Archive: January 2011

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What To Do With A Mess

posted by Chelsea

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This weekend, the girls and I joined Buck feeding cows and otherwise take care of things on the ranch.  

On Saturday, there was a cow having trouble calving.  Without going into too much gory detail, lets just say the whole calf-pulling-event wasn’t a pretty sight.   By the time it was all said and done, Buck was completely covered in all sorts of cow-fluids and not only was he not looking his best, but he also wasn’t smelling his best.  The girls and I loaded up in the pickup and Buck, who was several steps behind us, made his way over our direction.  As we watched him coming towards the rig, Lucy wrinkled up her nose and said “Mama, I think Daddy needs a wet-wipe!”  

Personally, I think a firehose would’ve been more effective, but a wet wipe was a good start. :-)


This is part of Sweet Shot Tuesday over at My3Boybarians.  You can go there to find all sorts of wonderful pictures/blogs to browse. 

Recipe Recommends

posted by Chelsea 

Since we no longer have an “official” cooking section here at Cowgirl Clippings, I thought I’d share a couple of recipes from some other folks who do.  I tried both of these in the past week and I give them both my highest recommendation.  

The first is from Ina Garten (can you go wrong with The Barefoot Contessa?!) and is for Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes:

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The second is for White Bean Enchiladas.  I added a little chicken and a couple of garlic cloves, but otherwise did just exactly as “Thy Hand” instructed. Yum!


P.S. I’m not recommending these recipes as a meal combination, just thought I’d tell you about them and give you the opportunity to test them for yourself :-).  But technically, if you do, your family will call it a “Happy Meal!”

With Thanksgiving

by Charlotte

Psalm 121:1-3 I will lift my eyes to the hills-from whence comes my help?  My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved;  He who keeps you will not slumber.

Things I’m thankful for today:

these hills. . .

That I can literally lift my eyes to:

this man.

these kids.

this house.

these horses.

this dog.

Truly, my cup runneth over.

Rule of Thirds

by Charlotte

Farmgirl Paints is taking a photography class and is sharing what she is learning.  On Wednesday she talked about the Rule of thirds.  I noticed that this photo . . .

follows the rule of thirds.  Plus, I recently decided I really like this photo and even though it is on another post this week, I wanted to point it out to all of you (and share it with Farmgirl Paints).

Exciting Business!

posted by Chelsea

Before I can tell you our exciting news, I have to tell you a a couple of things to lead into it.  This will give those of you who don’t know me a better understanding and those of you who do know me, a fun reminder and  you’ll probably even learn a couple of things you didn’t know (?!). 

First, I grew up riding horses– was an active part of 4-H, and then did the rodeo thing.  I rode with Kathy at Needles View Ranch and it was there that I fell in love with the whole ranching lifestyle.  I dreamed about marrying a cowboy- someone who shared my passion for riding and being outside and all of that.  Here’s an excerpt from a journal entry, one I wrote to my future husband, when I was 17.  Before I type, I need to tell you that I’m fully aware of the fact that it’s a little cheezy, but I’m just a little cheezy in general, and so I’m going to brave it and share the whole thing, in its cheezy entirety, with you. 

“Future husband… I hope you’re a cowboy- I was out riding tonight and it was so beautiful out there.  I sat by the pond and listened to the birds and the sound of Pard (my horse) munching away on the grass and Roxy (my dog) jumping through the cat tails.  It was so gorgeous- I couldn’t see any houses or hear any cars and I know there is just no other place on the planet I’d rather be than out there.  I hope you’re a cowboy because I know you’ll appreciate all of that as much as me.   I know you’ll undestand that part of me and behind God, that whole thing comes in a close second. I’m at peace on my horse and out there where there aren’t any cars and the hustle and bustle of people.  Cowboys march to a different drummer than most and that’s who I want to march with (?!) I’m praying for you tonight, cowboy or not.”

So… having read that, fast forward four years.  Our family friend, Jean “set me up” with her cowboy nephew, Buck.  Buck’s dad had been a buckaroo cowboy and Buck had the privilege of growing up on some of the last really large and remote ranches in Northeastern Oregon.  So, because of our common interests and faith, we were set up by Aunt Jean and there’s a little more to it than that, but for today that’s all you get.  Long story short, we went on a few dates and I was falling pretty hard for him.  I went out to ride with Buck on the ranch he was working for.  We had to move cows and it was November and it was BITTER COLD.  It was so cold that we chose to walk instead of ride, just trying to stay warm.  We were walking next to each other on a ridge line far from civilization and I looked over at him and I said, “So, what are your goals in life?  What is it you want to do?”  And he looked at me, and  at the cows in front of us, and the horses behind us, and  his dogs below us, and he said, “This.  I want to do this.”  And then he hesistated and he added with a cute little cowboy grin, “….with you.”  Then I think I blushed and smiled or something.  And then he braved it and asked, “How about you?”   And I said, “I’m really good with that.”  And then we both knew, for sure and for certain, that not only were we falling for each other, but we had the same dreams.  And then, you know when you’re really cold and your face gets sort of numb and you can’t tell that you have snot on your face? Well, Buck had a big line of snot right across his face and I was pretty horrified that I had to tell him about it.  But that’s just a little sidenote, not actually an important detail.

Since that conversation 7 years ago, Buck has worked on 3 ranches, started his own weed spraying business in the summer months, and I’ve been doing the mom and nurse thing.  Silly as it seems, it hasn’t been a house with a pool, or a corporate job with lots of perks, or a dream vacation every year that we’ve been wanting and working towards… we just want our own cows.    And the exciting business that I get to tell you about this morning is that we signed papers….

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this week on our very own herd of mama cows!  April 15th we’ll take over ownership on 109 pairs and 6 bulls, and our very own United States Forest Service permit for summer grazing.  

That being said, we’re just feeling pretty crazy blessed with the opportunity ahead of us.  We’ve tried to think of all sorts of ways to “make” this happen over the past seven years and we can honestly say that everything we’ve thought to finagle doesn’t match up to this opportunity that presented itself to us a couple of months ago.   On the evening of December 20th, Buck and I realized this cow deal was “probably going to work”- the numbers were crunching how we needed them to and the financial institution we were working with was giving us the thumbs up.  We woke up on the 21st excited and a little shocked.  Tea in hand, I grabbed my “Jesus Calling” devotional and started reading outloud to Buck, (something I don’t usually do), and this is what it said,

My plan for your life is unfolding before you.  Sometimes the road you are traveling seems blocked, or it opens up so painfully slowly that you must hold yourself back.  Then, when the time is right, the way before you suddenly clears– through no effort of your own.  What you have longed for and worked for I present to you freely, as pure gift.  You feel awed by the ease with which I operate in the world, and you glimpse My Power and My Glory….”

I teared right up and while Buck isn’t a tearing up kind of cowboy, he was pretty blown away and asked me to “read that again!”  We believe God put this desire in our hearts and as earthly and temporal as cows seem, we know we’re called to this life(style) and that this is only the beginning of hundreds of ministry possibilities ahead of us.  We feel like God alone opened the doors of opportunity and it is to Him we  give the praise.  

That being said, we now have on our plates, if we didn’t already, A LOT OF WORK AND A LOT OF DEBT… and we just couldn’t be happier about it.


So Much Help!

posted by Chelsea

I’ve had so much help this week….

I had so much help pushing the cart at the grocery store that “we” knocked down an entire display of movies…. and the cheerio boxes behind it.

I had so much help folding laundry that I re-folded the same clean towels three times.

I had so much help dumping flour into the cupcake batter that there was more flour out of the bowl than in the bowl.

I had so much help frosting the cupcakes that there was more on their mouths than in their mouths (nevermind the cupcakes?)…


I had so much help from the spectators of my showering that a shower for one turned into a shower for three.

I had so much help re-organizing my make-up that… I can’t find it.

I had so much help washing the floors that there was more water on the floor (and therefore on all three of us) than in my bucket.

And finally, I had so much help with the dishes that Kate…


became one.


It’s a good thing my help is so dang cute or they might just be fired!


Letting Go

by Charlotte

Being a homemaker was an honorable profession when I was growing up, but it wasn’t glamorous.  My mom was (still is) a homemaker and she did (still does) a good job of it, but I wanted glamorous.  I chose cleaning the milk barn ( a 45 minute chore) to washing dishes (a 20 minute chore).  I wanted to learn how to ride, not bake or cook.  The only thing I wanted to decorate was my horse.  I played with my dog more than I played with dolls.

Now, I am a homemaker.  And it still isn’t glamorous.  I find myself “just getting by” in the area of homemaking.  I love my job and, given an opportunity to do something else, I would chose to do what I am doing.  But it isn’t glamorous, so I do just enough to get the job done.  I have disciplined myself enough that the family has clean clothes.  And most of the time they are folded and put away in a timely fashion.  My house is somewhat clutter free and decorated.  Meals are usually cooked, but as you might have guessed by my own nick-name, Last Minute Jane, they aren’t an event.

I was reading the blog “humble pie” recently and Lissa was talking about a cooking star saying that she “just loved to feed people”.  I read the rest of the blog and how excited Lissa was to get started “feeding people” and I was a little convicted.

I don’t do any of my aspects of homemaking with excellence.  I “just get by”.  I had to stop myself and ask why.  Why do I choose not to excel at a job I have chosen to do?  It seems silly really.  A simple question that I could not answer.  But then it hit me.  My identity has always been as an outside girl.  I didn’t want to lose that.  I didn’t want to embrace homemaking because then people might not see me as that outside-sort-of-girl.  Kind of silly when it is all typed out, but honest.

Then two verses started swirling around in my head.

1 Corinthians 10:31  Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

And . . .

Luke 16:10  He who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much.

I know the last verse may not make much sense in this context as Jesus is talking about being faithful with money and that transferring to being faithful with heavenly riches, but to me house “stuff” is little.  Anyone can do it.  In my mind, it doesn’t take someone with special talents to do house “stuff”.  (I realize it does take someone special to be exceptional at homemaking.)  I don’t put any effort into doing my house “stuff”.  I am not being faithful with my “least”.

I titled this post “Letting Go” so I will bring it back to that thought.  What am I letting go?  I am letting go of my pride and prejudice against house “stuff”.  I am letting go of  wanting everyone to see me as an outside girl.  I am letting go of “just getting by”.  Why?  So I can embrace something else.  I want to let go of all that so I can embrace being a homemaker of excellence.  I want to be faithful in the “least”.  I want to do all for the glory of God, not just what I think is glamorous.


Same Boat

by Charlotte

This year I am trying to focus on others more.  I thought I’d start right at the top (or next to it) of my priorities list: my husband.  It is easy for me to look around the house and see how he could help me, but I haven’t taken the time to think what I could do to help him on a daily basis.  I figure I cook him two meals a day (he gets his own lunch most days – bless him), do his laundry, take care of his children, and make his bed.  That should be enough.  Shouldn’t it?

Both my husband and I were raised in families where there were “girl” chores and “boy” chores.  The father worked outside to run the ranch (boy chores)and the mother took care of the house and the kids that weren’t old enough to help (girl chores).  When the “boy” work was done for the day the father came in (preferably to a hot dinner) and put his feet up for the rest of the night.  In my family, girls were expected to help with stuff outside and then come inside and help their mother.  It always annoyed me to come in from working cows with cow manure all over my pants and have to help cook supper while my brothers plopped down in chairs with books.  I secretely vowed that my family would be different.

With none of the kids really old enough to help yet, my family isn’t any different.  I take care of the house and the kids and my husband works (outside with the animals).  When my husband is done working for the day, he comes in and is done.  Please note, this is not necessarily my husband’s preferance.  I am very particular about how things are done and, most days, I would rather do it myself.

If I want things to change, I need to start with myself.  So I looked up.  I prayed.  I asked God to show me how to bless my husband.  To show me what I could do to make our marriage a blend of duties done together rather than two separate spheres of influence.  I was going to ask my husband what I could do to bless him more, but I realized that would be unfair to him.  If he asked me how he could bless me, I wouldn’t know what to say to him.  So I started studying him and listening to what was left unsaid and what was said.  The first thing I noticed is that a happy spouse is a huge blessing to all.  (For our male readers, that goes both ways.)  Next, was clutter control.  Everyone feels more at rest when the house is neat.  Then I looked in “his” sphere of influence to see how I could help more there.  I would feed if he was late coming home.  I would go outside to help him unload when he came home (unless I was right in the middle of supper preparation).  I started making him lunch when he was at home.  And so on.

I was tired of my husband and I being two separate rafts tied together.  I wanted us to be in the same boat.  I figured the best way to do this was to climb onto his raft.  He didn’t like that we were on two separate rafts that were tied together, either.  He, too, wanted to be in the same boat: working together to do what God has called us to do.  My husband welcomed me onto his raft.  And God has started a good work in us; our two little rafts have turned into a little boat.  God has started to answer the prayers of both of our hearts.  He moved both of us to be willing to make things different than they were.  God, not me.  God has done this work of turning two little rafts tied together into one little boat.  I know that the boat is still very fragile, so I tenderly hold it up to the promises of God; I will finish the good work I have started (Philippians 1:6).


A Two Way Street

posted by Chelsea

I’ve had these thoughts swirrling around in my head for a number of days now and I finally have the chance to sit down and pound out the words and now my eyes are tired and I hope it all comes out right. 

Here’s something you might not know about me- I’m a bit of a feminist.  I’m not extreme, I’m not bra burning material, but I do think women should be respected and I do think much of our society remains a “man’s world” and sometimes that just ruffles my feathers.  Buck knows this about me and he’s pretty aware, too, of times when women aren’t acknowledged for their gifts and talents- it ruffles his feathers, too.  I like that.  Sometimes the fact that it ruffles his feathers is enough to make me feel better about a situation, just because I know he cares. 

Here’s the thing.  I had a realization this past week and I want to convey it to you this morning because I think it’s important… especially if you have a hankering, like I do, to be a little bit of a feminist.  I have expectations of my husband- expectations that he help around the house and is able to share in most domestic duties: change diapers, put kids to bed, make meals, keep the laundry going, load and unload the dishwasher, and basically do everything that I do.  Granted, I’m “better” at most of the household chores because I do them more often and I  just have a knack for folding laundry and overall cleaning.  I have more practice.  BUT I expect that, when he’s here, he will jump in and help.  I figure, I work all day (albeit at home) just like he does, and therefore we all help out when we’re all home.   That being said, Buck is, for the most part, on board with me.   We squabble once in awhile, but generally speaking, we have created a pretty good system. 

Now let me interject a quick story to illustrate the point that I’ll eventually make.  This past week I went with Buck to retrieve a four-wheeler that broke down in the bottom of a canyon.  It was not an easy task as the road is mostly snowed in and where there isn’t snow there’s ice.  It was one of those adventures that when Buck told me he brought me along because he “didn’t feel like getting stranded by himself”, I was wishing I was home in front of the toasty fire.  I didn’t want to be stranded- with him or anyone else.  We had to chain up the back tires of the pickup early on in the drive and about half way in we had to chain up all four tires, making the Power Stroke into a mini-canyon-climbing-tank, of sorts. 

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 It was cold and I didn’t bring gloves to help with the chaining process.  I didn’t even want to get out of the pickup, I mean, I don’t even like that I know how to put chains on; it definately isn’t something I aspire to be proficient at.   At any rate, I jumped out and thought I’d offer moral support to my darling husband who was doing a fine job of putting the chains on all by himself…

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(we’ve been down this chaining-up road before, which helps so much in the visual aids of this post.)

After I stood around, chatting and petting the dogs, he looked up from under the pickup and he said, “Are you gonna be a little help or what?”  My feathers ruffled, “Excuse me?! Who do you think I am?! A man?! No. I’m cold and I don’t feel like helping,”  I huffed to myself.  Then I thought… “I’ll show him, I’ll put the other side on, all by myself, and my hands will get really cold, and he’ll feel really sorry.”  That’s how rationally I think when I’m upset.  So I hurried over to the other side of the pickup and got my hands cold while I put the chains on, except, I couldn’t actually do it by myself, I couldn’t pull the outside of the chain as tight as it needed to be.  Buck finished his side well before me and came over to help.  He saw my predicament and gladly laid down on the icy ground and was able to pull the weight of the chain enough to get it fastened.  I didn’t have the arm strength to get it as far down as it needed to be in order to latch.  We finished the job and believe it or not– he didn’t ask about my hands.  He didn’t feel sorry. He was just glad the chains were on and we could get on with the mission we had set out to accomplish. 

I could give you a several other examples of  times when I’ve pulled the “girl card” and honestly felt like I was exempt from a task, simply because it was a “man’s job” and not something I “should have to do”.  And on that cold, wintery, afternoon, when we jumped back in the pickup, I realized I hold a double standard.  I don’t expect Buck to be an accomplished homemaker, but I do expect that he jump in and help with a good attitude when he’s here.  AND, shocking as it was to me, that goes the other way, too.  I may not be accomplished at many “man jobs” but I am expected to jump in and help, with a good attitude.  I don’t get to just “sign up for the fun jobs”. I’m required just like he is, to give it my all, no matter the task. 

I’m not sure that all women get to see that sort of difference.  Our lifestyle is such that Buck does hard physical labor everyday; I love that he is a masculine-man’s-man in that way.  I appreciate that he not only works hard physically, but that he actually loves to do it, go stir-crazy without it, and is the man he is because of it.  And without putting words in his mouth, I know Buck appreciates my feminity and the fact that I don’t “try to be a man”– that I know my physical limits.  He acknowledges that I work hard in our home, that I love to do it, and that I wouldn’t be the woman I am without it.  So.. the “feminist” in me is happy with the balance, I just realize I’ve held a double standard and I want to fix it.  I don’t want to take on all the man jobs, nor would Buck want me to, but I’m officially going to throw away the “girl card”… or at least save it for a really opportune time.

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This Boy

by Charlotte

This boy. . .

This boy is my heart.

So is this boy.

This boy . . .

He has such a big heart and plays well with all his siblings.

So does this boy.

But this boy, he is a clown.

He loves to play chase – run, run he calls it.

Run, run is best played when the bare feet can be heard on the bare floor.

Ropes are the toys of choice these days.

But tea parties are also fun if he can have water for tea.

And this boy. . .

he is my heart with little bare feet running on the bare floor.  He turns two this week.  That seems so big.  Yet, so small.  I did not know how much one more could add to a family.  I did not know how good little bare feet could sound on the bare floor as they run, run around the kitchen.  And I’m so glad that God saw fit to give this . . .

This heart of mine to us.

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