Archive for April, 2009

I hate getting nasty comments.  Don’t you?

This is the first time it’s actually happened to me, but I hate it all the same.  As soon as I it popped in my inbox,  I spouted off a reply and hit send only to receive a “failure to deliver” notice.  Apparently Allison didn’t want me replying to her comment.  At that point I had to take my 8 year-old to school so I let Allison’s email simmer in my mind during the drive to school and back.  By the time I got home, I had decided that her concerns were valid and that I might not have done an adequate job explaining my last, unusually graphic, post.

Since you are probably eager to see said nasty concerned comment and since I really do want Allison to hear my opinion (despite the fact that she left an erroneous email) here it is:

Usually I enjoy your posts but certainly not that one.  I do hope the animals were given some sort of pain relief for the castration.  Your photos seem to show little or no humane treatment.   I guess you’re a real rancher now.  woo hoo

Allison (Ali34@gmail.com)

To which I responded with this email (which sits in my inbox because it bounced):

I’m sorry you did not enjoy my post.  It sounds like you’ve never attended this type of ranching event.  I did not specify, but intend to in my next post, the process of castration in this case.  While it can be done in a less humane way, the ranchers here do bloodless castration which is where they place a rubber band around the testicles of the young bulls.  They seem not to notice the band once it is placed.  (Being roped and held down by the ranchers bothers these young steers more than the actual banding.)  The testicles, over time, shrivel up and drop off.  I suppose, in  theory, it could be done in an operating room under general anesthesia at a vet’s office but, general anesthesia carries its own risks and when you are doing several dozen calves at a time, it  just isn’t practical nor is it cost effective.
I am not officially a rancher (“woo hoo”) as I did not assist in the castration and branding and I do not own any cattle.  But ranching is a way of life and a livelihood for many people in this area.  They love what they do and take pride in the health and well-being of their animals, unlike many of the huge feedlots and processing plants in the cattle industry.  This particular day in the life of a cow or calf is probably the most disconcerting of their lives but it is important and necessary in the processing of cattle on a small ranch.  I know the fellows who participated  personally and know they are passionate in what they do and how they do it.
I appreciate your concern in your comment and I hope this helped alleviate some of that.  And I hope you stop by the blog again.

There are four reasons I chose to share this with you all:

First, if you are going to leave me a nasty comment, please leave a valid email so we can hash it out in private.

Second, before moving to the country I would probably have written that same comment had I come across a posting like this one.

Third, I realize from the pictures, you can’t tell what method of castration is being used and could very well have looked like they were being removed via scalpel and emasculator. (the less humane way of removing the “goods”)

Fourth, I’m in the middle of a fascinating book all about where our food comes from and I can now appreciate the value of  a healthy grass-fed beef cow, the likes of which these small ranchers raise.  The book is called The Omnivore’s Dilemma:


If you haven’t read it, I HIGHLY recommend it!  It’s eye opening to know where your food comes from and what percentage of your food is actually food.  Honestly, you’d be surprised.  A small portion of the book is dedicated to the beef industry in this country.  It’s long and complicated but in a nutshell it summarizes how cattle are biologically designed to eat and digest grass.  But to get the cattle fattened up and ready for slaughter quicker, they are made to eat corn which is extremely unhealthy and inhumane and creates numerous disease threats to the animal as well it’s consumer.

After reading that, I am fully committed to supporting our local small cattle ranchers who feed their steers what they are designed to eat and treat them as more than merely a commodity.

Now, off my soapbox.

Here are a few pics of the kids bottle feeding the neighbor’s two calves.  We really are coming to enjoy and appreciate life in the country.





Now, I will leave this sordid bull castration subject in the dust, never to be blogged about again, and ride my trike off into the sunset.


If you are a rancher and would like to correct, add to, or further enlighten us on what I said in this post, please don’t be afraid to leave a comment.  I promise to be nice. Bruce?  Lane?

Happy Thursday!


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Not bad on the guessing:

jenjen said:

Hmmmm, I don’t know if I want to guess… Does it involve livestock???

Yes, in fact it does.  How did you know.  🙂

H.K. said:

It looks like they’re at a construction site….so, they found abandoned little kittens or weird looking bugs? Or maybe a buried treasure- if there is, can you share the loot? :0)

No kittens or I’d have a new addition to the family.  I don’t think you could get grown men up that early on a Saturday to look at bugs no matter how weird they were.  Buried treasure?  Yes, come to think of it, they did find some buried “nuggets” that day.  I don’t think you’d be interested in this particular bounty.

Bruce said:

Hmm, four tough guys and a kid to help… I’m just happy that Rolf had sore muscles today too!

He did but also said, and I quote:   “That was one of the funnest thing I have ever done!”  Not sure that’s proper grammar but hey, English IS his third language after all.

Mel said:

I’m guessing they’re starting on your chicken coop?!

Oh Mel!  Don’t I wish.  Apparently the garden takes precedence to the coop right now.  I know, Lame.

Jeff  said:

That had better not be the septic tank.

No worries.  We have become intimately familiar with the “ins and outs” of our fine septic tank capabilities. It’s all good.

Shally said:

Sheep Shaving.

While that would definitely warrant its own barrage of photos, you are close but not close enough.  But triple points for using /sh/ so many times!

honeysuckle said:

Does it have anything to do with a fence? Second guess, septic tank. Are you going to tell us?

Gosh, what is it with the septic tank?  One catastrophic explosion with guests in town and now my reputation is “in the tank”!  Yes, I will tell all, keep scrolling, Mom but you may want to shield your eyes.

Lorena said:

I think I know what it was, and I’m not quite sure how you’re going to get this across to your audience!

I think you DO know what it is.  And I’m not afraid to let it “all hang out” on the blog.

Amanda Jones said:

I have no idea… but that is a funny picture! I can’t wait to hear what it was!

You shall wait no longer…

We spent the better part of Saturday experiencing something all new to us but quite common to cattle ranchers:


No silly.  Not giving one another “man”icures!


(Edited so as not to change the rating on the blog…)


Castrating bulls and:



Branding cows!

If you’ve never been to this sort of event, be prepared to see lots of:


Cow spit


Bewildered baby boys


Mad Mamas


“Helpful” ranch hands


Lots and LOTS! of cow poo




Mad Cowboy skills






(Sometimes but not always) An Austrian in sneakers posing as a cowboy


Opportunities to take pictures through fence holes while hiding from deranged livestock



You’ll need more than a t-shirt corner to clean that!




And more testosterone than you could shake a stick branding iron at!

I was not the only one shocked intrigued taken aback repulsed fascinated?  At a loss for words…


My hankering for a burger and a milkshake took on a whole new meaning this weekend.

Hope your weekend wasn’t as “nutty” as mine.  🙂

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What the…?


Can you guess what we spent the better part of the day doing (or in my case watching)?

Leave a comment…

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The Theory:

I think summer may just be peeking its head around the corner.

The Evidence:






Flip Flops





The swing deposited Erik onto the grass without warning.  His wrist took the brunt of the fall.  And, after two days of convincing his foolish parents that there really was something wrong with his arm, Rusty Dodge (remember him?) “branded” him with a broken wrist.  And he’s been collecting signatures ever since. Like the hot pink?  All his friends seem to.  His popularity has skyrocketed.  And his big brother is a tad jealous since he was willing to go to great lengths himself to acquire  his own cast.


(I know it looks like Erik runs with a tough crowd judging by this black eyed, pig-tailed cutie.  But she’s just a victim of her own poorly timed knee on an impressively bouncy trampoline.)

While it’s not our first broken bone, it is our first experience being casted.

So far it’s been a hit.

Happy Thursday!!

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Do you have a lot of couple friends?

Not just friends that you wave to in passing but that you truly enjoy getting together with?

Everywhere we’ve lived, we’ve had good couple friends.

  • As newlyweds, we lived down the street from Rick and Melissa.  Since neither of us had kids, we both had a dog and we’d do play dates with the dogs (as pathetically newlywedish as that sounds).  They’d stop by and hang out or we’d be over there for the afternoon.
  • When we moved to California, David and Carol were it.  We had kids the same age who liked the same things.  Many Sundays we’d talk in the hall at church and do a quick refrigerator tally to see if, together, we could come up with the ingredients for a meal.  They were awesome spur of the moment friends.  Very easy going and accepting friends.  We miss them.
  • In Utah we lived a few streets from Dave and Stacy.  One New Year’s Eve Stacy was nine months pregnant and Dave had just had knee surgery so they came over and lounged on our couch all night.  We love friends who feel comfortable enough to make themselves at home.

But couple friends are hard to come by. It’s hard enough to find one person who you can be yourself with, let alone four people who click at the same time.

Since moving here almost a year ago, we’ve slowly been searching out compatible couple friends.  It typically goes a little something like this.  I find a compatible girlfriend and we make a date to go out together with our husbands.  We usually do dinner at a restaurant or at home or a game night.  We don’t do movies until we’re officially “couple friends”.  Not enough “get-to-know-you” opportunities while watching a movie.  After said date there’s sure to be an analysis session by both parties:

Did you like him?  Did you like her?

Did they “get” your jokes?

Were the moments of silence uncomfortable for you too?

Did he dominate the conversation?

Was there too much talk  about wild hog hunting and macrame?

Do you think they’ll judge  when they find out about our penchant for belting out “Copacabana” while washing the cars?

You know you’ve hit it off if a second date is requested and accepted by either party.  If not, chalk it up to couple incompatibility, be happy you at least gave it a try, and cordially smile and wave in passing.  But, you and said girlfriend can and should continue your friendship.  Because you never know, if her wild hog hunting husband ever becomes her wild hog hunting ex-husband, and she assumes an ironman triathlon loving new husband, couple compatibility may still be possible.

Our quest for couple friends continues.  We’ve already had some successful initial couple dates and our prospects look promising.  Keep your fingers crossed.  And even if nothing pans out, I don’t think we’ll ever be desperate enough to resort to this:


It’s an online dating service aimed specifically at finding couple friends for couples.  How crazy is that?!!  Tell, me, are there people out there pathetic enough to have to pay someone to find them couple friends?  Are they so busy that they don’t have time to call another couple up and do the inital “get-to-know-you”  dinner?  Must they save time and only go out with couples who have been prescreened?  I guess I’m old fashioned enough to do my own prescreening.  And I kind of enjoy the incompatible couples we meet.  Where else would I learn about wild hog hunting and macrame?

What do you think?  Crazy or efficient?

Happy Monday!


Thanks to Paige for inspiring this post with her own Couples Friends post awhile back.

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Still doing laundry.

Is it ever really done?  Vacuuming and mopping.  Check.  I should be preparing for my Friday art lesson right now but just can’t seem to commit to sitting down to organize my sorry self.

Instead I’m planted here with random thoughts running through my brain.  You know what I mean?  You have a list of things to do, none of which you want to do, and you just can’t seem to knock any of them off your list.

So I thought maybe if I jotted these thoughts down, passed them around and shared them with you, I could get them out of my head and get on with my to-do list.  It’s worth a shot.  Welcome to the randomness that is my brain today:


I’m convinced I live in a wind tunnel.  How did this fact escape the decision process when we considered moving here?  The wind has been whistling through the windows all day. I was pleasantly surprised when I held my rugs out the door today to shake them and realized that no shaking was required.  The gusts of wind shot the dirt and crumbs straight to Wyoming.  I despise the wind.  I’ll take rain, snow, and thunderstorms combined over wind any day. I’m ready for some sun.


Why is it that every time I vacuum the house I find at least 3 door stops lying on the floor next to where they should be attached to the wall?  Do they unscrew themselves?


Should I worry if my 4 year-old is still wearing his pajamas at 2 o’clock in the afternoon with no intention of ever getting dressed? And why do his PJ bottoms never match his PJ tops?


I’m impressed that my 8 year-old can do mental math better than I can.  That he understands  how remainders,  fractions,  and percentages relate to each other without having been taught any of that yet in second grade.


I love a good book that sucks you in to the story.  Right now I’m reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.  While I’ll probably only give it 4 stars on Goodreads, I’m really enjoying it and hoping Juliet and Dawsey get together in the end.


I love the library.  Last night I requested about 5 books to be held at my little branch.  Most of them involve food.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food are on the list.  Have you read any of these? I’d love to be able to eat 80% raw but I think my love of bread (and all baked goods for that matter) might interfere.


I miss my ipod.  It met an untimely fate in the washing machine. I became a little addicted  to podcasts.  I love NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and “This American Life”.  Does that make me old and crotchety?


If it’s any consolation, I’m seriously digging on Adam Lambert this season!  I am truly mesmerized… if only by his vocal abilities and wardrobe eccentricies.


I’ve been inspired lately by Paul Cardall.  He’s an LDS recording artist who has mad piano skills.  He was born with a heart defect similar to my 10 year-old.   He’s now 36 and waiting for a heart transplant.  There was a benefit concert for him a couple of weeks ago in Salt Lake City.  I follow his blog and pray that he gets his new heart soon.  He inspires me with his positive attitude and his faith while at the same time worries me for my own son’s future.


And, I hope someone comes along quick and finishes up these Easter jelly beans and M&Ms before I do.  If Jillian catches me snacking on any more of them I WILL pay, I’m sure.

Random, no?

Happy Wednesday!

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We had a fantabulous Easter weekend with my family.

My To-Do list is endless.  You know how it is.  Laundry, grocery shopping, phone calls, and more and more laundry.

So, I’ve posted a quick recap of our weekend in pictures.  I haven’t mastered (in fact haven’t an inkling of a clue) how to take a good picture in a dark room without the flash and without the blur so my pictures in the Wicked theater stink.  Sorry.  If you have any tips on dark room photography, send them my way.

I’ll post again tomorrow when I have more time.

Hope you all had a fantabulous weekend yourselves!


Happy Tuesday!

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