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Friday, August 23, 2013

Things I've Learned From Hangin At The Sale Barn

We had some calves we took to the sale barn, last week.
Selling our babies is always bitter sweet.
Thankfully, on this day, we were only selling a few.
We won't sell the spring born babies till later in the fall.

God has blessed us with plenty of rain, for the pastures to have good grass.
Therefore, we took advantage after weaning last years fall calves. 
We placed them into another pasture, allowing them to gain weight from the gift God had given us.
Holding them didn't cost us money.
We didn't need to supplement the calves with much feed.
Just enough to call them up a few times a week, to check their health and growth.

Me being a Rancher Girl, one would think I know the ropes of a sale barn. 
I didn't spend a lot of time, in sale barns, as a kid.
We always sold our cattle as registered stock.
They were normally ran through a registered private cattle sale.
If we did sell some cattle through a sale barn, I didn't ever hang out, with My Daddy, to understand the process.

I really like hangin out at the sale barn, with Flower Boy!
Sale barns have some pretty darn good food!
Their pies are award winning!
It reminds me of time with my Great Granny B.
Oh, the food that woman could cook!

When you pull up, to the sale barn, you can smell breakfast!
When you leave, you can smell dunch!
Dunch is a word The Big Kids made up.
It is the meal eaten when you missed lunch, but are too early for dinner.
(Flower Boy would argue... In his world there is Breakfast, Dinner and Supper.)

Now, I am hungry!

The sale barn we were at, this past week, was one of the larger sales in the north central part of our state.
It's about an hour drive from the ranch.
Well worth the drive!
For the food, the scenery, the cattle quantity and quality.
I get to spend it with Flower Boy.

Trucks and trailers filled the parking lot.
 Everyone hoping for good prices, whether buying or selling.

My day was filled with all sorts of questions about how the sale barn operates.
Flower Boy was good to answer.
I even asked him to write this blog post.
You see what that answer was...

Once the cattle are unloaded, they are sorted into small pens.
 Notice the yellow tags on their hips?
That is a number tag to identify the cattle as they run through the sale ring.
The workers unloading your cattle write your tag numbers on your unload sheet.

There is a walking plank above the cattle pens.
This allows the buyers to look at the cattle, without being in the way of the workers sorting, below.

As the pens fill, the center isle is left open.
As the sale progresses, the cattle are funneled into the center isle and moved, pen by pen, up to the sale ring.
The cattle pens are all under cover with open sides.
This sale happens once per week, year around.
I wouldn't want to be one of these workers!
The workers are mainly kids.
They work hard for their money!

There are signs on all the doors of the sale ring.

The sale ring has HVAC.
On this day, it was cold in the sale ring!
I had to go get my jacket, from the truck.
As for the ventilation, there was no smell of cattle poop.
However, as a Rancher Girl, I love the smell...
To me, it is the smell of money.

The sale ring seating is plush!
There is theater seating!
Cup holders!
Even phones for the buyers!
I would guess all is needed, as we were there most of the day.
I wouldn't have wanted to be sitting on a hard bench that long.

There are 4 people sitting in the auction box.
One to open the entry door, the auctioneer, the clerk and one to open the exit door.
 One man is in the ring with the cattle.
Three monitors above the auction box.

Here is a quick run down of how it goes...
The cattle are on the scales, just out side the entry door.
Their weight comes up on the first monitor.
The entry door opens, with the flip of a lever.
The ring man calls out the starting price, often times, the sellers name and amount of cattle he brought in, that day
The auctioneer starts the bidding.
The clerk places the final bid on the third monitor, logs the cattle tag and buyer.
The exit door opens, with the flip of a lever.
The man operating the exit door relays the pen number to place the cattle, based off the buyer, to the back over a microphone.
All while the center monitor is running the number of cattle brought in, that day, broken down by cows, heifers, steers and bulls.
As one runs through the sale ring, the numbers drop from "checked in" to "sold".

Cattle are sorted by size, color and sex.

There was a pen of black calves, with one "chrome" calf.
Chrome cattle are black cattle with white markings.
We have two chrome babies, in our herd, this year.
 I think they are SO PRETTY!!!
In the world of show cattle, one always wants a calf to have "a little something" that makes the calf stand out, from the others.
It makes the judge look your way.
In the sale ring, chrome calves are "cut out" from the black calves!
They are sold separately!
When a calf is sold separately, they don't bring as much.
This really upset me.
Solid black calves bring the most money, in a sale ring.
Darn good thing, we have mostly solid black cattle!

The ring man also points out cattle that have issues.
Some come through with bad eyes, limping or hurt, broken noses, missing tails or ears and swollen hoofs.
These cattle normally sell cheaper, too.

There was a man that was buying those type of calves.
When I asked Flower Boy why, 
He responded,
"He will take a chance on taking them home, nursing them back to health and sell them for profit."
I got the look...
Don't think I will attempt that until I no longer have a day job.
I'm thinking this type of "nursing" takes much more time and money than we have, right now.

There was a little Hereford heifer that ran through the ring.
Flower Boy and I both wanted her.
She was so stinking cute!
She was small and young.
She would have grown into a beautiful momma cow.
Good thing Flower Boy didn't have a bidder number.
I think she would be in our dog pen, right now!

There are good days to be a buyer and good days to be a seller, at a sale barn.
That day was a good day to be a seller!
Cattle sold at really good prices.
No matter them being sold as singles or in groups.

It was a great day to be a Rancher Girl!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Broiler Chicks Have Arrived!

As stated before, Drewman's FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), also know at his project, is poultry.
Each year Drewman orders broiler chicks for the state fair.
Broiler chickens are meat chickens.
All the broiler chickens shown, at the fair, come from the same hatchery and are shipped, to all the exhibitors, on the same day.
Can you imagine the craziness at that hatchery, on that day?

The chicks arrived last Friday.
 Just like the EGGcelent EGG Layers, the post office calls, you rush to town to pick up the chicks.
Get the chicks home.
Dip each chicks beak into the water and feed, counting as you remove each one from the box.
50 broiler chicks ordered, 50 broiler chick delivered.
ALL alive and well!

This brings me to another country question.
"What do I need to buy to go in my chicken coop before the chickens arrive? (water bowls, feeders, food, etc?)"

If you are purchasing day old chicks from a hatchery, you will need to feed them chick starter.
If your chicks have been vaccinated (you have this option when placing your hatchery order), you will need to feed a non medicated chick starter.

If you are purchasing pullets or hens, you will need to feed them layer feed.
Layer feed comes in two different forms - crumbles and pellets.
Drewman feeds crumbles.
The crumbles are easier for the birds to eat.
When feeding the pellets, the birds have to peck at the food more to break it apart.
This promotes "pecking" within the flock and can cause damage, even death, between the birds.

Drewman also adds chicken scratch to his girls' crumbles.
Scratch is a combination of different grains - corn, milo, wheat...
The girls really like it!

The mixture of crumbles to scratch is normally 2 to 1.
The feed is placed in feeders purchased at the feed store.
Drewman uses the trough type feeders, but you could use the feeder that best fits your needs.

It is very important that the chickens have fresh water each day.
Waterers can also be purchased at your local feed store.
Drewman uses the waterers for the smaller chicks and pullets.
For the EGGcelent EGG Layers, he places tubs of water in their pens.
The ducks love to splash and play in them.
When the chickens are hot, you will find them standing, in the tub of water, to cool off.

The EGGcelent EGG Layers also get free range of pasture.
Therefore, they get to find tasty treats like roots, bugs, and even snakes!
Having the chickens roam the yard and pasture, we don't have an issue with ticks on the dogs or large amounts of grasshoppers jumping everywhere.

The EGG Layers are cooped at night to prevent predators from getting them.
The broiler chickens feed and water is much different than that of the EGGcelent EGG Layers.
I can't give Drewman's secrets away, for raising his broilers.
Each exhibitor has their own little tweaks, to their feeding program, to produce the larger birds.

The broilers are fast growing birds.
Drewman will show them in October.
Some of the exhibitors broilers will weigh over 13 pounds, when shown!

The broilers are in a cool room.
Each week the temperature is lowered and birds are culled.

In October, we will head off, to the state fair, with 5 of the top birds.
3 will be chosen for the pen to show.
The other two will be alternates, in case something happens to one of the birds in the show pen.
These birds don't transport well.
Some will arrive, to the show, with dead birds and no alternates, therefore, those exhibitors aren't allowed to exhibit.

It is a fast and furious 8 weeks!
I will try to keep you updated.
Maybe, I will blog about a sorting day in the future...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Week 9 ~ Ailey Mae's Puppies

Another busy week of jockeying puppies.
As we said last week, we don't want these boys going to closed in back yards or homes that don't understand the German Shepherd Breed needs.
We want them to have plenty of room to roam and play.
It's not always easy to match up a puppy with the proper home.
The relationship needs to be a good fit, for both the new owner and the puppy.

Big Boy found that perfect fit this week!
He is going to a cattle ranch in SE Oklahoma!
I'm not sure who is more excited,
His new momma or me!
It was a hard decision for her and her husband to make.
I did my best not to push Big Boy or Kingston.
I tried to give the best descriptive information I could, for both, and attempted to remain neutral.
All the while, I was praying they would pick Big Boy.
He is the perfect puppy for them!
He will be a stupendous mascot for their ranch!
Big Boy possesses all the qualities they were looking for in a puppy.
We deliver him, to their ranch, this weekend.
I can't wait to meet my new Rancher Girlfriend!

We send Jazz's new momma texts and photos of his progress, often.
  His new momma is very excited to get him too, as are we.
Again, this is a perfect fit!
Jazz will be going to a home filled with little boys!
They will love him and play fetch with him.
Jazz is the puppy that wants to be in your lap.
He wants to know what you are doing and how you are doing it.
We have no doubt Jazz will love his new home, as much as, his new momma already loves him.

We are so pleased to be placing Big Boy and Jazz in such good quality loving homes!

Kingston still hasn't found that perfect owner.
But he will!
It is only a matter of time.
Kingston is the long haired puppy of the group.
He is the shy one.
He does love water.
He really enjoys playing with toys.
Kingston always keeps a low profile!
He lays in the shadows waiting to pounce!
Where Big Boy is stealthy, Kingston is the sneaky one.

As you can see from the photos, the boy's ears are just about to pop!
Then there will be a few weeks their ears will be really floppy.
Sometimes they will stand.
Sometimes they will flop over.
Sometimes there will be one ear up and one down.
I love to watch their ears!
It really brings out the personality of each one of them.
German Shepherd's ears don't normally stand alone until the puppy is 12 to 16 weeks of age.

Each one of the boys got collars this week.
Red, Blue and Black
Big Boy got Blue.
Jazz got Red.
And Kingston got Black.
We thought they would fight to take them off.
The collars never bothered them.

Last week, we started working on "Sit! Stay!"
 The boys are heeling quite well.
Therefore, we will be working on some leash training this week.

The boys were also introduced to balls.
OH MY!!!
They are like kittens with a ball of yarn!
They chase those balls all over the house.

The boys also love water bottles!
They steal from one another, run and hide.
They love the crunch noise when they chew on them.
There have been times, all three have been playing tug of war with a water bottle.
Have you ever watched 3 puppies attempt to go into different directions with the same toy.

Speaking of tug of war...
They love that too!
They have a toy ball with several pieces of rope running through it.
They play with that thing all the time!

When playtime is over, the boys crash!
 Sometimes the toys make it back in the crate and sometimes not.

All three of the boys are totally potty trained!
They each go to the door and sit when they need to go out.
Potty is their key word. 
We ask "Potty?" and they will run to the door, if they haven't been out in awhile.

They have almost outgrown their crate.
Not much room to wiggle in there!
This is Ailey Mae's crate, so it isn't small!
No worries about Ailey Mae...
She has found a new bed!
We have been wondering how the dirt and mud was getting on the chairs.
Now we know!

The boys go back to see Dr. Brett, on Saturday, for their second round of shots and final vet check, before they go to their new homes.
Then we are off to deliver Big Boy to his new momma.
Jazz's family will get him on the 30th.
Kingston will find a wonderful home soon.  

Friday, August 16, 2013

There WAS This Tree

While setting on our front porch, looking out over our beautiful pond, I once said "I just wish that dang tree were gone!"
Flower Boy looked at me, saying, "What tree?"
I pointed, "That one!"
He gets up from his chair and walks into the garage.
Drewman says, "Where is he going?"
I respond, "To get his chainsaw and cut down that tree."
Flower Boy then exits the garage with chainsaw in hand.

I am well aware Flower Boy spoils me!
But it works both ways.
He doesn't have to ask for things either.
There is a Love and Respect between us that is never failing.
We have to work at it and it isn't always as easy as saying,
"I wish that dang tree were gone!"

Before I could make it into the house, to get the camera, the cutting had began!

Drewman had to run in to put on his shoes!

And just like that!
That dang tree was gone!

The next morning, we were cleaning up the final trunk and branches.
We found this!
The tree had a huge nest of black ants living in it!
I thought the tunnels the ants made were kind of neat.

The removal of "that dang tree" has prompted a whole other project on our pond dam.
It will be another blog post...

Don't you think we have a better view now?
 There WAS This Tree...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Last Of The Firsts

Last week, I posted this facebook status,
"First of the lasts today! Enrolled Drewman as a senior in high school. Got the class schedule with the concurrent college enrollment. Did ok with that... BUT when he put on that gown for the final yearbook photo... IT'S REAL!!"

Yesterday, I posted this photo on facebook,

Off to Sr year! Good Luck Class of 2014! May will be here before you know it!
 With his back pack on his back and his welding bag in hand, my baby boy was off to his final year of high school!

I didn't have words, yesterday. 
I'm not sure I have words, today!

Flower Boy made sure he was home to send Drewman off.
And I'm sure he was there because he knew I would be in tears.
We gave Drewman huge hugs and off he drove!

The Class of 2014 had a breakfast before school started, yesterday morning.
These kids are all amazing kids.

Drewman and KayCee Girl have grown up together.
 They love each other like siblings!
Fight that way too!

On my drive into work, I cried the entire way.
Parents always ask, 
"Where did the time go?"
Or say,
I know where the time has gone and I don't want time to stop.

My tears weren't because Drewman has grown into an amazing young man.
They weren't because I wasn't ready or prepared for his Senior Year.
They weren't because Drewman is spreading his wings, getting ready to fly.
They weren't because I am getting older.
They weren't sad tears or tears of joy.
I believe they were more cleansing tears.

As school let out, Drewman sent me this text,
"I made it through my first day! Lol"
If he only knew!
That child has made it through so much more!

It has been Drewman and I since his second grade year.
My oldest graduated high school and moved off to college.
I wouldn't allow the oldest to stay home.
Drewman and I didn't need protection!
(ended up we did... I bought a German Shepherd)
None the less, the oldest needed to experience life and didn't need to be home helping to provide for his mommy or little brother.

This being said, Drewman and I have spent the majority of the past 10 years just US!
Our relationship is different than my relationship with the oldest.
I go to the oldest for advise and guidance. 
I provide, protect and mother Drewman.
Yes, he is spoiled!
BUT so was the oldest!
(T Beau... You know you were.)

With my boys being 10 years apart in age, I have raised TWO only children.
I have raised them at TWO different times in my life.
I grew up with the oldest, as I was young when he was born.
Much older when Drewman was born, my life was more settled.
Our lives haven't been a bed full of roses.
More thorns than roses, until Flower Boy.
Somehow, we always survived.
We always pulled through.
We always climbed to the top.
We always kept our Faith!

Drewman, as you start your journey through the last of the firsts at PPS,
It will go by quickly!
There will be thorns!
Do your homework!
Stay on top of the college classes!
Have fun!
Enjoy your ride!
You have a curfew!
You are in an AG Communication course for a reason!
You are a winner!
You are a leader!
Be mindful of your actions!


I LOVE the artwork you made me!
This however is the beginning of lasts for me, since all of your artwork burned in the HOUSE FIRE!
Hung on the fridge just like it were your very first piece of artwork.

I am so very proud of you!
I love you more than you will ever know!
I won't apologize for any embarrassment this post or my actions cause you.
I am your mother!
That is my right!

Lastly, live life as the quote I have raised you by:
Be true to yourself.
Keep God in your heart
And your family by your side.
Everything will be alright.  

Son, you are an amazing Child of God!
Go towards those last of the firsts as if they are the firsts of the last!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Week 8 ~ Ailey Mae's Puppies

This week has been a crazy week of jockeying the puppies!
Believe it or not...
I forgot to post their update, yesterday!
Forgive me, please?
I have another excuse...
 THAT will be tomorrow's blog post!

 We are use to jockeying, because we do it when we buy cattle.
We don't buy our breeding stock out of a sale barn.
We spend a lot of time searching, calling and discussing things with cattle owners. 
We want to know where the cattle come from, as well as, the history behind them, so we are willing to travel, to purchase.
It's always best to buy off a ranch, when possible.

We think it should be the same with our puppies.
We have the boys listed all over the state of Oklahoma, into Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
We need a weekend get away, therefore we are willing to deliver the pups to their new home.

Last week, we told you, Kingston was sold.
Turns out...
He is not.
He is sad about that too!
Kingston is the long haired puppy, of the bunch.

Big Boy is still looking for a new home too.
We need to sell some puppies!
There are only two weeks left before these boys are ready to go to new homes.

German Shepherd dogs are not the type of dog to be in a small yard.
These dogs need room to run and exercise.
Onyx and Ailey Mae are on receiver collars, allowing them 10 acres of the ranch to run.

The boys love the water!
 They are at the edge of the pond often.
We found them venturing onto the dock, this last weekend!
We keep a very close eye on them, when they are outside to play.
As you can see in the photo, Ailey Mae isn't far from them, either.

This video is of Kingston and Big Boy playing in the water tub.
Water seems to be their favorite place to play.
I'm guessing, it is because they are hot.

We have also been working on Sit!  Stay!



I am thankful for the paver brick floor!
It never fails.  
One of the boys always turns over the water bowl!

The new house is getting broken in really well, with these boys living in it!
SO GLAD we built the house to fit our lifestyle!

The boys are changing over from canned puppy food to hard puppy food.
Currently, they are eating half canned and half hard food, twice per day.

Last week, we told you, crate training had become a success.
They go right in!

This week, potty training has been very successful!
The new owners of these boys will have very little work on their hands!

The boys are sleeping through the night.
They crate between 10 and 11, at night and are ready to go out about 5, in the morning.
By the time I leave for work, they are ready to "Pen!" for the day.

We have had a lot of feed back, as to why we are holding the puppies to 10 weeks of age.
We believe by holding them, we give them a better start when they are released to their new homes.
Not only will they have 2 rounds of shots,
(most puppies sold only have 1 round, if that)
BUT they will be eating properly, they will be potty trained and crate trained.
Their new family won't have to worry when they leave for work or school.
These boys will be transitioned and will be less trouble to their new families.
We realize the time and effort a new puppy takes.
We are willing to do the work on the front end, so these boys go to good homes.


I need a weekend get away!
Even if it is to deliver a puppy.

Rancher Girl

Friday, August 9, 2013


At the beginning of the summer, Drewman scored an awesome job!
He was the only high school student to be working at the OSU Vet Teaching Hospital.
He has worked mainly in the Medical Records Department, but has also worked in the Business Office and the Human Resource areas of the teaching hospital, as well as been their errand runner and delivery person.
Drewman has gained an array of experience.
It will be a great asset, for his resume, when he moves to college and needs a job there.

Today is Drewman's last day at the teaching hospital.
They had CAKE!!!!

This morning Drewman sent me the photo of the cake.
Flower Boy took off work this afternoon.
He and I went over to have CAKE!!!

The ladies Drewman works with are wonderful ladies.
You can tell by the smiles on their faces, they really like Drewman.
They all told stories of the summer working with Drewman.
Saying he was fun to work with and a good employee.
It makes a Momma and Daddy proud!

Drewman served us all

Proud Momma

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Turning the House Into Our Home

This post has been in the cue for quite some time.

There are certain things that turn a house into a home.
Everyone has furniture.
Everyone has a kitchen.
Everyone has dishes.
Everyone has bedding.
It all belongs in a house.

What makes it your home?

For us, it has been several things.
Number one has been us being together under a roof that belongs to US!

The pride, sweat and tears we put into the house has made it OURS!
Going from NOTHING, on September 3, 2012, to this beautiful home
8 months later, on May 3, 2013!
So many memories were made here, before we even moved in.

OUR house has become our safe place!
Our vacation and get away spot!
Our comfort zone!
Our little slice of heaven!

We all sleep and rest so well here.
We laugh, play, relax and chill here.
We are also still working very hard here.

The work seems to be part of what is turning the house into our home.
At times, it seems endless.
At the same time, it doesn't seem like work.

The yard still has to be completed.
The yard is very costly!
Some say, "It is the investment."
Some say, "Why don't you pay to have that done?"
We say, "Why didn't insurance cover that?"
None the less, we will get the yard complete, in due time.

It is also all those little items.
Like the "Little Oak Stool".
The "Salvaged" items from the old house.
The "Garden Hose Basket" made for the front porch.

One of the projects that kept Flower Boy and I busy, while Drewman was playing in the sand, we believe added to the house becoming our home.
We put "STUFF" on the walls!
All the "STUFF" is very personal to each one of us.

I purchased this plaque right after the house fire.
I had to have it!
It says it all!
It is the first thing you see when you walk in our front door.

This boot cut out was given to us by dear friends.
The horse carving...
It was My Daddy's!
 After we moved into the new house, we began cleaning out the storage buildings.
We had so many things stored there.
There were things, from the house, where I raised my boys.
There were toys belonging to my boys, when they were little.
AND there was My Daddy's horse carving!
I may never know the history.
I do know, I have had it for a very long time.
It was in my bedroom when I was a young girl.
Why was it in a nasty storage building covered with years of dust?
It was there so it didn't burn in the house fire!
It has his name on the back, in his handwriting.
I can only assume, this was a project he did as a young boy or teenager.

The plaques, from "Drewman's Big Night" and Boy's State, have been hung.

 The Cowboy coat and hat hooks have been hung in the mud room.
These were Flower Boy's long before me.
The other half, of the posse, hangs over the adjacent bench.

This amazing cross hung over our bed, in the old house.
It was a gift, from the Big Kids.
It has a few char marks and is a reminder of the protection granted over us.

These were in the old house, too.
That special aunt pulled them off one of the only remaining interior walls.
If they could only talk!

We found this wash board in the storage shed.
It may have a story of it's own to tell, one day.

This bad boy was the hold up of this entire post!
 Flower Boy cautiously hangs him on the wall.
 My Daddy shot this guy years ago!
I hold the hunting story close to my heart.
I was a little girl.

The gun, that took this trophy down, was the only gun locked in our gun safe the day of the fire.
I purchased that gun at My Daddy's Estate Auction just two months prior to the fire.

On the last days before leaving My Daddy's farm, the buck mount was setting inside My Daddy's shop doors.
The woman leaving him, placed him for me to find.
I took him home and set him in our closet.
I wasn't sure what to do with him.
But knew, I wasn't going to leave him for mice and rats, in that old barn.

The night of the house fire, I pulled him out.
He was covered with smoke, ash, soot, insulation, sheetrock and water.
I thought all was lost and I would have nothing of My Daddy's, to carry forward with me.
One of Flower Boy's friends took him, along with other things.
I had no hope of salvaging Daddy's Buck.

Last week,  Flower Boy received a call.
 "When are you going to come get your ....?"
I did all I could not to cry.
It was very hard looking at how well My Daddy's Trophy had been preserved and restored.
I know Ryan spent hours!
I am forever grateful.
Thank you, Ryan and Jennifer!

Task complete!
Our House has made the transition to OUR HOME!