belonged to the U.S. government. On the other side of the road a large track of privately owned land with around a thousand wild horses grazing on it. The government pays the owners of that land a daily fee to run a horse; an average of around $29,000.00/head/life of each horse. Go figure... someone better because the government isn't. And they want to manage our health care system and auto industry...and lives!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mama Mia...Make Me Over

Most of my life is spent in blue jeans, overalls, or running shorts and tennis shoes. I know, I should try to work a decent wardrobe into my daily routine here on the ranch, but it never fails that when I go to exceptional lengths to look nice, I end up having to drag around in a dirty pickup, drive a tractor, chase a horse or cow or whatever. It just doesn't work. So I'm definitely not a clothes horse. I never know exactly what to wear when I have to go to a special function with people from the outside world. I've had a terrible bone spur on my heel and yesterday bought some of those rocking orthopedic old people's shoes...in white. I didn't care. At least maybe my foot wouldn't hurt. Today when I left for OKC to attend the MBA class I still didn't care what I looked like, my foot hurt so bad. I wore the white orthopedic old people's shoes that rock and some blue jeans and a T-shirt. I forgot it was Commencement for the MBA program...until I saw everyone else in nice slacks, suits, etc. To make matters worse we had to get up in front of everyone in attendance...mostly professionals, and be interviewed by another professional... while being filmed. Humiliation doesn't describe it. It wasn't until I got up to be interviewed that I became accutely aware of my lack of taste in clothing. I suddenly felt like Elly May and Granny Clampett, mixed with Daisy Duke and Ma Kettle. To top it off my knees started shaking which accelerated the rocking motion of my white orthopedic old people's shoes. Answers to the questions the interviewer asked in front of the pained crowd seemed as difficult for me to decipher as a calculus problem. All I could concentrate on was not getting sea sick in my shoes. The poor interviewer was as pained as I was.
Afterwards, I went to the mall and wondered around. I'm just not a shopper but decided it wouldn't hurt to look. As I passed a very nice clothing store I stopped to take a look at the $9 shirts they had on a sale rack...my kind of price. As I stepped inside, the owner, a small dark lady with an Italian accent began telling me that I needed a makeover. "Do's jeeeens must go, dey have been out of style fo yeers... and oh my "de hair neeeeds cut." Talk about adding insult to injury. Well, I stayed and let her make me over. I won't tell you what that cost. More than the white rocking orthopedic old people's shoes.

Summer Time and the Living is easy??!!...NOT.

Wow, a lot has happened in a month. The fire situation is still a priority, but we are almost finished moving the cattle around to new homes. I have learned more than I ever wanted to know about the FSA, NRCS, EMS, OSBI, OSFMA and didn't know there were so many ways you could figure a grass lease. It has been an unusual learning experience. I will say it again...God has a plan.

We lost a great friend this month. A.J. Smith, editor of the Oklahoma Cowman passed away at the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Convention. He was a very special person that will be missed by so many.

I just returned home from OKC. A group of us finished up the Master's of Beef Advocacy Program sponsored by the National Cattlemen's Association/Cattlemen's Beef Board. It's a great program focused on promoting the beef industry via the media.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

He's Answering Prayers

Back from the fires again. They were billowing again, but not nearly as bad. I contacted the Emergency Management Director today to see if there was anything being done about assistance for those who lost grass, cattle, etc. He was exasperated and said that more less the Federal Government is denying any help for rural disasters. He said he had been taking up donations for some of the county firefighters that were running short of supplies. He said it was just ridiculous what has happened since the new administration has taken over. He asked me to spearhead an effort to gather information on all those that had losses. There were around 40 landowners and nearly 60,000 acres destroyed so far. Cattle losses aren't as bad as you'd think, but I'm not finished gathering info either. The bright side...I got to meet or talk to all of my neighbors in the Valley! That was kind of neat. There will be a silver lining in all of this, it may be years, but I know God has a plan! We found grass in eastern Oklahoma!

Monday, July 13, 2009

And The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Today I noticed two headlines side by side: Green Jobs On Increase According to White House, and Studies Show Swearing Is Healthy, Less Stress. Those headlines made me cringe. What emptiness we've created.
Green jobs will probably increase in the coming years. I wish someone could please explain just how those jobs will be substantiated. How can green jobs be created while the fundamental cogs of our nations gears are being left to rust...Agriculture and Small Businesses? Swearing might feel good when you let an expletive rip, but what did it ultimately gain?
The Bible tells about the wise man who built his house upon solid rock and the foolish man who built his on sand. The house built on solid rock stood firm. Today's liberal society has cleverly lured us onto shifting sand and many Americans have blindly built their homes there, unaware of the consequences. Satan is the great deceiver and an old hand at enticement.
How can a nation so deceived carry on much longer? A nation whose president refuses to acknowledge God; removing religious symbols from sight when delivering hollow speeches, upholding Muslims while denying America's Christianity, ignoring and even disdaining what created America.
The Bible is clear. They will not stand.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Got Grass?

Just got back from the fires. We hauled hay and feed blocks to the cattle we've gathered, and are holding in safe places, until we can get them to grass. We are looking for grass for around 350+ head. If you know of any please send me an email. Just watched the news and they reported that the fire could go on for days. Now I know what the people in California feel like each summer.

Burning Cheyenne Valley

What a week. On Friday a spark started from a transformer caught a pasture on fire one mile north of Chester. That fire ended up destroying thousands of acres of land...including the Cheyenne Valley Ranch which lays about 15 miles north of Chester. We were blessed though. We got most of our cows out. There are some cows still bawling, we may have lost their calves...we'll know more tomorrow or the next day. The old ranch house we had remodeled was not damaged. The fire came right up to it. Three firetrucks were there to stop it. Firefighters from all over Oklahoma are still out there as the fire was still moving north, or it was last night It has probably crossed 412 which is between Orienta and Bouse Junction south of Waynoka. If it did they said it would be extremely hard to contain as there are no access roads, just large pastures.
Friday went like this: I went outside to go to the office and looked north, I noticed smoke and worried about my brother who was bulldozing north of our house. I called him and he was O.K. Our son-in-law Matt that moved home from D.C. is now a volunteer firefighter in Dewey County. He got word that the fire was at Chester. He and Brad went on to check it out and Newley and my two oldest grandsons and I stayed behind to watch some cattle sell on Superior Livestock auction that we were wanting to purchase...good thing we didn't get them! After the sale we looked out north, it looked like an atomic explosion. We jumped in the pickup and headed out. By the time we got out there it had gotten to the ranch and had burned everything in its path as the humidity was low and south winds were blowing pretty hard. We drive up and Brad and Matt are on top of a hill that overlooks the ranch and the cemetary where Brad's family are buried, they watched as flames engulfed everything ... the cemetary, grass, fences, cedar trees (which is a blessing in disquise.) I cry and Brad says, "it will all be O.K., the Lord is in control." Brad was being very cautious about sending anyone out to get the cattle. About 30 years ago he had been in a tractor that stalled in a bad fire at our Corwin ranch, he knew what it felt like to be trapped and did not want to put anyone in danger...however when Newley saw the enormity of the fire he transformed into Mighty Mouse and got in the middle of it all. He jumped into the feedtruck with Nick our hired man and headed out to try and call the cows out of the pastures. I got Trystin and Brock together and we had a prayer for them and I started driving back south away from the fire. About that time Newley calls and tells me to come back, "Take the white rock road north and help us move these cattle out." He couldn't get ahold of Brad...his cell phone is dead. To the west I see flames shooting and the smoke is terrible. I hurriedly turn back around and as I travel north I approach an intersection where there is a congregation of parked vehicles, one being a sherrif's pickup. I tell the boys to get out and get in with the sherrif. As they get out Trystin questions my decision and says, "What if they won't keep us?" I say, "JUST GET OUT AND GET IN ONE OF THOSE VEHICLES." and I drive away into the smoke. In a minute I see flashing lights and the sherrif on my tail...He stops me (in the middle of nowhere!) and tells me he has an emergency on his hands and he can't watch those boys. OH REALLY??!!!! I tell him I know there's an emergency and explain that we are trying to get our cattle out of that pasture and my son needs my help. I drive off to help Newley. The boys were safe. The other vehicles had neighbors that I knew in them. Anyway we didn't go to bed all Friday night, gathered more cattle on Saturday and helped neighbors gather theirs. Morey said there probably hasn't been this much excitement in Cheyenne Valley since the Landrun. Last night we got to come home and clean up. I've never been so glad to get a bath! Just got off the phone, and the fire is raging again. Pray for everyone involved.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Communication Plus


It's always nice to have the youth visit. This 4-H group from Pennsylvania was part of an exchange program with several of our local counties.



Communication. It's so important. I think of uncomfortable, sad, confusing occasions resulting because of its absence. I can remember the time Brad received a phone call to serve as a pall bearer at a funeral. The person on the other end asked if he would serve as a pall bearer for their mother. Brad agreed, no questions asked. After the call we both discussed who this person might be and decided maybe we would recognize people when we got to the service. Brad lost his parents and the genealogy of his family has some holes in it, so occasionally we are in question of our relationship to certain people, and we have no immediate family to ask. We attended the service, he served as pall bearer but because of poor communication, we were never sure for who!

Then there was yesterday. My dad loves animals...dogs, cats, birds, horses, you name it he loves it. A mother Kildee had laid her eggs in our son's driveway and he had placed an old cream can next to it so people wouldn't drive over them. He told my son about the eggs, but no one else. I drove in last week and questioned Newley, our son, if I needed to move the can. He explained the Kildee situation, so I left it. A large group of 4-Hers were coming to our place, destination for their noon meal was our barn. Their route; through Newley's driveway. My dad and I drove up to turn into the driveway to our barn to meet the group. We commented as we drove in the driveway about the crowd that was there, 30 or so people were gathered. Suddenly he asked me, "Where's the cream can?" I had forgotten about it. As we approached, a good protion of the group was standing on the location of the nest. My dad asked one of the 4-Hers about the cream can explaining it was protecting Kildee eggs. One of the boys said he'd moved the can afraid that someone might run over it. Everyone immediately started looking around for the eggs. At the feet of one of the boys the three eggs lay in pieces. I thought my dad was going to cry...I almost did. Everyone felt terrible. The mother bird was screaming and fluffing her feathers. We were all sad...because of poor communication.

This morning I read the story of Jacob, Rachel and Leah. Lack of communication left Jacob waiting another 7 years for Rachel's hand. He had to marry Leah, who was older and not his true love, first. I wondered as I read the story if Jacob ever questioned his communication ability asking himself, "Shoot, why didn't I check this out 7 years ago."
As I get older I've learned to never assume anything, don't be afraid to ask questions and life is simpler, happier and more productive if you make communication a priority.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Punkin Ridge

Today I swept the old white one room schoolhouse my mom and dad moved onto our property about 15 years ago. Punkin Ridge had been left to deteriorate on one of our places but my folks decided to salvage it. My grandfather Lenard, my dad's dad, used to tell about watching his first motion picture there. Today visitors- mostly past reminiscing students-enjoy coming by and telling about the time when...
The old schoolhouse stands neglected much of the time, but tomorrow a bus load of Pennsylvania 4-Hers are coming to visit our place and the school house is one of the stops. Today I sweep the dust from deep crevices in the rough hard wood floor, some of that dust probably tracked in from my grandad's shoes as a little boy, I think to myself. As I sweep, I catch a glimpse of my 11 year old grandson through the tall glass paned windows. Trystin's job today is to mow the large lawn the surrounds the Punkin Ridge and our family cemetary . My grandparents are buried there. I watch as he stops the mower, gets off and starts to carefully pull weeds from around his great-great grandparent's headstones. A feeling I've not experienced consumes me. Overwhelming gratitude and humbleness. I thank my Lord for this moment and the life I've been blessed to live.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Liberty Lost?

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," "Give me liberty or give me death," Lady liberty. LIBERTY. What is it? Do we know or care? Webster defines it as: the quality or state of being free, the power to do as one pleases, freedom from physical restraint, freedom from arbitrary or despotic control, the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges, and the power of choice. Like a spoiled child tiring of a new toy doll, I had used her and tossed her aside. I didn't purchase her, someone else had and I haven't been taking very good care of her. I had taken her for granted. Thanks to over 40 million men and women who fought for her, she was given to me as a gift. Because of that gift I can fear God and keep his commandments, pack a pistol, speak my mind, run MY business, vote and make a difference;drive the car I choose, to the bank I choose, to get money I earned, to purchase food I like to eat, then visit the doctor I prefer. Until now I have been able to do pretty much what I wanted (within reason).
For the past 8 months or so I've decided to pay a little more attention to her, take better care of her realizing her value. Her price: over a million patriots. Since January I can feel her being pulled from my hands, but the spoiled kid in me is coming out. You'll have to fight to take her away. I've reclaimed her and I think she's pretty special.
P.S. If you don't know what despotic means I looked it up for us...it's the opposite of LIBERTY. A ruler with absolute power and authority, a person exercising power tyrannically.

P.S.S...and if you don't know what arbitrary means I looked that up too. Yep...opposite of LIBERTY.
Not restrained or limited in the exercise of power: ruling by absolute authority, an "arbitrary" government, marked by or resulting from the unrestrained and often tyrannical exercise of power.

P.S.S.S. If you haven't gotten involved in one of the Conservative groups fighting for her I would suggests the 9-12 Project and American Majority. They hold meetings across the nation. In Oklahoma there are several chapters.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Directions...Not My Speciality

I just thought I was dragging last week. Saturday and Sunday were busy and I thought I was going to get to turn in early last night. Nope. Brad checked the alfalfa about 8:00 p.m. and said he thought it was ready to bale. I rake...about twice a year.When we got to the field he got in my tractor (the one I drove two years ago) to refresh my knowledge of knobs. His directions: "O.K. you remember this knob does this and that one does that," and got out. I thought to myself, " And you probably know how to thread my serger, don't you?" I didn't say anything, but tried to go over in my mind the instructions he'd given me. By now it's dark. His directions for following the swathed trails are pretty much the same, "Just follow this path (what path??) until you get down there to that tree (what tree, it's dark??) and turn right, then you may have to swing back and pick up that other part... blah, blah, blah." The directions made absolutely no sense to me...but I didn't say a word. I just nodded "yes" and did my best. This morning when we went back to finish up, my nocturnal inattention to details was evident.
Another puzzling activity we do every summer that involves directions from my husband is the: "You Take Me Over To The Smith Place I'll Road This Tractor Back to the Ford Place You Take The Chevy Pickup Go Home and Come Back Then I'll Take This Tractor With the Baler Back to Canton We'll Both Get Back In The Tractor Sit For a While Then We'll Road It Back Home Again." On those days I need a road map explaining what's on his mind.
I was so confused Saturday night that I left him in the field until 11:00 p.m. He called and said I was suppose to have picked him up at 8:30 p.m. When he called I felt like I was on Jeopardy. "Where did I ask you to take the pickup?" Da,Da,Da,Da,Da,Da Daaa, Da, Da,Da,Da, Da,dadadadada...just before the buzzer, I answer "What is the Haskin's Place? "Yes." he said (whew, got that one right!) "Now where did I tell you to go after that?" " What is Home?" I say. BEEEEEP (whoops, got that one wrong) "No, that's not what I said, I wanted you to come back and get me." he said. At that point he asked me, "Where am I now?"... I said with weak uncertainty " What is The Humphrey Place?" "Yes." he said in an exasperated voice, "Now can you come and get me?" I did, with many apologies.
No chance of a "Returning Direction Taking Champ" title for me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Makin Fun Out of Nothin At All

At an early age I wanted to go with the guys to "pull a calf" ("deliver a baby" in ranch terms), round up cattle or just ride in the pickup while my dad cut open gunny sacks full of "cow cake" ("food for the cattle" in ranch terms) shaking it out of the back of a slow moving vehicle put in "granny" (low gear)....I pretended I was driving the 1954 Ford. I absolutely loved doing this and would get in with anyone that was going through our driveway. My favorite past time when left in our feed truck for long periods of time was to get into the steering wheel draping my legs through the open spaces, grasp the top of the wheel and swing it from side to side. I would also analyze all of the knobs and buttons on the dashboard. I can still remember what the dashboard of the feed truck looked like.
I said I would get in with anyone that would take me. My mom told of a time I got in with the hired man at the age of 2 or so and went with him 45 miles to one of our other places. No one knew where I'd gone. Finally, Ella, the hired man's wife from the other place called and said I'd gotten in with Iman and was over at Lenora. Iman was our hired man and my best friend. He worked for us for the next 15 years.
Other times I enjoyed studying the dashboard of the truck was when I would go out with the guys to a place we leased in Cheyenne Valley and wait while they rounded up cattle. There were large Diamond Back rattlesnakes on that place and my dad would warn me not to get out of the truck. That terrified me so I would roll the windows up and wait. I know I probably shouldn't be alive today because it probably got over 115 degrees in there! My husband's family bought that ranch after we leased it in the 1960's. We didn't know each other then, but today he and I own it and we still go out there. Diamond Backs still call it home and when we're out there and I'm left in the pickup for extended periods of time I still keep my windows rolled up...with the air conditioner running and study the dashboard.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blessings In Small Packages

It's been a busy week. Worked at my daughters flower shop on Wednesday. I'm dragging. Wheat harvest has officially ended tonight. We are still baling/swathing hay and cutting canola. Meals are still going out to the field... they're getting skimpier. We celebrated Malachi Mahan's birthday last night with around 20 familiy members showing up to swim, eat hamburgers, cake and ice cream. Malachi is one of our grandsons that, until recently, had been living in a cubicle in the Washington D.C. area among the other 9 million people...with a yard the size of my bathroom. His family had the opportunity to move back home and start working on the ranch, so this guy is excited everyday about being on the farm! This morning he walked with me over to our office which is next door to our house. I commented on the fact that it was getting dry and I wished the Lord would bless us with a little rain. He said, "He will Drammaw Andy, you just have to be patient." From the mouths of babes...


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Cyclone Back to Oz

Got back last night from Kansas, then had to turn around and go back again today by myself.
Brad, my husband, is a pilot. He offered to take me...but I don't fly. He is continually telling me how much time could be saved if only I would fly. It's not that I don't trust him...I don't trust gravity. The extra trip was to take more water resource info to our lawyer. We had been gathering affidavits, etc for over two years and our file was huge. My house was teaming with activity; grandkids were swimming, I was making trips back and forth to our office which is next to our home, people were in and out of the office, the phone was ringing off the wall and harvest men were needing fed. Finding an opening to exit, I grabbed my purse and headed to Medicine Lodge, KS. At Seiling, which is 10 miles from our home, I realized my reason for going had been left behind...but where? Almost in tears I called home and told Brad I thought I left the file on top of the car and I bet those papers were scattered all over Dewey County. A flashback of the time I left my purse on top of our car and drove around with it on top came to mind. I turned around and headed back. Brad left our house and headed towards town to check for flying papers. No sign of them. That was a relief. I must have left them in the chair by the door. Sure enough they were there. I was 30 minutes late for my appointment, but I had my stuff...The Lord Takes Good Care of Me...someone has to!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Back From Oz

Kansas is an interesting state. I lived there for 10 years and there is a definitive difference once you cross the line. Today the thing that caught my attention...you can sit in the middle of a state highway; one that was once paved with asphalt, but has now been resurfaced with DIRT, for over 30 minutes and talk to the driver in the other lane and never have to move. It's always interesting.

Cutting Wheat

We're in the fields cutting wheat. We do this every year and it usually takes almost a month. We feed the men, most always taking the meal to the field they are cutting in. It really is kind of fun. Everyone is working together during this time. My mother, my sister-in-law, and my daughters and daughters- in- laws always help. Today I won't help, I have to go to Medicine Lodge, KS. to take care of water issues we are having on the ranch up there. It's a two hour drive. It's usually late when we get back from a Kansas trip. Gotta go, my son's honking.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day

Today is father's day. My dad is 82 years old, and has been a great father. He is the patriarch of our family. He has built our ranching operation, along with the help of my husband and brother, that today supports our family and 12 employees and their families. I' m having lunch today to honor all the dads in our large family. There will probably be around 25 of us if everyone shows up. We're having Mexican Fiesta. It's easy to fix for a large group.
Better get moving, got to help with Sunday School Class in 1 hour.
Mexican Fiesta
Chili(made with ground beef, cumin powder, chili powder, tomato juice, salt and pepper cooked slowly to reduce volume) Brown Rice, Chopped Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Green Pepper; Mushrooms, Coconut, Pecans, Pineapple Tidbits, Sour Cream, Salsa, Tortilla Chips, Shredded Cheese, Brown Olives. Pile it high in any order. Fast and easy.

Identifying Bad Actors

This past Saturday night a few Oklahoma cattlemen gathered to listen to R CALF USA's Bill Bullard speak on Making America's Beef In...