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

Archive for October, 2014

Gaining Perspective from Traveling

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Growing up in Grimes county, I remember being surprised that most of my schoolmates had not been out of the great state of Texas. True, it is a big state with a lot to offer. We were young, and I was hardly a world-traveler myself. But I was even more surprised by the fact that some of my acquaintances and friends had never been to Houston. It is literally one and half hours from us, and I mean downtown. Obviously, suburbia is much closer.

Even as a fourth-grader I understood that broadening your experiences gave one a better perspective in life. Travel is an easy way to gain perspective. For example, seeing what life is like in the fourth largest city in the United States allows you to see how others live. You can develop an appreciation for where you live and/or appreciate what another place can offer.

My husband and I want our children to see as much of the world as possible. We personally treasure our trips to Hawaii and Mexico. Therefore, we have driven our children across the southeast part of the country visiting places along the way. They have also been able to see parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, and a couple have been to Illinois.

When our oldest was eight, we allowed him to visit family in Alaska. Our daughter has had the opportunity to travel to Honduras. Four of us were thrilled to get the opportunity to venture to Uganda this past summer. (Talk about a life-changing trip.) Now this up-coming week, our middle child gets to travel to Oregon.

As we pack his bags and prepare to send him off, I am so excited for him. Adventure awaits. As he sees different parts of the country from the high desert to the mountains, I know that he will grow by the broadening of his horizons. I cannot wait to hear all about Oregon.

We have been greatly blessed as a family to have these travel opportunities. Although the beaches of Hawaii are beyond beautiful and the green mountains of Arkansas are gorgeous and the city of Houston has many things to offer, there is still nothing like home.

Home is definitely where the heart is and that will never change. If anything, traveling will just make that truth more dear to your soul. As we are already anticipating his return, join us in wishing our son a safe and fun adventure away from the ranch.

Little Britches

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

Right after I published the article for last week, we finally had a very nice cool front blow in from the north. A taste of autumn has been enjoyed to its fullest. My boys especially spend most of their free time out of doors in the cool sunshine.

Today they each had a lasso and were roping upside-down feed buckets in the driveway. I watched for a moment as each of them brought the ring of rope down around the bucket time and time again.

As the nights hopefully continue to grow cooler and cooler along with the daylight getting shorter and shorter, my little cowboys will snuggle up before bed to be read to and/or told stories.

They love me to tell them my versions of fairy tales like “Jack and the Beanstalk” or “The Three Little Pigs.” They enjoy to be read fictional books like My Father’s Dragon or Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which are full of imaginative plots and characters.

I grew up on the Little House on the Prairie book series, which still holds such a sweet place in my heart today. It of course is based on the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. All of my boys have enjoyed her book, Farmer Boy, which follows the childhood of Laura’s future husband, Almanzo. However, they don’t share in my deep affection for the rest of the series.

233711So if you have aspiring cowboys at home, I have the best book recommendation for you this fall. It too is auto-biographical like Little House on the Prairie, but it is written by Ralph Moody. Little Britches:Father and I were Ranchers is the first and arguably the best in the series about growing up ranching in Colorado. The setting changes in later books as Ralph’s life and circumstances also change.

Your whole family will love to hear the adventures of the Moody family. It is filled with love, life lessons, and laughter. You don’t have to know anything about ranching, being a cowboy, or farming to enjoy the stories.

I hope that you will try this book recommendation whether you are old or young, male or female, but especially if you have little cowboys/cowgirls at home. I know that you will love the book and the series if you give yourself a chance to be transported to Ralph Moody’s world.

Fall Games 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

The calendar does not lie. It really is October, but it does not feel like it at all. In fact, I don’t think we have had such heat and humidity in October in my lifetime. It is just as hot as the summer. The meteorologist from Houston marveled over the dew point last week stating that it was typical of June and July, not October.

Fall is supposed to mean sweaters in the early morning and evening. Soups and fresh bread. Campfires to sit around at night and tell tall tales. Pumpkins and autumnal foliage. In this part of Texas we have so many evergreens that we have very little leaf color, but even that is not visible.

Fall is also time for hunting. I see deer corn flying off the shelf and loaded down pick-up trucks with deer feeders and ATVs cruising down the roads. Camouflage is everywhere. Dove season has already begun. Regular deer season is fast approaching and bow season is already here. It sure does not feel like it though. Hunters like the cooler temperatures because it helps to get the game moving.

Another big game in the fall is football. Whether you prefer professional, collegiate, or high school level play, there are games being fought out everywhere. Again it is just too unseasonably warm to truly enjoy the game. You shouldn’t have to wear shorts and flip flops, slather yourself with sunscreen, and swat mosquitoes the whole time.

There is just something missing this fall, and it is the crisp air, the cooler temperatures, and colorful display of change in nature. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons for the reasons listed above so if it wasn’t for hunters and football fanatics I would not even realize we were in October.

I am definitely no expert, but I did a little research to see what this type of autumn forecasts for winter. Apparently we are not to be fooled into thinking we are living in a perpetual summer. Winter will come and it will come with power. In fact the winters are usually so much harder that this time period allows us to stock our food supply even higher.

Since most of us have grocery stores we can visit year-round, maybe we should make sure we have sufficient firewood or natural gas. For ranchers having plenty of hay will be the issue. In other words, get prepared. Fall might not be here, but winter will be. In addition to the fall games of football and deer, mother nature is playing a game with us.

Candy Connection to Cattle

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Halloween candy is everywhere. You walk into a grocery store and have to practically wade through aisles and kiosks filled with chocolate and sugary sweets. It makes me think back a couple of years to when the owner of the United Livestock Commodities group, Joseph Watson, recommended feeding stale candy to cows.

No, you read correctly. Candy for cows. And, no, I cannot make this stuff up. Truth is almost always stranger than fiction.

When corn is expensive and/or scarce, Mr. Watson felt that candy’s high sugar and fat content would be a good substitute. An additional bonus was that the paper wrappers could add fiber and fill to the cattle. His plan was a win-win for the beef producers and the candy companies. The latter had a way to unload their surplus product and the former had a way to cheaply feed their animals.

This plan does not seem to be a win for consumers though. I tried to find studies on what feeding candy did to the beef since two years have passed since the recommendation, but I could not find any information. Without a scientific study into the beef of candy-fed cattle, I am left with my own opinion.

I know what candy does to people. I know it is not a healthy part of anyone’s diet and should be eaten only in moderation. Therefore, I cannot imagine how anyone would have thought this was a good idea, much less publicly state it.

Grass-fed cattle do take longer to reach a harvest weight compared to grain-fed and/or candy-fed cattle. All that sugar and fat does make a cow or a person gain weight. As producers and consumers, we both have to show patience and trust the natural process. Then we know through countless studies that grass-fed beef has health benefits.

I tell you, the older I get the more I think our society has lost its mind. It is truly a strange world in which we live. As you pass out candy corn and bubble gum at the end of the month to costumed children, think about how you are keeping this candy out of the feedlots. I never could have imagined a candy connection to cattle.



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