Category: Come On Over

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They’re Cute!

Posted by Chelsea

I’ve been told it’s time for a new post.  It has come to my attention that some of you (I won’t mention names) are tired of “Crazy Mom” staring back at you when you check the blog.  So… First, a sincere thank you for checking the blog (Jessie)! I do want to write more.  And it means a lot to me that you still show up and wonder if I have anything new to say.  And second, I have a post brewing about our Spring Break “adventure” (beware there may be some graphic details about sickly children included) but it’s not finished because the sickly kids now have a sickly mother.  In addition, Spring Break ended on a pretty heavy note for our family and while I’ll share more on that later, tonight I need to keep it light.  So for now, I want to tell you something semi-not-important-at-all.

Here’s the thing.  I have always worn black bog boots (definition: mud boots that keep your feet warm and while not wet from the outside, real “boggy” on the inside from your own warm sweat.  In our house we refer to feet spent in bogs all day as “bogged out”- that being an official ranch term).   ANYWAY! I have, since the beginning of bog-time, worn the tall “rancher” style boots, as in, no frills, even though they can be purchased in colorful prints and patterns.  I figured since they’re just going to get muddy and gross and sopped out disgusting, no sense being cute.  Well… my tall-black-rancher-style-no-frills-bog-boots finally broke out last fall.  And since I needed new bog boots, I went ahead and did a 180.  I decided, who cares if they’re going to get muddy and gross?  They might as well be cute too! So I did the right thing and…. told my mom.  And on my birthday she showed up with these…


And you know what? They must be cute, even with dirt and some other stuff on them, because in all my black-bog-wearing years, I never once took a picture of my no-frills-bog-boots.

I’ve decided that cute is important.  Even it’s dirty or muddy or has the bodily fluids of a bovine creature on it, cute is a nice, feminine addition to just about anything.  That’s my opinion.  And I’m sticking with it.


Whatta Ya Think?

posted by Chelsea


If I am out of milk, is it wrong to feed my boy cereal with half & half?


Do you think this…


… is what the washing machine means by “heavy soil”?  (Those are pants…. in case you’re still trying to understand the picture)

Do you think this…


looks like a cozy and inviting place to sit?

Do you think this…


looks painful?!

Do you think it’s weird that I feel the need to take pictures of my clean…



(Side note: I’ve been sorting through pictures for a collage-wall-thing I’m putting together and I’m considering a blown up print of that clean kitchen. It makes me happier than most scenic shots I have.)

Do you think this…


looks like an oldest daughter who is tired of checking cows?  (Hint: yes. yes. yes.) (Side note: cute hat though, isn’t it? Has a pony-tail-hole in the back!)

Do you think this calf…


is cute?

Does it look like this girl…


…enjoyed her birthday? (Hint: yes. yes. yes).

Can you guess what gift delighted her more than anything in the whole-wide-world?

Drum roll please…….

… her first loose tooth.  She’s been waiting ever so anxiously to lose a tooth and the first loose one arrived on her big day.  Her big sister may or may not have convinced her that there are people who never do lose teeth and either A. have baby teeth forever or B. have to have them all pulled out by a dentist.  Big sisters have a lot of power– more convincing power than I have unconvincing power, lets just say that.

Do you think Rose…


… will have the best, brightest and most beautiful foal on the planet in about 6 weeks?!

Do you think we’ve ever been able to ride our bikes…


… in February?

Finally… Do you think I’ll write posts more often?!

I want to! I plan to! I will! I hope! I have a lot to say!

Well, Hello There!

/*98posted by Chelsea

Well, hello there!

I realize its been awhile.  In honor of 5 years of blogging (?!) I decided to have a month of silence.  Ha! I can’t hardly believe it’s been 5 years already.  5 years of our life in good old fashioned internet documentation.

Lets take a quick moment to look back at the beginning of this journey, shall we?  First… look how young the girls were…

spring cattle drive '10 045_

new 151


And now they not only have a little brother…


but they make their own scrambled eggs.  I mean, if that’s not grown up, tell me what is?!

I’ve learned a lot in the last 5 years.   But mostly I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.  I’ve always thought it was super lame when people said that as they age they realize how much they don’t know.  But oddly enough, I think they actually knew what they were saying and I agree with them.  Let me give you an example… I don’t know how to play board games with my children.  The first time I didn’t manipulate the game so the child I thought “needed to” win didn’t win and I won, I felt so guilty for not letting one of the kids win that I haven’t won a game since.  Being a mom is really complicated like that.

On the less complicated side of things, I recently learned that I actually like cats.  For most of my life, I’ve been a little allergic (both physically as well as mentally) to cats.  It’s an inherited allergy from my dad.  The last time I remember liking cats was when I was a little kid and my mom let me bring a kitty inside (while dad wasn’t home!) and I let it play on my dad’s pillow.  For an allergic-to-cats-asthmatic, a kitty on his pillow was not. helpful. at. all.  Oops!

Anyway! We received 3 semi-grown cats from our friends this fall.  I love them.  They don’t play on anyone’s pillows because they live outside and they’re awesome!  They kill mice and frolic in the yard.  They bask in the sunshine and I appreciate the way they see the world.  (When you live this far away from other people you start appreciating the way animals “see the world”.)


In other news… we had a really fun day this last Saturday.  Buck was at a Cattlemen’s conference. So, while the weather was gorgeous, the kids and I headed down to check on the brood mares.  Yes! There will be two foals on the ranch this spring.  And next year we’re planning to have three!

Rose (in the background!) is due in April…


Rose has been a pretty big part of our life, our trusty mare who goes anywhere, does anything, and is otherwise AWESOME. I teared up at the vet clinic last summer when we found out she was “for sure” bred. She’s part of the family.

“Ginger” is a new mare who is also due in April. But she left the vicinity shortly after our arrival and didn’t stick around to have her picture taken.

And we checked on and gave a lot of TLC to “Hobby”…


who is new around here and will hopefully have a foal next spring.

Then the kids decided since we were checking on things, they ought to check on the pond.  I made some comment about it “not being fun anymore because it is no longer frozen like it was a few weeks ago”…


but they didn’t even hear me.  They just started having fun.  They threw…






They pulled out “fish”…


(aka weeds)…


And otherwise enjoyed an afternoon…


of a serious pond-playing-adventure…


And while they played, you can see that I enjoyed the photographic opportunity to capture some splashing water, etc.  Guaranteed, I was as delighted to “play” as they were :-)

I even talked them into grouping up for a little ragamuffin sibling shot…


I love unexpected delightful days.   In fact, I think that’s one of the things I’ve learned in the last 5 years.   Unexpected delights are usually the best ones.

No-Knead Dutch Oven Bread

posted by Ann

I have discovered an absolutely easy, works-every-time, amazing, looks-like-it-came-from-a-bakery, artisan bread that I am so smitten with.  You have to plan ahead as the dough is assembled the night before (or at least 12 hours before you plan to bake it) But it literally takes a moment to mix together and you’ll hardly be able to sleep as you anticipate the lovely loaf that awaits you the next day.  Enjoy!





Our Week

posted by Chelsea

This last week.  Lucy turned EIGHT?!


The girls…





for the school Christmas program.  We were super impressed with their stellar performance.  Kate was the first one to take the microphone and stood frozen for about 4 seconds before a quiet line was whispered to her by her music teacher, then she courageously rolled right through her skit lines, song, and piano playing.  Lucy has come so far in one year on the piano and is so brave to stand up and not only speak into the microphone, but sing, too!  So proud to be their mama!

Lucy wore her adult sized (?!) “town boots” for the performance. This is what a ranch girls “town boots” look like…


… no matter how hard we try to keep them clean!!

Our dog, Eve, had nine puppies…


… but we are down to eight.  It’s probably for the best that one didn’t survive as eight will be plenty for our young mama! We named them after Santa’s reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner & Blitzen. Of course we’ll understand if the person who gets “Prancer” or “Dancer” or “Cupid” wants to change the name of their “vicious” cowdog!

The days are short and we’re looking forward to the end of the month when they start getting longer.  But the canyon is still pretty glorious…


… so much to be thankful for this holiday season!

Vanilla Pear Coffee Cake w/ Streusel Topping

posted by Ann

This year was an epic year for produce and I was blessed to have access to an amazing bounty of  fresh pears.  I canned I.don’ and was so happy to find some way to bake with them!  This cake is moist and fragrant, is easily doubled and freezes well. Enjoy!


Streusel Topping:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter and flour a 9-inch square or round baking dish.

In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.  In large bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs and vanilla and combine well.  Alternate adding reserved flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture.  Gently fold in pears.   Pour batter into prepared pan.

To make streusel  topping: mix cinnamon, salt, brown sugar and flour together.  Cut in butter until fine crumbs are formed.  Using your fingers, squeeze together most of the mixture to form large clumps.  Sprinkle topping generously over batter.

Bake about 1 hour or until cake tests done. Allow to cool slightly before consuming……with a sigh and a small smile. :-)


Autumn Wood ~ Autumn

Posted by Donna

Autumn ~ Emily Dickinson 1830 =- 1866
The morns are meeker than they were,

CC Wood 67

The nuts are getting brown,

CC Wood 66

The berry’s cheek is plumper,

CC Wood 72

The rose is out of town.

CC Wood 71

The maple wears a gayer scarf,

CC Wood 64

The field a scarlet gown.

CC Wood 74

Lest I should be old-fashioned,

I’ll put a trinket on.

{Autumn beauty compliments of Wells, Maine.}


posted by Chelsea

A few days ago, I was walking down the hill to our house.  It was dark outside and so the inside of the house was lit up.  The lamps were on in the living room and from my vantage point, I couldn’t see the toys on the floor or any of the stuff scattered around- just the soft light of the lamps and the sound of the kids voices carrying out through the windows right to my ears.  The sun was long set and the air felt fall-cool.  Inside looked cozy and inviting, but I stopped for a just a minute.  Just a minute to breath and look and soak it in.  And the feeling of goodness just sort of swept over me.  Life is busy- even out here in the boonies.  There’s always stress– for example, our basement flooded a few weeks ago and I’ve felt stress about it all coming back together into a live-able space.  I know once it’s all done it will be great, but in the meantime, I’ve just wanted everything to be “back to normal!”  I joked with my parents (who were here this weekend) that I do realize people have suffered much worse that what I’m currently enduring…  All joking aside, it’s often the little stresses that can steal the joy out of a person’s life, if you allow it.  So… walking into the house the other night, I felt prodded to not only take that moment to “breath in good”, but to do it more often– pulling myself out of the current situation, whatever it may be, to seek goodness.  So… now that I’ve been doing it a few days in a row, I’m here to report that it’s a pretty awesome thing to do.

So awesome, in fact, that I’m going to share some of the good with you this morning!  Here goes… I planted over 100 sunflower seeds in my yard this spring.  The birds ate at least 95 of them.  BUT!  The 5 sunflowers that came up are breath-in-good…


I love these orangey-red ones!  If only 5 survived the birds, I’m glad they were this variety!

The girls started school last week…


Katelyn’s joy about FINALLY! starting school was breath-in-good. Unfortunately, Cooper wasn’t feeling the joy with her.  :-)

After the second day of class, when all 4 students were done with the first day of their respective grades…


Mr. Byers asked how Katelyn’s first day was. I told him it was great- that she had fun, but was worn out after her first long day. (She goes 2 days/week). He said, “I wondered about that. I thought I should schedule more rest time in for her- I’m going to make sure that happens!” Obviously, I didn’t tell him she was worn out to get scheduled rest time, but the fact that he cares to make each day a good one for her- that is breath-in-good for this mama!

This weekend we sold a couple of the ranch mules at our local Mule Days horse/mule sale.  We arrived at the fairgrounds, checked in the mules, and then had time to go eat dinner and sit at the picnic tables on the lawn.  We sat with our Cunningham friends and our Nash aunt and uncle and my folks.  Cooper was running around the table with an uneaten piece of roll in his hand.  Lucy was eating her second helping of one of her favorite foods, coleslaw.  Katelyn was mothering a little girl she found and they were dancing to the beat of the live music.  And for just a minute, I sat back and felt all the good- the rich relationship, talk about cattle prices and bred heifers- the cool air, finally cooled down after a hot summer- the kids, happy and playful- the sound of the country music,  floating over the crowd.

Last night, Buck and I were reminiscing about the hot summer we’re just finishing up and how good it was. It was busy and we worked really hard, but it was very full. We had moments of carved out goodness with people like Great Grandma Carolee…


We celebrated weddings…


with family…


And friends…


We slip-slided…


And after several long hot work weeks, we retreated on Sunday afternoons to the river…


During those afternoon retreats, I spent time floating down through the current, right where the Grand Ronde meets the Wenaha, with my head laying back in the cold water and I took a whole buncha breath-in-good refreshing moments.

We also got to spend time with two fabulous teenagers…


At various times throughout the summer…


And, I can tell you, we can all breath-in-good knowing the teenage generation on it’s way into adulthood, is a good one.  We (referring to all 5 of our family members) loved the time we spent with both 16 year olds.

We also got to look Aunt Mona’s puppies right in the eye…


…whether they wanted to or not :-)

And the kids continue to breath-in-good in “Phase I” of Papa’s treehouse remodel…


All of those pictures to say, I think the overall theme in my life lately has been to feel the stress less intensely and soak in the good more completely. You don’t have to go far …


to find some breath-in-good!

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable– if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things.” Philippians 4:8



posted by Chelsea


So, this happened…


“Bugs” is his name and he belongs to our milk cow, Bell.  We didn’t have him scheduled to arrive until the first part of September.  Apparently he didn’t pay any attention to our schedule (nor did Bell or the bull!).

This also happened…


Swim lessons!  We stayed with friends…


who live near a city with a pool!  And swam…






This happened, too…


I had help…


Peaches for February.  And March.  Yay.

This deer and her twins showed up in our driveway…


The river….


it’s been happening a lot lately-pre-bedtime dips and Sunday afternoon retreats. Nothing short of refreshment for our souls on these hot days.

We’ve had a couple of teenagers here.  This one on the right…


And this one on the left…


The first for riding.  The second working.  They’ve worked.

They’ve jumped…


They’ve entertained our children…


They’ve helped at the house.


In other words, we’d like to keep them.

A hailstorm happened…


And demolished my flowers…


Glad I took some pictures before they were torn into pieces.

All of that to say, life is good…



Posted by Chelsea

This past weekend, Buck and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary.  And in honor of our first decade of holy matrimony, we went to a Buck Brannaman ranch roping clinic just a few hours from home.  It was a four day clinic so my parents came over to watch the kiddos as well as complete phase 1 of a treehouse remodel…


The clinic was great- a huge help for yours truly who has some bad rodeo-roping habits that seem to follow me around.  Hopefully I’m ditching them for good after four days of practice and top-notch instruction.  As for my Buck, the other Buck helped refine his  swing as well as gave him a few key things to adjust and his shot(s) are looking better than ever.  Not to mention it was pretty fun to watch Buck (the other one) work his horses and swing he is own rope- very impressive.  Not to mention, it was also nice to not cook a single meal and sleep for 8-10 hours uninterrupted(!!) three nights in a row(!!)  It’s been awhile.  Not to mention, we came home to a clean house with three happy children…


and two happy grandparents.  All is well :)

As a funny little side note….On the drive home we had to stop in the big city to pick up a few groceries.  Buck stopped to grab some eggs and I meandered over to pick up some half and half (hold your seat! I have a point!) when I overheard a very tattoo’d-pierced man say to his very tattoo’d-pierced wife holding their not yet tattoo’d-pierced baby, “Whoa! Did you check that guy out?” I heard her say “no” and so I glanced up to see who in the world they might be looking at…. And there by the eggs was my unsuspecting cowboy, clad in his boots, jeans (worn at his waist) snap shirt tucked in, cowboy hat on his head.  The tattoo’d wife saw Buck, looked at her normal looking husband and said, “whoa!” To which I laughed out loud and wondered what our world is coming to :)

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