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Posts Tagged ‘hard work’

Summer in Full Swing

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Summer on the ranch doesn’t differ too much from year to year. Really the only thing that changes is the amount of rainfall. Other than that, most things are unchanged. The heat is a dependable presence. Summers in Texas are hot and the temperatures have really begun to soar. These high temps combined with high humidity make for an awesome day. You step out of your nice air-conditioned home into an oven, and your body immediately begins perspiring.

This year in particular we have enjoyed nice rains. Therefore, we have more grass than ever. Not bad when you are in the grass fed business. Recently we had our first hay cut. We asked for round bales only. These are easier to feed a herd of cattle in the winter. We now have all the hay out of the field and stored for colder days.

The higher temperatures of summer mean that warmer water temperatures. We don’t have a swimming pool, but we do have several ponds. My children, especially the boys, love to jump in the water in an attempt to cool off. The cows do too, especially the Devons. Well, they don’t jump in, but they do like to stand mid-belly deep in the cool waters. Summertime means finding ways to cool off for both humans and animals.

Gardening is also in its prime time. Vegetables are ripening at lightning speed. We are getting to enjoy the fruit of our labor. Summertime is usually filled with putting up our produce and giving away our excess.

Summers are also a time filled with camps, fun outings, and trips. We like to spend time with our children enjoying this season together. From backyard barbecues to family floating trips, we seize time to spend with family and friends.

This is what summertime looks like at Cross Creek Cattle Company. We are busy doing both hard work and having family fun. We are truly enjoying the sunshine and cool waters. The smell of fresh cut hay fills the air. As I breathe in deeply, I know summer is in full swing.

Hauling Hay

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Last week I posted a picture of a pasture full of thick, green grass. The grass has now been cut and baled into square bales. The man who made the hay was impressed with the quality of the hay as well as the amount. He tried to talk my husband out of the hay entirely so he could sale it, but we use square bales primarily for our horses year round so we do in fact need the hay.

We only baled a ten-acre spot on our ranch, but it yielded just under 400 square bales. We were really surprised, especially since we were the ones who were going to haul the bales. It was much more than we expected.

Hauling hay was a family affair for sure. My immediate family, including my youngest boys, were hauling hay. We were joined by Grandma and PawPaw as well as a teenage friend of my oldest son.

I drove the truck pulling a flatbed trailer. My husband and two oldest sons lifted the hay bales onto the back of the trailer while my daughter stacked the hay three layers high.

Kenton and Cathey (a.k.a. PawPaw and Grandma) were loading their own truck. It sits much higher than the back of the trailer; therefore, it was harder to load. The truck also could not hold as much as a trailer, but every bale we did not have to lift and haul was a huge help. It certainly made clearing the field go faster.

With a full trailer, we drove to the hay barns and began the unloading process. This requires not only unloading the hay, but re-stacking it in the barn. Unloading the hay is where my five and six-year old boys really came into play. They helped my daughter unstack the bales and pull, push, or scoot the bale to the end of the trailer. It was an assembly line-like process where each had a job.

My boys literally weigh less than a single bale of hay, but that did not stop them from helping. They wore themselves out attacking and/or wrestling with each bale until it reached the end of the trailer. My momma heart was swelling with pride as they continued to work despite the discomfort of the situation and the difficulty of the task.

It was very hard work for everyone involved. The sun scorched us out in the open pasture. Hay is itchy and scratches your skin easily. We were sweating buckets. At the barn, the work actually got more uncomfortable. The barn blocks the breeze, if any exists, and the heat was sweltering. It zaps all of your energy.

We had to rest between loads in the shade and rehydrate our bodies. When you are working so physically and in such heat, you have to take care of yourselves.

Since birth, my children have heard us say, “If you do not work, you don’t get to eat.” It is a simplified version of what the Apostle Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “If anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat either.” Let’s just say we all ate really well that night. Cross Creek Cattle Company sent us all to dinner to our favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant.

We could have hired the work out, but my children would not have had the experience. I could have sent my little boys home with a sitter, but that would have robbed them of an opportunity to develop a hard work ethic. At Cross Creek Cattle Company hauling hay is just part of the ranch life. As a family-operated and owned ranch, the youngest members of our family need to be involved in the work.

Industry, Diligence, and Initiative

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Most people would agree that a child’s natural bent is toward laziness. Who does not want to linger in bed for as long as possible? Who would rather sit in the shade than bend their bodies in half weeding a garden? The answer for most of us is obvious. Laziness is something we have to fight.

Developing a desire to fight that which is a natural tendency is really a battle of self. Therefore, the first place to begin is with yourself. As parents of five children, my husband and I share a strong desire to develop within our children, male and female alike, industry and diligence. We also want them to take initiative and not wait to be told what to do. So we try to model industry, diligence, and initiative in our own lives.

I ask my children to be “productive” each day. That does not mean that one must work from sun up to sun down without taking a break, but that one be involved in some work throughout the day. It could be painting a piece of art, baking cookies, cleaning a horse stall, writing a short story, mowing the yard, etc. At the end of the day, you can feel a sense of accomplishment in something you have done.

Living on a ranch lends itself useful in instilling these character traits in children. There is always something to do. A tree has fallen on a fence, a gate latch breaks, the cows need to be fed hay, the float on the water trough malfunctioned, etc. From mechanic work and welding, to plumbing and construction, there are a variety of skills to be honed by just living on a working ranch.

Most of our grass fed customers who travel to Cross Creek Cattle Company in order to pick up their orders remark at least once “how lucky my kids are to be raised on this ranch.” It is true; however, my husband and I are just as fortunate to live in an environment that cultivates the need for hard work and productivity. This in no way means that city kids cannot find ways to be productive; they absolutely can in a variety of ways. The ranch simply furnishes us a ready environment.

Our ancestors’, the pioneers who sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and/or crossed the unsettled plains on their way westward, lives required work for their survival. Even though our lives are not pinned between life and death in such clear cut terms, we want our family to thrive and not just survive. Today, you can survive without working hard. In some ways we are not only fighting our inner selves, but also what have become cultural norms. Success, in many ways, is measured by getting paid the most for doing the least amount possible.

However if you know that working was God’s design from the beginning for mankind, then it changes your perspective (Genesis 2:15). Work requires discipline and denial of self. It makes your body move and sweat. It engages your mind and builds knowledge. It places food on your table and a roof over your head. Work is good, and it is good for your body and soul (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we are hard at work to develop high quality, nutritious grass fed beef. We come from a long line of ranchers in Texas, six generations in fact, but we are also busy training up the next generation by instilling the same characteristics that our ancestors exemplified: industry, diligence, and initiative.

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