define(WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE, true); add_filter( auto_update_plugin, __return_true ); add_filter( auto_update_theme, __return_true ); July 2014 – Welcome to the Ranch!

Archive for July, 2014


Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Cousins are special. You are built-in best friends. You are family with a shared heritage. You have shared holidays and family celebrations. You are usually relatively close in age, which makes you such good playmates by default.

My kids are blessed with many cousins from both sides of the family. Some live close. Some live far away. But, the heart strings are tied regardless of the amount of time spent with each one.

This week we have been blessed by the visit of two cousins from Oklahoma. They come down every summer to spend some time at the ranch. It is also a given that they will spend a lot of time with my boys.

It is an opportunity for them to spend quality time with their Texas family. It is also an opportunity for my boys to show them around the ranch. There are horses to ride, hikes to take, fish to be caught, and stars to be gazed at in the night sky.

We are excited that the cousins have arrived. We are looking forward to showing them around again and instilling in them a love for the ranch, which is part of our family culture.

My cousins are almost all grown up now. I’m the oldest and the youngest one is a sophomore in high school. We don’t get to spend much time together anymore. We live in many different states and places, but the one thing that is still true is that we will be there for each other in a minute.

“Blood is thicker than water” and the times that we spent making memories early in our childhood bonded us forever. I encourage my children to spend time and develop relationships with their cousins. Extended family is a great treasure.

How about you? Do you have fond memories of growing up with your cousins?

Sibling Rivalry

Thursday, July 24th, 2014
Members of Sibling Rivalry, Mitchell and Olivia Butaud, standing with my dad, Kenton Holliday, and his horses.

Members of Sibling Rivalry, Mitchell and Olivia Butaud, standing with my dad, Kenton Holliday, and his horses.

Cross Creek Cattle Company had the privilege of being the setting of a music video last Saturday. Olivia and Mitchell Butaud form the musical group, Sibling Rivalry. They are from Magnolia, Texas, which is only about 20 minutes south of our ranch.

This brother and sister team makes quite the duo. They both play musical instruments and sing, but Olivia’s unique tone sets them apart.

The music video they were shooting Saturday was a promotional video in the hopes of catching the attention of those in the music business. After listening to several of their songs off of their website, I won’t be surprised when they make it big. They are extremely talented.

Olivia penned a song about bullying that has become the Anti-Bullying Campaign’s theme song for Safe School Helpline. It is called “No Medicine Can Heal.” Listen to it here. Not only is her voice soulful, the lyrics touch the heart.

Olivia and Mitchell Butaud bOn Saturday, they used various backdrops on our ranch for the scenes of their video. One is the old, red bunkhouse on the property. Olivia perches atop of an old deer feeder while Mitchell sits beside her on an old sawhorse playing the guitar. They also rode our horses, Dolly and Commander, across pastures of tall, green grass, including under a picturesque moss-covered oak tree.

I cannot wait to see how the final video turns out. We definitely wish the Butaud family and Sibling Rivalry a successful future. We would wish you luck, but I don’t think y’all will need any. Keep working hard, strive towards your goal, and pray big.

You never know what each day will bring on the ranch. Life is never dull, that’s for sure. Please check out Sibling Rivalry Duo to read up on them, see photographs, read their bios, and of course, listen to their recorded songs. You can purchase their singles from iTunes.

Lean Beef Lowers Blood Pressure

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

People choose to eat grass fed beef for many different reasons. Some are health-related and some are not. On the whole, grass fed beef has been found to be lean and a healthy red meat choice.

Recently in Drovers Cattle Network, there was an article, “Study Shows Lean Beef Can Help Lower Blood Pressure,” by Mary Soukup. In it she discusses the DASH diet, which is for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, of which I had never heard. Researches knew that a diet high in protein helped lower one’s blood pressure, but they experimented to see if the type of protein mattered. Their hypothesis was no; therefore, they were shocked by the findings.

They compared a diet based on plant-derived protein, one with 4 ounces of lean beef a day, and one with 5.4 ounces of lean beef a day. Surprisingly, the larger intake of lean beef resulted in the larger reduction of systolic blood pressure.

So the “stay away from red meat” mantra from many well-meaning health experts might not be the best advice. Grass fed beef is the most popular source of lean beef available. As our customers enjoy the flavor and health benefits of our grass fed beef, now they can know that according to this study they just might be lowering their blood pressure. Just an added bonus, if you ask me.

Beware of Snakes

Thursday, July 10th, 2014

Summertime is when our family keeps our eyes peeled for snakes. We can see them slithering across dirt roads as we drive home. Occasionally we see one swimming across the surface of a pond. And, I already wrote about the mysterious snake skin in the spider web at the barn.

When we walk in tall grass or through the woods, we are on high alert. Picking berries or grapes are also occasions when you are use sticks to clear a place for your eye to search for the reptiles. Once I was picking berries on a fence line and as we approached the bush and leaned in, we all heard the very distinct warning of a rattlesnake. Needless to say, we left those berries alone.

Obviously not every snake warns you with sound. In fact the markings of snakes cause them to blend in with their surroundings almost too well.

My husband was working in his shop last Saturday. He opened a drawer of his tool box and about had a heart attack. As he reached in for a tool, a snake coiled up in the drawer struck at his hand. It was totally unexpected. Nobody was looking for a snake in there, which just goes to show that you should always keep an eye out for snakes this time of year.



I took a picture of the snake coiled up as my husband pondered the best way to remove it. He really needed his tool. It is admittedly not the best picture so I apologize for its quality; however, you can clearly see the snake in the midst of wrenches.

Luckily no human was hurt in the removal of the invader. It turns out it was non-venomous, but it was very aggressive. It struck at my husband twice and tried to wrap itself around his arm.

Keep your eyes open. We are on high alert. Our family dog has been bitten already once this year and so has another animal on our ranch. They are both doing fine, but I’d like to escape this year without any additional bites.

Boys to Men

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

I grew up listening to Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, among other country legends, but I never did understand their song, “Mama’s Don’t let your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys.” Not because of the lyrics, but simply because of the title. I grew up around a bunch of ranchers and they were all good, hard-working, manly men.

As a proud mama of four boys, I want my boys to grow up to be good, hard-working, manly men, too. My husband and I encourage them to play outside, work with their hands, etc. as well as read great books. We place just as much emphasis on real life skills as academics.

So when cows need to be worked and calves need to be tagged for identification purposes, we don’t leave them home playing video games. They come out to the ranch truck with jeans, boots, and lariats. Our two youngest boys are now 7 and 6 years old. They asked my husband if they could ride horses with their older brother, Jake. He gave his permission.

What a beautiful sight! Watching my three youngest boys from 13 to 6 in age, push the entire herd up the alley and into the working pens on top of eager and alert horses. The cattle respect the horses and don’t try to charge past; however, the boys had to work them back and forth in order to keep the mass of cattle tight and traveling together.

I regretted the fact that I did not have a camera or even my phone on me to capture this moment in time. It would have been a cool photograph to share with you, but instead I tried to imprint the image in my mind.

My boys were not only commanding animals that outweigh them by hundreds of pounds or herding cattle exactly where they needed to go, but they were working together. As a team, they accomplished the job set before them.

There were two kinds of teams. The first was a team of brothers. Boys that spend a good portion of the day wrestling, arguing, and being rambunctious were being calm, helpful, and focused on the shared goal. Then there was the rider and horse teams. Isaac was riding Ladd, Andrew was riding Dolly, and Jake was riding his horse, Jack. Together they all worked as one team.

After the work was done hours later, I watched my two youngest trot their horses up a hill in belly-deep grass blowing gently in the breeze. They were taking care to see that their horses had an opportunity to drink from the water trough before trailering back to the home ranch. No one told them to; they knew what needed to be done to take care of their teammate, and they did it.

My husband and I are not perfect parents. We make mistakes all the time. Some of you reading this might think that this day was riddled with parental failures. You might think we are completely out of our minds to let our boys near cattle on horseback. Maybe its the country in us, but we don’t see it that way. It is not only a way of life. It is part of how we raise boys to men.

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