Archive: November 2013

Autumn Wood ~ October

Posted by Donna ~

October ~ Robert Frost, 1874 – 1963

O hushed October morning mild,

Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;

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Tomorrow’s wind, if it be wild,

Should waste them all.

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The crows above the forest call;

Tomorrow they may form and go.

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O hushed October morning mild,

Begin the hours of this day slow.

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Make the day seem to us less brief.

Hearts not averse to being beguiled,

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Beguile us in the way you know.

Release one leaf at break of day;

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At noon release another leaf;

One from our trees, one far away.

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Retard the sun with gentle mist;

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Enchant the land with amethyst.

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Slow, slow!

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For the grapes’ sake, if they were all,

Whose leaves already are burnt with frost,

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Whose clustered fruit must else be lost—

For the grapes’ sake along the wall.

{Autumn beauty compliments of Cambridge, Idaho.}

A Few-ish Things

posted by Chelsea

My girls have a hard time keeping “a couple” and “a few” straight.

For example:

Child (usually Lucy): “So… is a couple is more than two?” 

No.  A couple IS two.  A few is more than two.

“More than two, so ANY number more than two?” 

No. A few is more than two, but usually less than about ten, depending on what you’re talking about.

“Could 12 be a few?” 

Yah. I mean that’s probably close enough.

What about 13? 14? 15? When isn’t it close enough anymore?”

When it isn’t a few anymore. :-)

“So a few is more than two and less than 12?”


I’d like to say it usually ends there, but Lucy is nearly 7 and to her utter delight this sort of conversation could go on for hours.

All of that to say, I don’t really feel like telling you a story or explaining anything in detail this morning.  It is my blog afterall, and I can do whatever I want :-) I’d rather just write out A FEW little random side notes this morning.   You can expect more than 2 random things and less than say…. 12.

(1) Do you remember when I told you (in THIS POST) about the 1st Annual Ranch Horse Race?  We recently received some pictures from the event and I have to share one.


That’s Buck- in true horse race style- standing up in his stirrups, yelling, waving his arms with the broken hat. It was a tight race, as you can see.  I think Buck yelled from start to finish.  He says he “just can’t help it!”  I love him.

(2) On a completely unrelated  note, I saw one of the neighbor’s cows with “stick-tights” on her face and I had to take a picture…


… I wonder why they call them stick-tights?! I also wonder why she won’t let me pick them off?!  I also wonder if that’s super irritating.  I know I’m irritated for her.

(3) We shipped the ranch calves last week.  It didn’t go as planned, but eventually they did get shipped away.  Maybe I’ll tell that story when I feel like telling one again.  A few days later the mama cows were trailed home for the winter.  Kate helped…


(4) Lucy felt like running…


… more than she felt like riding, so she followed along behind…


..on foot.

(5) I was thankful the girls showed up to add some color to my pictures!

(6) The cows made it home…


… and I wonder if they enjoy the view as much as I do?

(7) Speaking of view!  We shipped calves on a GLORIOUS DAY.  Tell me if these pictures don’t shout “GLORY” to you….







(8) Look who I saw the other day…


(9) Look who “cleaned” the dishes the other day…


(No worries- that’s not a bruise on his forehead, but rather some leftover breakfast.)

(10) Buck and I, along with our parents, have agreed it’s going to be a sad sad day when Katelyn no longer calls Lucy, “Wucy”. I fear we’re nearing the time…. I’m savoring the sound “Hey Wuce!” “WUCY!” “WU!”

(11) I made sourdough doughnuts..


a couple (that’s TWO) times last week. I think I ate 36 (more than a FEW!).

(12) This is one of my favorite places on the planet…


…our living room, in the evening.  A crackling fire, a cup of tea, and a good book.  (The red book on the coffee-ish table over by the chair  is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks– very interesting!! Oh and yes, that’s the top of Buck’s head on the couch.  At about 9 o’clock at night, that’s one of his favorite spots on the planet.

(13) I need an area rug.

(14) I need to stop numbering.  I already told you a few things.

(15) And I’d hate to just keep adding ONE MORE THING.

(16) That would be ANNOYING.

(17) And overdone.

(18) And obnoxious.

(19) And MORE than a few.

(20) That would be more like MANY! I have MANY THINGS TO TELL YOU!

(21) Happy Thursday.

(22) To you!


Autumn Wood

Posted by Donna ~

In an effort to prolong that most desirable of seasons, which seemed to arrive in a blaze of color and texture, then slink away surreptitiously and prematurely, I hope you will enjoy this series of mostly poetry and pictures, or as Jack Perkins calls his, visions and verses, to remind each of us that autumn really is happening, then, and now.

Author Unknown
The sun creeps through wooded pines and falls to rest on a stream of eternity

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Whitewater leaps and bounds over a moss-ridden flight of stairs which guides its flow

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The sun-coated water races unaware and not caring of her plight
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Twisting and turning she travels into the distance picking up friends

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and soothing the rocks, earth, and me….

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{Autumn beauty compliments of the Weiser River and the Little Weiser.}


posted by Chelsea

Buck’s Aunt Ramona told me one time that she and her husband, Charley, have spent their entire married life on the “next year plan”.  Next year when the calves weigh more, next year when cattle prices are higher, next year when the bank gives us another operating loan, next year when the cows are paid for (waiting awhile for that one!), next year when we get more rain, next year when hay prices come down.  We made it another year and now we have the hope of NEXT YEAR!

I smile writing that because #1- we made it another year #2 we have next year planned hoped-out already.  That said, we finished shipping our calves last week, then we met cattle trucks in “town” (relatively speaking) a couple of days later and shipped our cows out towards where we live.  Call me a sap, (go ahead! do it!) because I’m going to tell you I’ve spent a significant amount of time over the past couple of weeks feeling overwhelmed with teary (yes teary!) eyed-gratitude.

Hear me out for a minute here….

It was initially spurred by the tire-fixer at Les Schwabs.  We had a flat-ish tire on the horse-trailer and we had to run in to Schwabs to get it worked on- a regular occurrence in life of us.   After the Schwabs-flat-tire-fix, we hurried out to meet the cattle trucks.  In the midst of loading trucks our friend, Collin stopped by to pick up some of his cows that were mixed in with ours.  He helped us load trucks before he could “get to” his cows.  After we were all loaded and following the cattle trucks down the highway I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude come flooding in- literally overflowing inside of me and then coming right out of my eyeballs! :-)  While we may not be getting rich off of our cows, we are rich in relationship.  From the tire-fixer and then the truck drivers who help us with a wonderful sense of camaraderie mixed with competence, to our faithful friends who go out of their way for us- we have a real clear understanding of the richness of our life.

Over the course of the last year I would be so bold as to say that Buck and I have seen some of the hardest parts humanity has to offer. We have felt the burden of deep pain and rejection.  We have been surprised by the harsh coldness of bad business dealings, at times when we least expected it.  That said, I would say that seeing the “worst” has softened us (and made me quite sappy!) to the good and wonderful parts of relationship.  Our families…

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crazy summer 230

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have remained our strong supporters, our biggest fans, and an essential source of wisdom.  Our friends have gone to the end of the earth for us, have spiritually stood in the gap for us, and have encouraged us when the future seemed very unclear.  I don’t particularly want to do 2013 again anytime soon, but this year has created in me a stronger faith and a stronger appreciation for the people God has poured into our life.  For that, I’m incredibly thankful because we are RICH!




posted by Chelsea

Yesterday we got to sleep in until 6.  My body is so used to waking up at 4:30 that I woke up at 4:26 even though I was supposed to be “sleeping in”.  There’s something seriously wrong with that.  Seriously.  On that note, before we talk about shipping calves, I’d like to make a quick plug for coming to visit us.  Buck’s parents were here last week and his sister, Mona, is here this week.   Let me just tell you that we know how to show company a good time- every day except yesterday we all had to be up and going by 4:30.  Now that’s fun!  Come stay with us!  We love company!

On to shipping day… we had to get up a little early on Tuesday.  We left the house at 4… so everyone was up by 3:30…Buck, Mona, Lucy, Katelyn, Cooper and me.   It was Mona’s first morning here- I think she was super impressed.  I think she’ll come back to visit us… never.  Just kidding- she’s a trooper and made lemonade with the lemons we gave her.   She even managed to take some pictures throughout the day.  She was able to capture things like the “coldness” of the day via Cooper’s double snot run…


On that note, here’s a rundown of shipping day…

All the cows & calves have to go in the corrals.


Once there, we sort off the cows so only the calves are left.  At which point, the calves are weaned.   Like it or lump it- no milk for you!  Anyway, then the calves have to be sorted by sex.   Heifers one way.  Steers the other.

And that’s where I’ll stop for a second to tell you that our shipping day didn’t go flawlessly.  When we reached this stage, all the calves pushed on a gate enough to open it and get mixed with the cows again.  At which point, a few of the little rascals snuck in one more sip of milk while we said a few choice words and started all over again.   It was a real joy.  The girls watched the whole thing from the sidelines…


Anyway, eventually steers went one way and heifers another.  Then they all had to be weighed.  Then sent to a pen, still separated by heifers and steers.  Except about 4 steers who jumped through a little hole and jumped in with the heifers.  Rascals!  Anyway, eventually everything was separate and loaded and shipped away to their new home.  Their new home being a grassy field in central Oregon somewhere.

All that to say… I’ll admit I sighed two big ol’ heavy sighs of relief on shipping day.  First, when we weighed up our calves and they were 50# over our estimated weight.  Yay for fall rains and an awesome fall green-up!  And the second sigh of relief came when the final calf was loaded on the truck and the door was shut.   This year has been full of change and unknowns and a lot of wondering how everything will turn out.  I’ll be real honest and tell you that seeing the calves drive down the road and holding a real-live paycheck in our hands was nothing but a big inhale of relief and a big exhale of thankfulness to our God who remains faithful despite some crazy ups and downs.  We….


made it another year in the cattle business.  Ah.

I’ll tell you, or rather, show you who else sighed a bit of relief, or rather a sigh of exhaustion…


I don’t think we’ll make a habit out of waking our kids up at 3:30… just our company! :-)

Wait & Wonder While I Wander

posted by Chelsea

Friday was a big day.  It was sort out day.  That means we sort our cows out from 2 other ranches who run cows on the same USFS allotment as we do.  Basically, we leave the house in the wee hours of the morning…


to meet up with a crew of people from each ranch, all there to help sort. There’s a herd of about 400 (?) cow-calf pairs and everyone meets, gathers the cattle into the corner of a pasture, and sorts cows according to their owner.  Ours have big red tags in their ears and a lazy J brand on their hip- that’s how we know they’re ours.  We brought our own help- we count on Luke & Callie, our faithful friends,


to aid us in sorting and then driving our cows down the road…


to a holding pasture.  Two years ago Buck, Luke and I went and Callie had to stay home with their youngest. Last year Buck, Luke & Callie went while I stayed home with our youngest.  This year Luke got us started then took off for the mountains in search of a big ol’ bull elk. Did you notice the spark in his eye? It wasn’t because he was excited to sort…. he had BULL ELK on his mind.  Anyway this year Buck, Callie & I handled the day.  And a great day it was.  Besides just spending the day together…


Callie and I got to RIDE together…


and it just doesn’t get much better than that.

One of the sheer joys of being there on sort-out day is that I get to be there to see the cows and calves for myself and then to hear the count!  After we sort, we push the cows through a gate and someone counts them through so we know if all of our cows were gathered off the summer range.  I anticipate the count all morning, even try to count a few as we sort, which is totally useless and ridiculous.  We’re always on a major time crunch after sort-out and if we don’t have all the cows it means Buck has to back-ride to find cows and calves.  This year’s count was the best we’ve had as we were only out 7 pair and had all of our bulls (hallelujah!).  Buck found 3 more pair yesterday which only puts us out 4 pair and we have plenty of calves to ship… tomorrow!

Now I’d like to discuss one of things I love about being present for sort-out and in turn, despise about not being there for most other days.   Hear me out.  This time of year is one of high stress– will we have enough calves?  how do they look? will they make weight? will we make enough to make our loan payment? how do the cows look? will we get them all?  This year is higher stress because we’re not only doing that about our cows, but the ranch cows as well.  Buck leaves the house by 5 in the a.m. and then I wait and wonder as I wander through the house doing laundry, taking care of children, and such.  Of course, cell phone service around here is LIMITED at best.  So while he’s out DOING SOMETHING about the stress- I’m not.  I’m at home wondering.  I don’t like that! Last night he was able to call on his way home and knowing his cell could cut out at any minute, I answer the phone with the two most important questions, “Where are you? And what’d you find today?”  And he answers as quickly as he can, “Redmond Grade. 3 pair!”

Luckily, I’ll be there tomorrow to help ship calves.  It’s another big day, the final stage of this yearly ranch-life-cycle.  There’s a real sense of accomplishment seeing the calves load the trucks and getting a paycheck for another year’s work.  I’ll bring my camera and tell you all about it afterwards…. in the meantime I’ll just let you wait and wonder how it goes! Ha! :-)