Thursday, September 27, 2007

Checking In and Checking OUT!!

Hello friends!
Today is Thursday, and I am 'hitting the road' until Sunday! Yep. Playtime for mommy... Yep. Scrap booking and stamps are involved... and a roomful of women and we are camping! I'll share everything when I get back...

I have a few 'shout outs' before I go:

THANK YOU TO KERI! I rec'd a great RAK!!! LOTS to show you!!!

THANK YOU RONNIE & DAWN! Thank-you for the wonderful Cowboy Christmas images!

THANK YOU SANDY! I rec'd a RAK with a DVD of her trip to the Holy Land and some images too!

I'll post pics when I return.... camera is packed! Bags are packed!
Gotta go!!!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Good Ol' Boys!


The Good Ol' Boys! Don Otterson & Hank Sexton
Both are 80 years old and they have known each
other since 2nd grade!


'Is it Party Time?' - Sexton Casa 5pm


Sending the kids off to catch the 6:40 am bus!
And The Good Ol' Boys Back to CA and Down the Road!


Love... Nothing Like it.

Sigh... Don't you just love a good fun visit with great people? My Father in Law is an absolute hoot! As I told you in an earlier post, he arrived one week prior to our Customer Appreciation event, with his lifelong friend, Don. Don lived on the neighboring ranch in CA. So, they showed up at my door at 5pm, and wanted to know if it was party time! I had just gotten home from the Boise market, and had been up since 3:30 am.. Needless to say, I had a long night with these guys! Well, not really, their bedtime is the same as mine, about 8pm, but THAT was a long day!

These boys were so darn fun... Lots of stories told, lots of laughs, and just great living spirits in our midst. They came to get 1/4 beef to take home.. I like these kinda deals! We got to see Grandpa, which for us, isn't very often... I can probably count on one hand how many times my kids have seen their Grandma and Nana Sexton. But quality time, is a definite when we do see them. My kids adore their grandparents!

So, the top photo cracks me up. I told Hank 'smile' several times! I have about 5 shots of 'this look' of his. So, I showed it to him.. He said 'that is my smile!'. HA! We call that a Deer in the headlights look...

OH... speaking of funny sayings... Dick took off on the quad to move sheep, and Hank said 'There goes your husband on his Japanese Quarter horse!" And he laughed... Like I said... a good ol' boy. He grew up on Stone Valley Ranch, where my husband grew up. A 14,000 acre 'real' range land outfit at the end of a 7 mile dirt road.. We lived there for 3 years before moving here. The Sexton family sold the ranch and well, here we are, the 5th and 6th generation, in Eastern Oregon on our own 1,170 acre irrigated ranch. Quite a difference. Different landscapes, weather, people, you name it!

One of these days I'll share stories and photos from Stone Valley.... Scorpions anyone? We had plenty in our house!!! THAT part I do not miss!

Well, gotta run to a soccer game! Thanks for visiting again! I'll be posting more 'catch up' stories and work.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Appreciation Day Results - 2nd Post


Dick giving a Lesson on Electric Fencing


Pasture Walk Crowd


Crowd on the Deck - Sausage Test Time!


Sausage Test - Dick is in the back, grilling!


The Sunset view from the West! I see 3 pumpkins, do you?

Appreciation Day Results - First Post


This Photo is from our pasture walk.
Two guests helped put up an electric fence and
move the yearlings into a new paddock.


The Extra Special Beer Flavors -
Courtesy of our Partner, Tyler Brown,
of Barley Brown's Brewpub in Baker City
( I think we had about 6 different flavors! My fave is the Espresso Stout!)
Sorry, I did not take a photo the 10 assorted bottles of wine that were consumed!


Photo from a top the Hay Ride



The Smore's Crowd hangin' around the fire,
and catching the Eastern View of the Sunset!

Sigh... The Day has come and gone and what a great event we had! We were so lucky! No rain! No Wind! Curses to the weather forecasters who had my stomach in a knot! Our Lamb Sausage Test was a huge success... Our guests helped us rank 11 different varieties and we will be featuring the top 5. I'll share the results later..

As always the pasture walk and hay ride were fun, the fire pit was a huge hangout for the s'more makers and story tellers, and boy, what a wonderful meal shared among friends! We cooked up Lamb Shoulder Roasts and our guests provided the side dishes and desserts!! YUM!

My fellow parent com padres at the Haines Elementary School PTCO helped us by being hostesses, sausage servers, bartenders, meat cutters, food servers, cleanup crew and overall great friends who came to our rescue - all 4 of them! Thanks Buddies!!!!

Thank you to the Pendleton Farmers Market Vendors that sent gifts our way (corn from Wolf Farms, and Apples from another Vendor - Jack and Sharon will have to help me with the name!).... We did not get a chance to roast the corn, but we will tonight... The apples were very tasty! The guests loved them - and we put the remainder in our cold room.

Thank you to Sean and Katherine, our friends and fellow vendors from the La Grande market for bringing pumpkins! We were able to send home sweet orange orbs with all the soon to be ghosts and goblins - regardless of their age, and we have three beauties sitting on the front steps along with my yellow mums... a beautiful fall display!

Back to the weather... Like I said, we were lucky! On Sunday the temp. dropped and the wind howled all day! TODAY it was 25 degrees at 6:40 am -(the bus stop temp)! FALL has arrived! Kick up the temp will ya??

Our only 'casualties' of the day involved both my kids... Sami was playin' around with her buddy, on the firewood pile, and apparently (details are sketchy folks) they were taking turns doing funny poses on a big stump... Well, Sami fell and landed hard on her elbow. She was crying hard! She is not one to cry so I was very worried.. This was about 2 minutes before the pasture walk and hayride... Needless to say, she missed the hay ride... and boy was she crying at bedtime about it. So, I talked to 'the head boss' and we decided to give Sami and Jake their own private hay ride Sunday morning... in the wind. Hey, she was happy - sling and all!

Now, Jake, spent a lot of time on the trampoline with the boy crowd... Not sure what exactly happened to him, but the side of his face by his eye was 'raw'. Hmmm... He said he was fine, no biggy. Jake is our crash test dude. I'm guessing this incident involved some sort of 'getting pulled' across the trampoline... Oh well!


I have tons more photos to share.... catch ya on another post!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Our Customer Appreciation Day is Tomorrow!


This is a shot of some of the lamb sausage & salami we will be taste testing


Gonna Fire up the BBQ! (those are Sexton Ranches T-bones by the way!)



Photo from last year's event...
Dick giving a talk about rotational grazing & use of hotwire & daily moves..


Jake & I on last year's Pasture walk


Sami on the Hay Ride last year

SO!! The past couple of weeks have been hectic, trying to get ready for tomorrow, while at the same time getting all our regular work done (markets, kid soccer & school schedules, entertaining visitors!) for our big day! It's amazing how many projects that have been on the 'back burner' suddenly get elevated to 'very important' status! You know, weed eating, window washing, cleaning the oven, scrub the deck, put your name on the North side of the mailbox!

Tomorrow is the day we get to enjoy time with the people that help us fulfill our mission of providing safe & healthy meat products, and that share our values of sustaining our families, our communities and our lands. We have about 50 of our customers coming out to the ranch to join us for a pasture walk, a hay ride, and then a community meal. We will also make s'mores in the back yard fire pit and sip tasty beers and wines! Our guests will also help us 'taste test' about 10 varieties of lamb sausage we had made... The winning flavors will become new products.

Last year's event was tons of fun! We lucked out on the weather, and had a great time. Folks got to meet our snarky Llama, Shelby when we walked through the sheep, and some helped moved an electric fence and move cattle.

Tomorrow's weather forecast is showers and wind...30%. Oh well! That's life! Bring your ponchos and hats my friends!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

V is for Victoria!


This card is for Victoria, who is in Jr. High, in Texas

I have never met Victoria. But I hope to be part of a 'movement' that sends her well wishes. Victoria is a cheerleader. The girl next door. The girl you hope your daughter turns out to be. Sweet as can be. A cutie pie. She could be your daughter.. and she has cancer. Her teacher is working on a project to get 5,000 cards to her. The deadline is coming up fast!! .... I found out about Victoria from my friend Sandy, via her blog, where she posted a card for Victoria, and with a link to another blog offering some 'blog candy' to those that post cards for Victoria... you can learn more by visiting Courtney's blog.
Please join me in sending Happy Mail to Victoria. And be sure to let her know what state you are from!!!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Blue Monday - Chicken Soup Therapy!


Grandma Marina with Sami and Jake
In her living room, in Freedom, CA. March 2007

Thank you everyone for your sweet notes and condolences regarding our two guard dogs.
Today was my 'blue' day. Our company (The Good Ol' Boys) left this morning, kids went off to school, and I was left alone with my sad little heart. It was very hard to get motivated to do anything productive.

So, tonight we are having Grandma Marina's Chicken Soup for dinner. This recipe is what I use for when one of us is coming down with a cold. It is a wonderful cure! I also use it for comfort food, and right now, I am needing the warm of my Grandma's loving soup to warm my soul.
By the way, my Grandma will be 95 in November!

Here is the recipe:

GRANDMA’S CHICKEN SOUP

Ingredients:

One fryer, cut up

Salt

Head of Garlic

One stalk of celery, cut up

Carrots, cut up

Tomato (one small one, or ½ medium), chopped

Two handfuls of pasta (rice, potato, macaroni or noodles)

½ dozen green onions, chopped

  • Wash chicken and cut up
  • Put water in soup pot and boil
  • Put chicken in pot of boiling water, add salt to taste
  • Add garlic, cleaned and whole
  • After 25 minutes of boiling, add celery, carrots, tomato, pasta and onions
  • Bring to second boil, then let simmer for 15 minutes

I also add tortilla salad wraps to our meal.

Heat corn tortillas in butter. Remove when cooked. Add grated cheese, bite size lettuce pieces and cut up cilantro. Roll up. To eat - hold in one hand, your spoon in the other. Dip salad wrap into soup, take a bite, alternate with spoon and salad! Yum....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

High 5! Congats Sandy!


This is a card for Sandy's '5' Challenge, and a RAK for her!


As you can see, the front 'peeks' through to the inside.

So, one of my ever so talented friends, Sandy, posted a challenge on her blog. She reached 5,000 hits, and put up a 'fabulous 5' challenge.... On the entries, you had to use 5 things:
An image, one piece of patterned paper, one piece of ribbon, one button and one flower.
To double an entry you needed to use the numeral '5' on the card. To be entered 5 times you had to use five of each of the previous items!
So, here is my entry above! Thanks Sandy!!! Congratulations!!!!

Supplies:
1. Patterned paper and card stock from Sept. Self Addressed Kit. Note: 5 strips of different patterned papers on front of card.
2. Stamps: Purple Onion Designs (note: the word 'high' is 4 separate stamps, a scallop stamp, a '5' stamp and an exclamation stamp! That makes 7 stamps...)
3. 5 little Prima flowers on 2nd patterned paper strip.
4. 5 Stampin' Up buttons; three on the third pp strip; 1 on 4th, and 1 on 5th.
6. Two colors of Stampin' Up ribbon, a total of 6 pieces... I used two colors per bow.
7. SU markers used to color 'High' letters
8. SU White Uniball pen to color in the '5' and exclamation point.
9. On inside of card: one more button, and I stamped the scallop again, on another piece of pp.

So! That's a wrap! Go to Sandy's blog to check out the awesome RAK she is giving to her winners! Woo Hoo!!!

A Sad Day Here - The Iron Horse Strikes


Duke. Mr. Duke. The Dukester, Dukemyster,
Dukaramma Jamma..


Sami and Curious George - er, Georgette!


Where do I start? Do I go straight to the bad news? Or, break the news gently.....
I'll try to choose my words carefully...

Yesterday was a long day, to say the least. Up at 3:13 am and left at 4:30 am for the Boise farmer's market. I knew it was going to be a 'whopper' of a day.. The night before, Friday, while I was in bed the phone rang. My husband came into our room (I was in bed - early to bed, early to rise!) to let me know my father in law, Hank Sexton and his friend since 2nd grade, Don Otterson were in route from California and should be arriving the next day.... Excuse me? Couldn't I have had some more 'prep' time? You know the drill... clean the house, change bed linens, shop for groceries... Oh well. We would have to make due....

And, before your minds race ahead of me, no, the bad news has nothing to do with my two 'Good Ol' Boys!'... Thank God for some miracles....

So. Jake and I got home about 4:30 pm from Boise. Sami won her Soccer game (which I missed - more bad news, but they won - some good news!). The Boys hadn't arrived yet, so I proceeded to get busy with the 'quick clean'. I also checked the phone messages... That is when the dark clouds arrived...

The first 'bad news' message was from our tenant living in the Farm House at the south-east end of the ranch. It was about 8:30 am, and he wanted to know if we had 2 guard dogs missing, he spotted two near the railroad tracks... The railroad tracks run along our eastern border for about 3 miles.. the entire length. I was confused... what was he saying about the dogs? Then, another message. "Dick, I took the collar off the smaller dog, and they are your dogs. I moved them away from the tracks."

What??? Was he saying our dogs got hit? Our beautiful dogs? Duke and Curious George, who just arrived 2 weeks ago??? My sweet buddies who helped me move sheep this last Tuesday?

My heart is broken. There is no other way to say this. Our sweet guard dogs chased the train, and the train 'won' the race. They were both killed...

Today is Sunday. Sami and Dick left about 30 minutes ago for Milton-Freewater. A 5 hour round trip. They are going to see if they can find two more guard dogs to bring home. They will return about 5 pm. The place they are going has dogs that are 'not as domesticated' as our sweet two were. These ones spend the summers in the mountains with sheep, and will be more timid toward humans, and hopefully, the "Iron Horse". Oh. When Dick went to get our sweet babies away from the tracks, he made a discovery... George was not a he. George was a she!!!!!

As a side note, when we moved here 8 years ago we brought 3 guard dogs with us: Sparky (my special pet who was my partner in crimes and walked with me when I was pregnant with Sam Sam); Vince (a huge male dog that was a true worker!) and a young female, Barkley.... Shortly after we moved here Barkley was also killed by the train. Some dogs chase cars, and in our case, trains. Unfortunately, the bigger beast usually wins...

I'll keep you posted on our new arrival(s) another day. OH! Our other Boys (the 80 year old human variety) arrived safe and sound last night. They arrived at 5:00 pm - a half hour after I got home. My Father in Law broke the ice by wanting to know if it was party time!' (it's five o'clock somewhere!!!). On Dick's list for his trip home is to buy 'more red wine' and snacks for this evening. The 'boys' just about emptied my supply. They took off on an adventure this morning and will be back tonight, promising to return by 'at party time'! I'm sure I'll have a story to share with you later! My father in law is a hoot! I will say it is nice to have their free spirit attitudes to take my mind off Duke and Georgette.

Peace be with Duke and Curious Georgette. I hope their spirits are with us, guarding us, and that they realized how much their short time with us was special, and that their spirits will always have a special place where they are welcome to roam. Want to hear an interesting thing? Last night about 8:30 pm all the dogs howled, a sad, mournful song. I have to believe it was a farewell to our two angels.

Thank you for listening..

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Recipe Thursday - Lamb Shanks Drennan

Below is a wonderful recipe passed on to us from one of our Baker lamb customers, Marleen B. But, before I share the recipe with you, a few notes:

Lamb Shanks, for those of you novices out there, are the lower portion of 'the leg', below what you and I would call a knee. This is the cut used for such delicacies as Oso Buco, or Baby Legs. Restaurants love to serve lamb shanks standing up on the plate, meaning, the bone is at the top, and the meatier end sits on your plate... add mash potatoes, and yummers... a tasty dish!

You always want to braise Lamb Shanks, to seal in the juices, and by all means never separate the meat from the bone prior to cooking (huge no no). The bone is what adds the extra tasty flavor, as in any meat dish. Why people are ordering meat cuts w/o the bone is beyond me!

Here is Marleen's recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Lamb Shanks (Sexton Ranches Natural Lamb of course!)
  • 1/4 lb butter
  • 2 onions - sliced
  • 1/2 C dry white wine
  • 1/2 C tomato juice
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger (or, treat yourself to freshly grated!)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 C Chicken broth
Directions:
Melt butter in large skillet. Brown shanks well and place in a casserole dish - keep butter in skillet. Saute onions in skilled and remaining butter. Add dry wine and tomato juice, paprika, powdered ginger, salt, pepper and chicken broth. Cook and stir mixture for a few minutes, then pour over shanks. Cover and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours or until tender - aka, when the meat falls freely off the bone...

Marleen's recipe also suggested that you 'remove fat from shanks' prior to browning.
HUGE NOTE: I would not! If you are eating a grass fed meat product, the FAT is where your healthy Omega 3 fatty acids are..meaning, your cancer fighting friends. Quit killing yourselves...if you are trying to cut your fat intake, quit eating all those nasty white bread products! And, besides, the fat is also a big flavor contributor..


We love lamb shanks cooked in a crock pot. It is definitely one of my favorite Fall recipes. I add potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and some favorite spices! Check out our website www.sextonranches.com for our ranch tested lamb shank recipe as well.

And, don't forget the red wine... another one of my cancer fighting buddies!



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Working Dogs & One Eyed Louie


Ernest giving baby Sami a kiss! (Jan. 1999)


Ernest checking out our new 'pup' Sami!


Meet "One Eyed Louie", Louie for short


One of the McNab puppies... Deep in thought!


Two McNab puppies, 'herding' the sprinkler.


So the question has been raised, 'what type of dogs are your herd dogs and how many do you have?'. Our herd dogs are McNabs, a short haired breed, similar to border collies, but ever so much smarter and less 'wired' for sound.. (ok, just my biased opinion!). The guard dogs, Great Peyrranies (sp), (which you met, Duke & Curious George) do not herd animals. They protect them, and think they are part of the herd. McNabs on the other hand, like to circle around a group of critters (chickens, for example) and keep them together, and once together, lie down and stare at them (as if saying, don't make a move or someones going to get hurt). If puppies, they do more damage, like chew on your favorite chicken!!! (you have met Goldie).

We rec'd our first McNab dog as a wedding gift... Ernest came into our lives as a fat little puppy... so Dick named him after Ernest Tubbs... We have been married 12 years, and Mr. Ernest, or Ernesto, as he is lovingly called, is now semi-retired. He goes with Dick on the quad, but has to be lifted into the back of a pickup, his hearing is getting bad, and he has lots of white fur around his face and throughout in his coat... he has even had a few lumps removed. Ernest is very much like an old cowboy.... or rancher... He won't ever truly retire, he will hang around and tell everyone else how to do their jobs, he gets cranky, he is stiff in the morning (boy this sounds more and more like my husband!) and most likely he will die doing what he loves, being outdoors, under God's watchful care. Ernest, if you recall, is the dog who refused to go with me yesterday morning to move the sheep.

Ernesto is definitely a family member. He got to kiss Sami when she came home from the hospital, just 3 days old! He patiently endured the pulling and hanging on by our kids when they were both toddlers, he has kept a silent, watchful eye over the kids as they have grown up, and he has been their sidekick through all sorts of adventures...I'm sure he knows a secret or two... They might not realize it, but I sure do! Sigh....I'm going off on a tangent. OK, back to working dogs.

We only have one other 'human' employee other than my husband and I (and our two kids). Ramon works full time, year-round. In addition to Ramon, we have 5 or 6 working dogs, which are also considered employees! Without them we would definitely be hurting. They have gone the distance to bring back stray animals that can be seen on the horizon, they help herd animals down the highway, they work in the corrals, and basically start their day at 6am and end about 6pm. They also get free housing, food, and the occasional 'free beef' or 'free lamb' as compensation.
Here is our list of McNab employees:
  • Ernesto (the Ranch Manager)
  • One Eyed Louie (he got kicked by a cow, and lost his eyesight in one eye)
  • Lefty (we used to call him little Lou, because he looks just like Louie, but it got too confusing)
  • Tubbies (Ernest's likeness; hard to tell if he is Dick's dog or Sami's dog)
  • Joe (not a worker, Jake's dog, and the one that helped chew on Goldie)
  • Miley (not a worker, name after Hannah Montana's character, and Sami's dog)
  • Maggie (the mom to 2 litters, Joe's sister, this is Sami's first dog, and Goldie's nemesis)
  • Annie (she doesn't work either - Sami's dog)
Sami is in charge of taking care of Maggie when she (Sami) and Dick agree that Ernest and Maggie are going to have puppies. When the puppies are born, she takes care of them, and raises them with the intent of selling them. As you can see from the list above, she falls in love with them and has a hard time selling them.

I'm glad that Ernest is the father of our puppies... Hint's of his personality and looks are throughout his puppies, and that will keep him with us for a very long time, and yes, after he is gone. I am having a hard time with 'the inevitable' in terms of Ernest's life. Have you read 'Marley and Me?'. Awesome book for for those of us that have a family member that just happens to be a dog!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Trailing of the Sheep!


RECAP OF ANDI'S GREAT ADVENTURE!

Photo #1: Moving the sheep out of the 'hot' pen.

Each night the sheep are penned up inside a hot wired pen, with the guard dogs. Purpose: to protect them from coyotes. In the background is the quad I drove, with just 1 helper - Lefty. 'Ol' what's his name' Ernest, decided I was not worthy of his assistance. Recap: I managed just fine to start the quad, load up 1 working dog, drive out to the pen, turn off the energizer, open the gate, and move out the herd! Woo hoo! Step 1: done!


Duke! Such a sweet dog.
Can I tell you how wonderful our new guard dog is???
He and Curious George are very tender, sweet and awesome!

Duke and George stay with the sheep. They get penned up at night with them, and move out into the fields with them during the day. Duke is 'to be led' along the quad, with a rope lead. Mainly, so he comes along with the herd and doesn't go off on his own adventures. Remember, Duke is our new 4 year old Guard Dog, and George is the baby. Recap: So, my instructions were to 'lead' Duke with a rope. Good thing the lead was around my wrist. Every time I tried to cross a ditch, or did something funky, I got a good yank - which told me poor Duke was at the other end! Hopefully I got the worse end... He is so darn sweet! Curious George follows Duke wherever he goes...


Photo #3: Move through first field
Phew! I got the sheep through the first gate. Had to find a good route for the quad, too many ditches! Lefty helped herd a little bit. For the most part, he stayed on the back of the quad and game me kisses. What a lucky girl I am!


Photo #4: Move through 2nd field
Yeah! This was the end of the line. Through the last field, and then push the sheep far enough back so the guard dogs are with them and everyone is 'content' for the day. I did it! Woo Hoo!


Photo #5: Curious George and Duke enjoying a snack!
I brought a can of dog food to treat the guard dogs. I think they like this idea! Here they are, enjoying their 'good boy' treats!

So, that's a wrap folks. I did it! The gates are left open, because during the day, the sheep will gradually make their way back to bed down for the evening. Dick will pen them up again, with Duke and George, turn on the hot fence, and we repeat this morning's adventure... It took perhaps 45 minutes, max. Duke and George might come back on their own, searching for more food. If so, they have food and water waiting behind the brown shed, outside of the yard. They are learning that the yard is a 'no' zone... so we go visit them out in the fields...

Wondering what the rest of the day entails? Here's my day in it's entirety:
  • Wake up at 4:30 am. If cold, stay snuggled until 4:45! Prep kitchen for breakfast 'crew'
  • Start 1 load of laundry
  • stretches and coffee!
  • Wake up kids, 5:45 am
  • Feed kids
  • Check backpacks - snacks, homework, soccer supplies, etc.
  • Get kids on bus, 6:40 am
  • Feed chickens, check goats, cats, dogs. Note: Kid pets, not mine!
  • Check garden for frost damage
  • today's assignment: Move sheep!
  • More coffee - toes and fingers are cold! Brr! It was low 30's out there...
  • Goal: Clean house: 2-3 hrs
  • Goal: Yard Work: 2-3 hrs
  • Goal: Work on grants 2-3 hrs
  • Meet husband in town. Unload lamb sausage at storage freezer
  • Pick up kids 2:15pm
  • Kid hair cuts: 3:30 pm
  • Drive home - chores, homework, prep dinner
  • take son back to town, soccer game 6pm
  • Get home 7:30pm. Dinner!
  • Make sure kids have showered, clothes out for tomorrow.
  • Bedtime for kids: 8pm. Help with their prayers.
  • Bedtime for mommy: shortly there after!
  • Thank God for another wonderful day on this great place and for such a great life!
Say an extra prayer - September 11th.
Thank you to all the men and women and families that have made personal sacrifices so that we can enjoy the life we have. We are truly lucky to have the freedom to pick our careers, our lifestyles and where we want to live in this Country. I, for one, am truly grateful, and humbled by what other's give up on our behalf. God bless those that have suffered great losses, and God Speed for those that continue to sacrifice and protect us.
Thanks be to God
Amen

Focus On the Journey


A Love Note?

Focus on the journey, not the destination.
Joy is found not in finishing an activity
but in doing it. - Greg Anderson

So! The photo above is the note my husband left me. He is taking a load of our direct marketing beef and lambs to the processor in Idaho.. Oh boy... These adventures are usually when 'something goes wrong' for me!
After I get the kids on the bus... I'll do my best to jump on the quad, take a couple herding dogs (Ernest and Lefty), then get the sheep out of the 'hot wired' pen they are in, tie up our new guard dog Duke, and move the entire herd across the ranch.. The kids depart at 6:40 am... I should start at 7am, and be done in 30 minutes, max....
Any bets on how long it takes me and what catastrophes await? Here are the possibilities:
  • Quad doesn't start - because I have never driven this one!
  • Sheep run off to a different field
  • Sheep scatter in all directions
  • Herd dogs don't listen to me, and we move sheep somewhere else
  • Guard dog refuses to lead
  • Guard dogs ditch the sheep and follow me back!
  • I zap myself with the electric fence (not fun... one time when I did this I thought my thumb blew off!)
I'm not trying to be negative or set myself up for 'trouble'.. It just happens in these situations when I am left alone with a ranch task!

Like, say, the time I was given the task of getting water to ewes one twenty below December day! OK.. Maybe it was just 20 degrees.. But it was cold!! The job was to drag hoses from inside the pump house to a shed and fill water troughs... Just my luck, it was the coldest day we had that December, and just my luck, I left the pump house door open, the water froze up, and the water to the house 'quit' as well! THIS was discovered after I dragged all the hoses, to the shed, and kept undoing them one by one and turning water off and on to see which one was 'the problem'. The problem was the water was not flowing baby!!! I was sweating from my hike through the snow - back and forth, back and forth...

I'll let you know later what happens with my sheep and guard dog drive!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Happy Mail! Slider Card!


Side View - Notice the 'tab' the the left


Front View, when Tab is pulled, the sentiment is revealed!


Front of Card. Pull tab is the lovely 'bling' at the top!

Check this awesome card out! I rec'd it in the mail from Sandy (colourful - see her blog in my list!). She had a tutorial posted sometime ago on how to create one of these slider babies, and I commented about 'needing to see what I was doing'. Well! Looks like I can now 'see to believe'. How did she know I was one of those Missouri gals???

Thanks Sandy! Guess I got some work to do!

To learn how to make one, go to her blog and click on her 'tutorials' option!

Recipe Thursday - German Short Ribs

OK folks! As promised I am adding a new category to my posts, 'Recipe Thursdays'. I figure most of you shop for groceries on Fridays or Saturdays, so if I post on Wednesday, this will show up in your Thursday mail (for subscribers).

This recipe comes from one of our Boise customers, Elaine K. She purchased our grass-fed ribs, and the next time I saw her she talked about how awesome they turned out! Of course, I just had to get the recipe! The meat falls off the bones folks! The reason I like this recipe is it is an 'on top of the stove' one, meaning, any of us can do it. I have another fave that requires a slow roaster, yet it is super simple!

Here is Elaines' recipe:

German Short Ribs (from Sunset Cook Book of Favorite Recipes)

2 ½ to 3 lbs of beef short ribs (try Sexton Ranches Grass Fed Beef!)

flour, salt and pepper to taste

2 tbs oil

1 or 2 med onions thinly sliced ( I used one)

1 cup dry red wine

½ cup chili sauce or catsup (I mixed some of both together)

3 tbs each brown sugar and apple cider vinegar

1 tbs Worcestershire

1 ½ tbs flour with ½ cup flour

Dredge the short ribs in seasoned flour. Heat oil in a Dutch Oven add short ribs and cook slowly until well browned all over. Add onions and brown lightly. Then add the wine, chili sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire. Cover and cook over very low heat for until meat is tender, about 2 hours.

This is all I did. I didn’t keep the sauce. I then served the short ribs which were quite sweet and tasty with corn bread and fried okra.

The recipe says to remove from heat, cool and refrigerate. Then lift off all the fat. Heat and stir in the flour blended with water. Cook until thickened and meat is heated.

All comments are from Elaine. I tossed in the one about our beef (well, that is what she used!).. Thanks, Elaine!


Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Guard Dog Arrival!


Dick trying to convince 'Curious George' that his new home is AOK!


Jake with Duke

Sami and Dick drove 8 hours yesterday to Washington to purchase and bring home our two new guard dogs, Curious George (a 4 month old male puppy) and Duke (a four year old male). These dogs are Great Pyrenees and their job is to protect livestock. They are for the most part known for their large size and mellow attitude, unless you are a coyote or stranger. They will be staying with the sheep to prevent coyote kills, which we have been experiencing once again.

Sami named Curious George. Duke came named. George barked all night. For a puppy, his voice is definitely a lot deeper than our older livestock dogs! And, George is also bigger!

Notice the size of Duke compared to Jake, my 8 year old!

First Day of School - Updated


Here are Sami and Jake on the front steps of our little school!

We have 80 kids at our little rural K-6th grade school. Sami and Jake are
now in 4th and 3rd grade and they are in the same classroom
and have the same teacher. And yes, that is an obnoxious dragon on Jake's shirt!
It's a skateboard dude shirt. Don't ask.
Sami has a boy's shirt as well as her 'fashion boots'. Long story, but each year, during our shopping extravaganza Sami requests 'fashion boots'. We will keep this up as long as we can! Her closest girlfriend is a camo loving gal, and Sami is slowly crossing over to the 'dress down' side... RATS.


Here they are with their teacher! Mrs. Black

My kids are lucky. They have an awesome teacher! Sami had Mrs. Black last year (combined 3rd and 4th grade class). I love how she has the door decorated in a Western Theme.. Mrs. Black is also a scrapbooker.. A gal after my own heart! She totally appreciates our handmade gifts!

Update....
It's 12:20 pm and the house is quiet. I don't know about this back to school stuff. I got up at 4:30 am to prep breakfast, get the kid's snacks ready, and drive them to school. I ran my errands, came home, and here I am. Tired, lonely, and melancholy for summer. Both Dick and I feel like we got the short end of the stick. We were just getting started with our summer fun! Jake is the only one who was counting the days for school to start... not that he is 'into' school, he just misses his buddies. We don't have any pals close by. And Sami is perfectly content with her critters and helping her dad with ranch projects.

Sigh...
Here we go! So long summer, seems we just got into the groove and now it's back to the grind.. Rats. We love summer... the next two months are going to be crazy! School, soccer and still doing the Markets... run mommy, run! I am so looking forward to November!

Found this on my daily Mary E. calendar:

There is a garden in every childhood,
an enchanted place where colors are brighter,
the air softer, and the morning
more fragrant than ever again.

Seem's just right for a summer sendoff!


Monday, September 3, 2007

G Thanks Card



'G Thanks friend' Card.



A closer view.

Supplies Used: Card stock and patterned paper from Self-Addressed July Kit. 'G' is My Minds Eye monogram; Thanks hardware kit (forget source); 'friend' SU sentiment stamp; white flourish (on left side, hard to see) SU; and brown flourish POD stamp. Inks: Two sided ribbon: unknown. MM star clip. SU white craft and chocolate chip.

I am trying to get caught up on my cards! Lots of Thank-yous to send, as well as Thinking of Yous! Gotta get crackin' by golly! If you have any questions regarding the 'acronyms' let me know! I will post a separate 'post' about my commonly used supply list acronyms.

Note: You can click on the images to get a 'real up close' view as well!

Pay It Forward Challenge




Two of my stamping buddies, Dawn and Sandy, are hosting 'Pay it Forward' swaps. I just couldn't resist! In order to play, I have to host a Pay it Foward challenge as well! ... so here it goes:

The first five people to post a comment on this thread will receive a handmade item and some stamped images via snail mail; I will need your email address so I can contact you for your street address. I'll mail your package within a week of your comment.

The only fine print: You need to make a Pay It Forward offer on your own blog too! If you don't have a blog, now is the time to get crackin'!!!

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Food Art - Garden Style



Some goodies from my garden!

Happy Sunday! I woke this morning with some sort of crud.. Yuk! Finally feeling better. Jake had a bout of it as well. It's 5:00 pm. We are both still in our jammies... no need to change now!

I'm getting into my 'clean out the clutter' mind set. Gotta make room for all the new stuff, right? Spent 4 hours this morning purging junk in my bedroom closet.. Which is where all sorts of stuff lands (outgrown kid clothes, holiday decor that never makes it back upstairs, presents I forgot about). I have lots of big heavy duty trash bags full of crud in my SUV right now! Yeah! Books, magazines, my old clothes, kids old clothes. The loose Easter, Christmas and fall decor is back upstairs. I found a baseball I 'forgot' to give Jake for one of his birthdays! Hmm, wasn't it two years ago we gave him baseball stuff? Or was it three? I even found my 'old' jewelry! We are still unpacking stuff from our move here 8 years ago. If I don't miss it, I don't need it, right?

Can't wait to tackle Jake's room next! HA! I made an attempt, but he was right there supervising... dang. School starts Tuesday. I'll make my move then.

So, just sending a garden smiley face! Hope everyone had a wonderful Sunday!

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!


Sami and Me with our Fake Hair!


Here we are again, a side view


The boys at the Clinique Counter, Good taste, eh?


Oh, yeah... Margaritaville!
And, mommy only had one drink!

OK! So, got home Monday night from our camping trip, then woke at 4am Tuesday to pack again, do laundry, clean up the camp stuff, get all my meat orders organized, deliver meat to a store, gas the rig, and hit the road for the annual school shopping trip! Did I mention I forgot my driver's license? Oh yeah. Left it w/ my fishing gear. Dang! I had to pay for a new one! I thought I was so good to notice it missing and 'wanted to do right' by getting a temporary replacement. You know, like a temporary credit card? Why on earth would I want to lose an hour drive time by going back home to get it? Silly DMV people... they made me buy a new one! RATS! And, of course the photo is horrid. I had 'leftover' hair from the previous night's shower. And I am packing 10 extra pounds! I could not tell a lie.. I haven't had to redo my license data in, well, 9 years!

Anyway, we stayed 2 nights in Boise, (Tues & Wed) and I successfully talked another mom into coming along with her kids...don't know if they had as much fun as us, but I would have to say, I love my city fix! The plan was to take in some fun as well. Roaring Springs Water Park, the Zoo, and the Discovery Center. The hotel had an indoor pool, and the kids did not want to go anywhere else, unless it involved water. Unfortunately, Boise started school a week earlier, and thus the water park was only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Now that was a big disappointment! And I so wanted to wear my bathing suit in public and show off my thigh sharonas (wrong!).

Let's start with the fake hair. Sami and I both love to play 'dress up'. She's a girly girl. Thank you Lord! We played at this little kiosk in the mall and got dolled up. Did I buy the fake hair? Oh yeah. What can I say? I have been experiencing some serious bad hair days! Can I get it to work the way the sales chick did? Heck no! Dang! Gonna need some lessons... I'll be packin' the hair back to Boise for some sit down consultation(s)... may take a few... the hair piece resembles a dead critter when it's 'sitting' in the car. Oh. And Sami is so disappointed I did not buy her her own fake hair. WE have to share!

And who doesn't love Clinique? Man! Once every 3 or 4 years I need a fix. This trip was a definite 'fix it' trip! Just a few items: eye wrinkle stuff and new eye color. I also got some new running/walking shoes and a workout 'ensemble' for my morning walk, slash 'run a few steps' routine! Again, another once every 3 or 4 year fix.

We also got Dick his birthday goodies... a new pocket knife, diamond steel, and running/walking shoes for him! Not that he runs..just like me. More like good cozy shoes for walking about, when he's not wearing work boots. His other pair were killing him when we were hiking!

And of course, the mega school shopping. Score! Done deal. Winter coats, clothes, Jammie's, cozy clothes and soccer stuff. Off the list!

The finale. A beautiful Margarita with dinner. Love a good cocktail after a hard day of shopping.

We never made it to the zoo or the discovery center either. We did go to Petco on the way home. Sami is on another critter mission! This time she wants a little white mouse. Gads. So for being such a good shopping assistant she got a little ball to put her future mouse in. The kind that rolls about your home freely. You can also get a race track set, just for the ball. Hilarious! I'm sure our three orange cats are going to have a field day with this next critter. Jake picked out a little skateboard guy for his toy. He really wants a game boy, or computer games. Dick and I both refuse to go down the gameboy path of destruction! I know some of you moms love them for travel, or keeping kids busy at restaurants or wherever, but boy, we are not going down that road!

Anyway, we saw all sorts of critters at Petco and figured it 'was right up there' with a zoo (Phew! that was a close one!). Jake loved the tarantula. Say What??? No! You can not have a tarantula! Why? Because I said so, that's why! NO, they aren't nice little pets!

So, we hit the road to come home and get Dick's bday dinner made! Prime rib, baked potatoes, green beans and cake. Turns out we didn't' have to rush. I had dinner ready about 5:30 pm and Mr. Sexton did not get home until 7pm. He was at the stinkin' livestock sale! 'It's Thursday' after all! The Prime Rib ran out last night. Saturday. Rats. Guess I have to cook tonight...

I do love a good shopping trip, but alas, there is no place like home! Hotel rooms get a little cramped. I like my space and sure have lots of it right here on the ranch. Nothing like breathing in the fresh air, having our windows open all night, and just having our nice, peaceful life.