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Posts Tagged ‘cowboys’

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.

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.

Raising Cowboys

Thursday, October 29th, 2009
Andrew DeHaven

Andrew DeHaven

John Wayne starred in a movie titled, “Cowboys,” in which a group of young boys become men.  They did not grow much older on the trail, but they did come of age.  By being entrusted with responsibility, each boy developed a great work ethic.  Each boy returned home a different person as the trials of life shaped them into men.

I personally think that our society is full of overgrown boys.  Men-sized boys who are more interested in self-gratification and the here and now without the vision to see into their future.  I see this problem not only with males, but with females as well.  Few seem to look long-term.  We, as a society, seem very short-sighted.

I also think that this problem permeates all areas of life.  Parents seem to wait expectantly for the time when their children finally leave home.  They are tired of having to provide for them, clean up their mistakes, etc.  I do not think that our society places enough emphasis on how important ones job as a parent is.  In fact we seem to demean anyone who makes financial sacrifices as they dedicate their lives to their family.  How many times have you heard or said yourself, “Oh, I am just a mom (dad).”

Isaac DeHaven

Isaac DeHaven

We are a little old-fashioned at Cross Creek Cattle Company.  And, that is just fine with us.  We purposely spend a lot of time together as a family.  Not just our immediate family, but our extended family as well.  We invest our time, talents, and energy to operate a cattle and horse ranch in the 21st century.  It is not for the money.  Ranches do not make the money they once did.  We do it for the love of it.  We love working together to accomplish something.  We love having a common purpose.  We love the work ethic it takes to run the ranch.  It surely does not run itself.

As a mom, I want my four sons and daughter to grow up with a vision.  To grow into their adult bodies, wise beyond their years.  I want them to experience life and learn from it.  I want them to know responsibility.  I want them to be prepared to be able to survive on their own.  I look forward to the day when they leave of their own accord to make their own mark on the world, as men and women in the true sense of the word.

Therefore, it is no accident that when we worked cows this morning that all of our kids were there.  Jake helped Lane sort the calves.  Clayton and I worked different gates.  Kyla watched the “babies” Isaac and Andrew in the barn where they still felt part of the action.

When I deemed it perfectly safe, I allowed the two boys to come into the round pen and stand on the catwalk adjacent to the chute.  We needed to load calves to take to the sale.  Each boy had a cow working stick like everyone else.  Isaac could barely see the calves over the protective wooden wall of the chute, but he smiled as he yelled, “Get on outta here cows!  Yah!”

His smile said everything.  He felt a part of the team.  He helped load the cows.  He cannot wait until we have to work together again.  Even Andrew, who just sat on the catwalk holding a stick, said, “Yah, cow!  Yah, cow!”  At three years and nineteen months of age, my little boys are becoming cowboys, who will one day become men.

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