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Posts Tagged ‘Grimes County’

2014 County Fair

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Another very busy Grimes County Fair and Rodeo has come and gone. It was filled with a bustling week of activity in the heat of early June. My kids worked hard, and their hardwork paid off. Below are the highlights of the week in photographs. Between competing in creative arts, goat show, swine show, pee-wee show, and mutton bustin’, we were spending 12-14 hour days at the fairgrounds. The latter activity is the only one not shown in pictures below. I will have to do that event separately at another time.

In-County Champion

In-County Champion

Jake is an experienced livestock judge and has competed at various contests. This was the highest he has ever placed. 1st as an individual in the Junior Division, which qualified him as the In-County Champion. We were thrilled. Kyla also competed. It was only her second time to livestock judge at a competition. She had to compete in the Senior Division. Regardless her score was great even though she did not place. We are so proud of both of them.

Kyla showing her market goat project. The judge had just passed her.

Kyla showing her market goat project. The judge had just passed her.

Kyla’s market goat died an accidental death a month after it was officially tagged in with the fair; therefore, she was done. However, my sweet Jake gave her his goat project to raise since he had a swine project, too. Since we tagged everything in as a family, it all worked out. Kyla worked her butt off turning this goat into a meat wagon. The judge liked him, she placed well, and made a good profit at the Premium Sale.

Jake showing his market swine project, Susie.

Jake showing his market swine project, Susie.

Without a goat to raise, Jake turned all of his attention to his market swine project. She was easy to raise and gained weight well. We were very hopeful as we counted the days to the fair. While transporting her in a trailer to weigh her, Susie somehow injured her back left leg. She limped bad, which is one of the things judges look for to rule out your pig. Jake did not place bad considering her injury. The judge told him that she was a great pig, but because she was crippled he could not place her any higher. We completely understood and were thrilled that he qualified for the Freezer Sale where he was able to get top dollar.

Isaac showing off RJ's chest after his show.

Isaac showing off RJ’s chest after his show.

Andrew making his pig strut her stuff.

Andrew making his pig strut her stuff.

Both Isaac and Andrew competed in the Pee-Wee Shows for pigs and goats. They did great and we can really see the benefits of having experienced, older siblings. They are already so much further along in showmanship than any of my older kids were at their ages.

Kyla's Grand Champion Art Work in the Senior Division.  It is a mixed media painting with marker and pencil.

Kyla’s Grand Champion Art Work in the Senior Division. It is a mixed media painting with marker and pencil.

Isaac's Grand Champion Art Pee-Wee Division.

Isaac’s Grand Champion Art Pee-Wee Division.

Both Kyla and Isaac brought home Grand Champion rosettes for their artwork. It was just one of the many surprises of the week.

Needless to say, we had an eventful and successful week at the 2014 Grimes County Fair. Regardless if it was judging, showing, or creating, all the activities require hours of hard work and training. Nothing just happened. The county fair in the heat, humidity, and dust might not sound appealing to many of you, but the life lessons and opportunities make it all worth while. Last week was truly a snapshot of life filled with challenges, surprises, losses, and victories. We survived and are stronger for it.

They are already thinking about and planning for next year. So look out the 2015 Grimes County Fair, we will be back.

Basking in Our Blessings

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Many firsts have happened in the last few weeks. We had our first light freeze, which resulted in our first fire of the winter season in our fireplace. We also had the first flood of any kind last week.

For years, we have been in some stage of a drought condition. Last winter was relatively wet and I believe the moisture we received then enabled us to weather the very dry summer of this year. We just haven’t had to time to recover from the severe drought of the prior four years.

We have been so blessed as of late with rain that one night of steady rain caused enough run-off to rush down the once dry creek beds and flow over the roads. The county literally shut down our county road from traffic due to the minor flooding.

This rain changed things at Cross Creek Cattle Company. First, it illustrated that the soil is saturated, which has been thirsty for years now. Then it filled the ponds and lakes, which had not been up to full-capacity for some time. The level of the water in the lake behind my house rose to just under the overflow drain. That has not been achieved in so long I cannot remember the last time.

As I was reading earlier this week I came across a passage that really spoke to our circumstances.

You visit the earth and cause it to overflow;
You greatly enrich it;
The stream of God is full of water;
You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth.
You water its furrows abundantly,
You settle its ridges,
You soften it with showers,
You bless its growth.
You have crowned the year with Your bounty,
And Your paths drip with fatness.
The pastures of the wilderness drip,
And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing.
The meadows are clothed with flocks
And the valleys are covered with grain;
They shout for joy, yes, they sing. (Psalm 65:9-13)

We are not the only ones shouting for joy. The wild animals, our cattle and horses, the birds of the air, the trees and bushes, the grasses in the fields: everything is refreshed. There is a softness in our surroundings that is hard to describe, but it is tangible. It is as if we have all been bathed and and washed clean. Perhaps, this will be the end of the drought or maybe it is just a respite from the pattern of dryness and heat. Either way, we will enjoy it and bask in the blessings from above.

Fall Trail Ride

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

Every October Cross Creek Cattle Company hosts a kick-off trail ride for the Grimes County Jr. Deputy Sheriff Mounted Posse. This year the event was held last Saturday, and we could not have asked for better weather. The skies were clear, the air was cool, and a light rain fell early that morning.

The horses were excited and ready to go. They like to go to new places and meet new horses. They are as ready for the adventure as the kids. We planned a trail that was a little challenging for beginning riders and pure fun for the more experienced. They rode across pastures, through brush and woods, down and up creeks, over logs, etc.

This was the first year that my son, Isaac, rode solo. He did great! His favorite part was coming up the creek bank because he loves to go fast. Most horses do not walk up steep inclines; they prefer to take it at a jog. Wouldn’t you?

Andrew, who is a year younger than Isaac, rode in the saddle controlling the horse with the reins, but my husband rode behind on the horse’s rump. We felt safer with Lane there to stop any bad behavior on the horse’s or Andrew’s part. Next year, Andrew will probably graduate to riding solo like his big brother.

The older kids rode like experts. They blazed the path ahead, leading the group through the home ranch. Both Kyla and Jake enjoyed visiting with their friends.

After the ride, we ate. My husband smoked a brisket and some pork sausage. I heated up some beans, made iced tea, and iced down some sodas. Our guests brought the sides and desserts. It was a joint effort, and everything was delicious. We feasted not only on food, but on good conversation.

Cross Creek Cattle Company is a proud sponsor to the Posse, which is a great youth organization in our county. There are only a handful of similar posses in the state of Texas. Children learn riding and horsemanship skills, but also leadership. They learn to speak to and greet members of the local government. They represent the Sheriff and the county, and are also ambassadors of the Go-Texan Committee. We are thrilled to give them a relaxing time on the trail before their busy season of events begin.

O Christmas Tree

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Some of my favorite Christmas memories as a child involved combing the ranch for the perfect Christmas tree. In Grimes County, we have thick piney woods sprinkled with cedars. Unless you are going for a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, cedars are your best bet. They not only naturally grow in a conical shape; they smell wonderful, too.

It is funny how childhood memories work. One of my favorite stories about Christmas tree finding on the ranch occurred without me. I was at school, but my mom and little brother decided to surprise the family by decorating for Christmas in our absence.

They set out together armed with a saw across the pasture and into the woods keeping their eyes peeled for the perfect tree. Their trek took them through two dry creeks bottoms with steep banks, but finally after hours of searching they found the perfect tree.

I imagine like the Griswold family in the movie,National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, my mom and brother saw a spotlight from the heavens casting a beautiful glow around the cedar tree. They immediately agreed that their long search was over. They fell to the ground beneath the full, aromatic boughs and began cutting the tree down.

Finally, they heard the crack of the wood splintering, a brief pause, and the victorious thud as the tree hit the ground. Taking a few minutes to catch their breath, they leaned against a nearby pine tree.

Now was time for the real work. They had to retrace their route back home, but this time their passage was encumbered by the bulk and weight of the tree. What they would have given for some help! Crossing the creeks proved to be the most difficult obstacle, especially the last one. Fatigue set in as sweat dampened their skin despite the cold weather.

Fueled by the Christmas spirit and a good dose of stubbornness, my mom set her mind to completing the task before her. She wrapped a rope around the base of the trunk and with my brother’s help pulled the tree up the side of the bank. Now just a short walk across an open pasture lay between them and home.

It was the longest recorded crossing of that field in the history of the ranch. The tree was dropped several times despite the fact that their hands were covered with sticky sap. Finally they went through the last gate and plopped it down in the front yard.

They were tired and hungry. The last thing they wanted to do was decorate for Christmas. All they wanted to do was take a shower, put on their pajamas, and sit before a fire, but it was only the afternoon. After they ate a very late lunch, they felt more up to the task.

My mom cut off the bottom of the trunk and some of the bottom boughs. She tried to put on the tree stand, but it would not fit. So she cut off more of the trunk and more branches. Tired from cutting, she decided to just go with it and tried to carry the tree into the living room. Drug is a more fitting description. It barely squeezed in the doorway. In the struggle to pull it through, many needles were knocked off. With one huge tug, the tree gave way and my mom struggled to keep her balance.

She managed to set the tree up. The tree swallowed the living room and its top bent against the ceiling. Out of frustration my mom dragged it back out into the front yard and left it while she tried to clean herself up.

About this time, I walked up. Seeing a huge felled tree in the yard, I enthusiastically shouted, “Yeah, we have a Christmas tree! We have a big, beautiful tree!” Then I asked, “Where is it going to go this year?”

Needless to say, it never did become our Christmas tree. It never fit in our house. Despite this fact and the fact that I was not present for the tree cutting, it is by far one of my favorite family holiday stories.

I cannot prove it, but I think the scene in the Christmas Vacation movie is loosely based on my mom and brother’s adventure. What kind of Christmas tree memories do you have?

2012 Fall Trail Ride

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

A number of horse trailers parked along the rocky road in the front pasture of Cross Creek Cattle Company made for an interesting sight for passersby Sunday afternoon. We were hosting the 2012 Fall Trail Ride for the Grimes County Jr. Deputy Sheriff Mounted Posse.

This is the third consecutive year we have had the pleasure of hosting such a fun day for the youth of our community. We had a wide range of ages and horsemanship abilities. From young beginning riders to older retired cowboys, the trail ride was enjoyed by all.

It was a beautiful, clear day. Our ranch manager, Lane, along with Kyla and Jake, who are also members of the Posse, spent several hours choosing a trail and clearing a path. They wanted to make it challenging and interesting. The trail ride crossed pastures, opened and closed several gates, went through heavily wooded areas, through deep, dry creeks, and up hills. They rode at the home ranch, which is our original place, for two hours.

Once every one dismounted and cared for their horses, we ate turkey legs and corn on the cob. The food was donated and greatly appreciated. Kyla baked four batches of brownies for dessert. Needless to say, nobody went home hungry.

Kenton and Cathey Holliday, the owners of Cross Creek Cattle Company, are proud sponsors of the Grimes County Posse. We are thrilled that our ranch provided a fun and safe day for horses and riders.

Day Dove Hunts

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

When we first acquired our new property as we expanded Cross Creek Cattle Company, we were impressed by the amount of wildlife on the land. Deer, hogs, and dove call it home in large populations. For the first time in our ranch’s history, we considered branching out into a different business: day dove hunts.

In some ways, both businesses are similar. We are offering an opportunity for people to bring home food to their families. According to American Wild Game, domesticated dove or farm-raised dove are higher in fat and calories with less protein compared to dove found in their natural environments. Wild dove is almost 23% protein with less than 2% fat. Dove is also delicious.

I grew up eating dove as my dad’s family were big hunters. The family still talks about how I would eat them like candy. I just could not get enough. Last year, my older sons and their uncles went hunting and came home with their catch. After a simple preparation, I realized that I have not outgrown my liking for dove. What a treat!

In order to prepare for dove hunting, we specifically chose a spot between three stock ponds to ensure good, fresh water for the birds. My husband also planted acres of land in Milo, a.k.a. sorghum, to give the dove what they need food-wise. It is protected by strands of hot wire to keep out cattle, hogs, etc.

As luck would have it, a good friend, who is an experienced hunting guide, just moved into our area. He immediately agreed to serve as our hunting guide for these day hunts. If you are interested in setting up a day dove hunt or have questions, you will need to contact Bill Adams at (830)591-6116.

We are charging $75.00 a day. The hunting ground is located in Grimes County just north of Plantersville on CR 208 off of FM 1774.

Please help us get the word out. If you know a hunter, a father/son wanting to spend the day together, or someone like myself who loves to eat dove, please tell them about the Cross Creek Cattle Company Day Dove Hunts.

Getting Ready to Move

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

When the owners of Cross Creek Cattle Company purchased additional land in order to expand our ranch and the provide room for business expansion, we knew the property would require many hours of physical labor in order to be ready for our herd.

Our primary concern is fencing. Without proper fencing, you cannot contain your cattle nor can you keep out neighboring herds. After years of neglect, the perimeter fencing was in bad repair. Trees had fallen in some places like a game of pick up sticks. My husband and some hired men worked long, hard days removing the trees and limbs, clearing the fence lines, and repairing the fences. In many places, it was easier to completely rebuild the fence from scratch.

I am pleased to announce that the perimeter fencing is complete. Our borders are secure. Now my husband’s focus has been the cross-fencing. Pasture rotation requires good cross-fencing whether it is a sturdy 5 string barbed wire fence or a fence made with hot-wire. My husband reports that the cross-fencing is now 95% done.

Unfortunately, this new property has a infestation of feral hogs. We have them on our home ranch, but not near to the extent of the new ranch. In some places, the hogs have disked up the earth. Weeds then come up instead of grass; therefore, the wild hogs are posing a threat to our livelihood in the grass fed beef business. Cattle have to have grass in order to survive without grain.

I have written before about this problem and how my husband built a hog trap. The trap has been very effective. In the last three weeks, we have killed 37 hogs. Monday alone we trapped and killed 21 wild hogs. Not only are we feeding the local community and filling our own freezers with wild pork, but we are making a small dent in the feral hog population.

Now that the pastures are being taken care of with the removal of wild hogs and with the sturdy fencing, our next concern is water. There are many lakes and ponds on the property. One pond’s dam had broken. It has since been repaired with a bulldozer. Now all the waterways are accessible and full to the brim thanks to all the rain we have been receiving.

The next project that my husband must tackle is repairing the existing cattle pens. Once we take our herd of mama cows and the bulls to the new ranch, we will have to have a way to work and pen them up. Our plan is to use our home ranch for the sole purpose of finishing out our grass fed beef.

We are not quite ready to move our main herd just yet, but we are laying the groundwork. When we do eventually move the herd, this will not affect our customers at all. The grass fed animals will still be at the home ranch and you will still pick up your orders from the home ranch as well.

We are so excited about the expansion of our ranch and of our business. As the demand for grass fed beef increases, we are trying to keep up with the demand. We thank our customers for making this possible.

On the Trail

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Last Saturday, we went on a trail ride around our new ranch. We saddled up six horses and packed up a picnic lunch. Then we headed out for an adventure.

First we selected a perfect setting for a picnic lunch. We sat in the shade of a tree in a meadow that was once a hay field. The grass is just beginning to grow to the point were it slumps over by the weight of its head. The gentle breeze stirred the grasses into a swaying dance. Butterflies fluttered around, checking out the wildflowers and even landed briefly on Cathey’s arm. We sat overlooking a tree-rimmed duck pond with still water. Picturesque is the only word to describe it.

After eating a light lunch of apple slices, grapes, nuts, and cheese, we each mounted our horse. Isaac and Andrew, our youngest boys, rode in tandem saddles behind my husband and myself. We began our ride through wooded pastures, across mud, through standing water, by a large lake, down creeks, and through pastures painted with tons of wildflowers.

I personally could not get over the latter. Even so close to our home ranch, the new property held different flora than we are familiar with like red honeysuckle, Indian grass, and Texas stars. There were a few more flowers I did not recognize, but will need to consult my Texas wildflower book in order to properly identify them. The open pastures were filled with a mixture of different wildflowers. I have never in my life seen so many wine cups or such big butter cups. It was like walking through a sea of purple and pink.

We also ate our first wild dewberries of the season. Sweet and tart, the juice bursts in your mouth between your teeth. Cathey dismounted her horse, Shania, and began picking them for all of us to eat. We have one horse in particular, Cheyenne, who loves a berry or two for herself.

In addition to the flowers and berries, as we walked through the woods, wild ferns skirted the path filling the empty spaces between the trees along the ground. The bright green foliage was a beautiful contrast against the orange pine needles littering the ground.

Isaac, who rode behind me, asked me, “How does PawPaw know what everything is?” His question was sparked because my dad was a walking flower and plant guide on our ride. He easily identified most of the flora we came across. I explained to Isaac that it comes from being observant and inquisitive and that he too can learn the names of the plants and animals, too.

In fact I began pointing out plants, flowers, and trees and asking him what they were. He surprised himself when he realized that he knew a bunch of the names of the flora already. Names like pine trees, bluebonnets, wild onions, butter cups, etc.

As we finished up our ride, we climbed a high hill to survey the view. The view was breath-taking as your eyes scanned the treeline, the pastures, and the waterways from on top of the hill. You felt like you were on top of the world. My only regret of the day was not bringing along my camera, but the images I saw are forever etched in my memory. What a beautiful day!

Ranching in the Blood

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
A view of land in Izoro, Texas

A view of land in Izoro, Texas

Cross Creek Cattle Company is family-owned and operated.  Currently we are raising the next generation of ranchers with our children.  Ranching is in our blood.

Since 1852, the Holliday family has been ranching in Texas.  They settled first in the Texas Hill Country in Lometa and Coryell Counties.

I have heard stories passed down from my great-grandfather through my father of our family’s past.  They fascinate me.  To think that my great-grandparents rode horses to school and in the same lifetime the men landed on the moon.  Times sure do change.

The Holliday family eventually left the Hill Country and settled in Harris county where they still ranched and farmed.  This was long before Houston spread in every direction developing all the farmland.

Later my grandfather looking for a ranch out in the country and away from Houston purchased land in Grimes County, which is now the original part of Cross Creek Cattle Company.  He raised Herefords.

As he grew older, my father bought the ranch from my grandfather.  He began increasing its size by purchasing surrounding and adjoining land as it became available.  In 1994, my parents founded Cross Creek Cattle Company.

Knowing all of this, I jumped on the opportunity to visit the site of the old Holliday ranch in Izoro, Texas.  My family visited a ranch in Llano, Texas for the New Year holiday.  My husband and I decided to take extend our return trip home by one hour to try and find the place.

It was worth every minute.  My dad had given me superb verbal directions to the place.  I was honestly impressed with his memory.   When we arrived, I immediately began taking photographs.  The area was gorgeous even in the dead of winter.  I don’t think that the photos do the landscape justice; the view was spectacular.

Seeing where my family first ranched in Texas was a great experience.  They had a beautiful piece of land.  I could easily envision cattle grazing the pastures.  Cowboys riding on horseback over the hills.  How nice it would be to own it again.

Posse Participating in Parades

Thursday, December 9th, 2010
Posse in Last Year's Parade.

Posse in Last Year's Parade.

Cross Creek Cattle Company is a proud sponsor of the Grimes County Mounted Posse.  Lane DeHaven, the ranch manager, is the assistant drill master.  Three of our children are members of the Posse.

The Grimes County Mounted Posse is a great youth organization sponsored and supported by Sheriff Don Sowell.  The members represent the county in many events throughout the year.  The Posse is an ambassador of the Go-Texan Committee.  The members of the Posse also perform routines before our county’s rodeos and special events.  Recently the ranch hosted their annual trail ride. 

It is great to see such a variety of ages, interests, and personalities in the organization.  The one thing everyone has in common is their love of horses.  One of the main goals of the Posse is to learn to work as a team and develop other good character traits.

The Posse is in demand this month as the county gears up to celebrate Christmas.  Tonight they will be riding in Navasota, Texas in the city’s annual Christmas parade.  It begins at 6:30 p.m.  Then on Saturday morning, they will ride in the Plantersville Christmas Parade.  It begins at 9:00 a.m.  December the 18th the Posse will also ride in the Bedias Christmas Parade at 10:00 a.m.

Each town has a different feel in the way in which they organize their parades.  Navasota, the largest city in Grimes County, holds their parade in the evening.  Therefore, their floats are all about lights.  This parade has the most floats compared to the other towns.  Even in the dark, the Posse riding on horseback is a hit especially with the youth.

Plantersville’s parade is not as organized as Navasota’s.  They invite whoever wants to be a part of it to come and participate.  Families ride their horses, drive classic cars, and the Volunteer Fire Department plays a big role.  The Posse won best animal float last year.  This parade allows candy to be given out.  The Posse members have candy bags hanging from their saddle horns.  When I leave the parade with my two little boys, it looks like we have gone trick-or-treating.  Needless to say, they love this parade.

The best thing about Plantersville’s parade is that you get to see it twice.  The floats reach a certain point and turn around.  You get to see them coming and going.

Bedias has just recently begun hosting Christmas parades.  Their parade is most like the Plantersville one.  Both encourage the community to participate and not just formal organizations, clubs, and businesses.  It is also a fun parade to watch.  Last year, Santa Claus drove a pink Cadillac.  You will leave there with a lot of candy, too.

These parades are a little piece of Americana.  If you are in the mood for some down home entertainment, come out and support all the different towns in Grimes County as they put together their different parades.  Each parade takes place on the main streets of each town.  Just park alongside the road or stand on the side of the road. 

Make sure to look for the Posse riding on horseback.  They will have Santa hats on top of their cowboy hats.  Horses will be wearing sleigh bells.  After they pass by, you will be ready for Christmas.

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