Search This Blog

Friday, September 9, 2016

Red Bag Delivery

It has been a little over a week since our red bag delivery, and I still struggle with holding back the tears to write about it.
In layman's terms, a Red Bag Delivery is premature separation of the placenta during labor or delivery.
This is not a rare happening, in the horse industry, when a mare is foaling, but it is most uncommon, in the cattle industry, because a cow's placenta has several cotyledons to supply blood flow to the calf until it made it's way through the birthing canal and breathing on it's own.
Basically, when the placenta separates the baby dies of suffocation.

GRAPHIC PHOTOS in this blog post.

It was last Thursday morning.
Flower Boy went out to check the Fancy Heifers.
Although he is only a few hundred feet off the back porch, he calls me.
"We have a heifer in labor.  Bring the spotlight so I can see."
(It was just starting to get light.)

I grab the spotlight, slip on my shoes (actually his shoes), and head out the door.
I'm still in my jammies...

Sure enough, we have feet!
Momma is pushing, laying down, getting up, pushing, laying down, getting up, and pushing again.

I go back into the house, get dressed, put in my contacts and return to the pens.
 It isn't unusual for a heifer to take 6 hours to deliver.
Therefore, we weren't in a rush.

When I return to the pens, 
Flower Boy said "You better call work.  She's gonna need some help."
By help...
He means my arm going up the back side of the momma to help deliver the calf.
I'm the only one in the family with slim enough arms to do so.

Thankfully, I also have the education and training to do so too.
I have always had a passion for our cattle so, when I was younger, My Daddy sent me to breeding clinics, an artificial insemination school, cow/calf and nutrition courses.
I also earned an Associates Degree in Animal Science.
An AS degree may not hold much weight in today's world, as BS and MS degrees are now the norm,
That was over 30 years ago and I am happy to say, I use that knowledge every single day on the ranch!

As Flower Boy heads to the truck to get the delivery chains,
I watch her and I realize,

He returns.
"Honey, we need to get her somewhere.  Something is wrong!  I don't feel comfortable pulling this calf."
He gets on the phone to his dad, for his thoughts.
I call my work.
Not to tell them I'm not coming in, but to get dispatched to Large Animal.
(My day job is an accountant at a Veterinary College.)
"Linda, this is Bobbie Sue.  I have a 2 year old heifer, laboring since about 5:30am.  She is in dystocia and we only have feet.  Can you have a team waiting on me?  I will be there in less than 30 minutes."

Dystocia is an abnormal fetal position, weak labor, or basic calving problems due to the momma not dilating properly.
Dystocia is common in first calf heifers.
This is the reason for our every 2 hour calf watch.

We load the heifer into the trailer and head 20 minutes away to the vet hospital.
The heifer is placed in a head catch.
While the team is suiting up, they are asking us questions.

"How old is she?"
She is 2. 

"Is she full term."
Yes.  Her due date is September 8 - 13.
(It is not uncommon for a heifer to calve two weeks early.)
"What breed is she?"

"How long has she been laboring"
Since about 5:30 this morning.

"Has she progressed in her delivery?"

They connect the chains.
 And pull the calf from the birth canal.
The calf is dead.
 I knew this before we left the ranch.
So did Flower Boy.
We needed to know why!
This is the reason we took the heifer to the hospital.

One look at the placenta and a quick examination of the calf, I was bewildered!
In the photo above, you can see the placenta cotyledons that supply the blood flow to the calf.
The placenta is clean, clear and looks very normal.

How did the vet know it was a red bag delivery?
The placenta came out with the calf.
It had detached hours ago.

In a normal delivery, the placenta would come behind the calf.
Often times, it could take a few hours and even a day or two for a cow to "clean" after birth.

Upon examination of the calf, his eyes were cloudy.
The eyes start to cloud a few hours after death.
According to the vet, the calf had been dead for at least 12 hours.
There was no point to do any testing or further investigation.
We determined it was uncontrollable and a freakish stillbirth.
The calf probably died at the onset of labor.
With no help from the calf, being a young mother, and not dilating properly, this was the reason the birth took so long. 

Momma has returned to the calving pasture, just north of the house, with the other heifers.
She will be placed with the bull again, bred and allowed to calve next fall.
She will be one we will keep extra watch over.

Since then, there have been 3 perfect deliveries of healthy baby calves!

One on Labor Day!
 A bouncing baby boy!

One on Tuesday morning, at the 6am calf check!
 A feisty baby girl!

And one, just after sunup, this morning!
  Another spunky baby girl!

These three don't take away from the loss of the little guy last week, but it sure takes my mind off it.
I have never been one to be heart broken over the loss of life on the ranch.
I have always taken the mindset that it is God's Will and I must comply.
That's the way I was raised.
These Fancy Heifers have my heart!
We purchased some of them when they were 6 months old.
Others, in the group, are home raised.
This group just happens to be a symbol of who we are and the quality we produce.

The loss not only was a negative to our bottom line, but it was a real punch in my gut!
It's not going to be easy turning these babies to pasture, after that loss.
I fear I will hover and watch them closer than I have ever watched our babies.
Thankfully, I will pass their pasture on my drive to and from work.

Thanks for listening and following!
Rancher Girl   

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mouse and Luta's MooCow Monday

Well folks, It's Monday!
MooCow Monday!

I went on a bit of a spending spree this weekend.
A Rancher Girl spending spree is not a day at the spa, shopping for fancy clothes, shoes, or purses.
A Rancher Girl's dream shopping spree is buying cattle!

Meet Mouse!

She is a Angus Charolais Cross.
Cattlemen call this crossbreed "SMOKE".

We had a few "off season" calves that needed to be sold.
(Off season calves are calves that are born outside of our Fall or Spring 45 day calving window)
Friday evening, Drewman came home and helped gather the off season calves and the fancy heifers.
The fancy heifers needed to come home to the lots, because they are due to start calving within the next week to 10 days.

I know I'm spider webbing here, but it is necessary to lay the ground story of my shopping spree.

Early Saturday morning, Flower Boy and I started in the working pens.
The off season calves were sorted, loaded in the trailer, and headed to the cattle sale.

We arrived at the sale, unloaded, and as always, Flower Boy needed to walk to the back and watch them bring the calves to the holding pen.
There are many reasons he needs to watch this happen.
The main reason being to make sure the cattle aren't injured after being off loaded from the trailer.
If an injury occurs, buyers will not pay top premium for the cattle.
Normally, when injured cattle are brought into the sale ring, the auctioneer will point out the injury and start the bidding at a greatly reduced rate.

While walking on the catwalk, Flower Boy is focused on finding The Rockin' B cattle, while I am always looking below at the other type of cattle being sold.
I spotted this little gray mouse colored heifer, grabbed Flower Boy's arm, and said "That's a nice little gray heifer down there.  She need some groceries, but she has the frame and style of our cattle."
He looks at me, asks me to point her out, takes a long gander at her, and says "Well you better go get your checkbook!"
I took the keys, from his hands, before he could say another word.
On my way out to the truck, I notice he was behind me...
I grabbed the checkbook and headed to the buyers counter to get a number.
Just like any other auction, you must have a number to bid.

The mouse heifer was mixed in with several other odd sized calves, ranging from day old calves to larger finish sized calves.
It was a pretty sure bet, with that pen of cattle, the calves would sell as singles.

Sure enough....
They were!
We snagged her up for a pretty good price too!

I quickly sent the big kids a text.
"Just bought Bower a little gray heifer!  I think she needs some color in her herd."
Her Daddy's response...
I may not have been able to help Bower Marie's Daddy with his college education, but I have vowed to have a nice nest egg set back when Bower heads off to further her education.
She currently has 4 head in the 6th generation Rockin' B herd, with plans to add more each year.

Thinking to myself....
"Well shoot!  Now I have to buy another one because you don't want that gray to be lonely!"

Honestly, I don't have to buy another one.
We have Luta in the pasture.
Mouse and Luta will pair up nicely.

Speaking of Luta....
I don't think I ever told you about her!

Luta is another "off season" calf.
Along about September of last year, the neighbor's longhorn bull got into the pasture with the Fancy Heifers.
The heifers were gathered, brought home, and given shots of Lutalyse.
Lutalyse is a veterinary product that is used to synchronize estrus cycles.
Since the bull had only jumped the fence and was in the pasture no more than 3 days, Lutalyse could be administered to the Fancy Heifers as a form of birth control.
Luta is a product of her momma's dose of Lutalyse failure.
Hence her name.

When she was born Bower Marie's momma was so excited and couldn't wait to see pictures.
It was that very moment that Luta became Bower Marie's calf.

She is a keeper!
Although she is half longhorn / half angus, she is growing into one awesome heifer!
She is long bodied, has depth of rib, straight legs, tracks/walks well, and holds her head in true Rockin' B fashion!

Mouse is the same!

She just needs food!
She will be a different calf in a month with our feeding program.
This little girl has never seen grain.
She didn't know what to think of it last evening when Flower Boy gave her receiving ration.

Receiving ration is a starter feed for cattle just being weaned or in Mouse's case, never eating grain.
Flower Boy will transition her to different types of feed, before turning her out with the other cattle.
This will take a month or so.
About the time the Fancy Heifer's are finished calving and are ready to be taken back to pasture, Mouse will be ready to go with them.

Remember me telling you about cattle getting injured when unloading and sold at greatly reduced prices?
I bought one of those too!
She was purchased with Drewman's money and much like the Mouse heifer, a text was sent "Just bought you a heifer."
His response "What? Wait!  Do I need to go to the bank?"
My thought was he was probably sleeping and wouldn't respond to my text.
We took a bit of a chance on her.
She came in with a group of fancy heifers.
She had a limp on her right front foot and a bit of a slip in her back end.
The auctioneer quickly told the ring hand to cut her off and sold the remainder of the pen.
She was sold as a single.
She is worth the chance.

She has a brucellosis tag in her hear, which means she has seen a veterinarian.
Within the state of Oklahoma, Brucellosis vaccines can only be administered by veterinarians.
This is also a good indicator that she has had her calf hood shots, too.
We will administer her boosters for safe measure, as well as a few doses of wormer.
She too will be taken to pasture when the Fancy Heifers are finished calving and are ready to return.
She will be placed with the bull, along with Bower's older two yearling heifers, in the spring, adding to our fall born calving season.

Drewman has named her 50sumthin.
His Rockin' B eartag numbers are 50's and she is a bit thin.
That too will change over the next month or so.

As of Sunday morning, this little girl had no limp or slip and the swelling in her right front hock had gone down.
A chance well worth taking!

 Happy Moo Cow Monday!

Rancher Girl

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Lost Treasure

Hey there!

If you follow me on social media, you know I have been busy in the Rancher Girl Designs workshop all summer.
I have completed several projects, which I will blog later.

Today, I wanted to tell you about some vintage finds I found while scavenging some barn wood for projects.

There is this barn, on one of our land leases.
 It honestly speaks to my soul!

Off to the side and throughout this pasture are piles of tin, barn wood and just plain rubbish, including but not limited to; rusted metal, old feed sacks, blocks, bricks, tires, and the like...
This is where I tend to scavenge.

I pulled off a section of old fencing.
It was holding down some rusted barn tin.
Under the rusted tin was a red plastic milk crate.
The milk crate was covered with an old tattered blanket.
I hesitantly and so very slowly pulled the blanket out of the milk crate.
Fearful of a snake or mouse or other varmint jumping out at me, because I had disturbed his home.
Thankfully, no one was home!
Under the blanket were these perfectly secure and unharmed treasures!

  A Tamac Pottery Tumbler!
The pattern is Frosty Pine.
It's value is about $20.
Perry, Okla is our home town!
What an amazing piece of history!

 You sure don't see many of these things now days!

 A single Pressed Carnival Iridescent Glass Candle Holder.
It's value is about $12.

 A Harker Pottery Cameoware Sugar Bowl with Lid in Pink!
This is such a pretty piece and is in pristine condition!
It's value is unknown, as I can't seem to find one in pink.
I have found one in blue, valued at $30.

I don't see this being used as a sugar bowl in my house.
I see it sitting on my dresser or makeup area.
(these are the only places in my house that "pretty things" are allowed)
It may hold ear rings, bobby pins, cotton balls, or even q tips.

Last but not least is this Pyrex 3 Cup Teardrop Measuring Cup Bowl with Pour Spout!
This is going to be a keeper, as it has already found it's place in my cabinet next to my other Pyrex measuring bowls.
It's a perfect fit, with the handle setting over the cusp of my hand, between my forefinger and thumb.
I see this little gem being used a lot in my kitchen!

All of these finds are dated to the 1940's.
None hold much dollar value.
I'm sure each one has a story to tell.
They were important to someone, at some time and place.

I will keep them safe.
Use them as needed.
Enjoy each piece.
Give them a new story and place in history.
All the while, wonder who placed them under that tin and why!

Rancher Girl

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

10 Things We Learned Over The Weekend

Before anyone flips a switch, yes, it is I, back to blogging.
I'm not going to apologize for my distance or lack of blogging.
I have realized since the kids are all gone and we are empty nested, I tend to be more of the worker bee than the photo taker.
After a day at the day job, evenings are spent choring and completing unfinished tasks.
When finished for the night, I am dog tired and ready for bed.
Lunches use to be my time to blog, as my commute to and from work were spent reflecting on the daily blog post.
Now, lunches are spent running errands and attempting to prepare for the ranch jobs needing done.
Let's just say, we are very busy folks without kids!

We were able to get away this past weekend.
We took a quick trip to visit Drewman.
He is interning for Helena Chemical and is "planted" in Garden City, Kansas.
This is a 5 hour drive from the ranch.
We drove through the Oklahoma Panhandle and up the south west side of Kansas.

We learned 10 very valuable things over the weekend.

10)  There is a difference between north central Oklahoma and south western Kansas.
The soil type is different.
The terrain is different.
The trees are different.
There actually aren't trees in south west Kansas, unless they are in and around a homestead or have been planted as a wind break.

9)  While driving through the Oklahoma panhandle and into south west Kansas, you will see road signs that say
"Watch For Cross Winds"
They mean it!

8)  God and Mother Nature have made some pretty amazing sites!
Gloss Mountains in north western Oklahoma. 

Monument Rocks - Chalk Pyramids in south west Kansas.

 Random drive though the country in south western Kansas.

Kansas sunsets are as amazing as Oklahoma sunsets!

7)  Man made some pretty awesome sights there too!
This loading alley is made of old irrigation wheels.

This tree reminds me of My Daddy!
When I saw it, my first thought was
"This was made by pipeliners that had nothing better to do, on a cold or wet day, then make a metal tree to intrigue folks for years to come!"
 I'm always drawn to those things welded.
It's probably only something a welders daughter could understand.

6)  Cattle aren't in open pastures in south west Kansas.
Most of the cattle are in feedlots.
Cattle people say the smell of a feed lot is the smell of money.
We didn't mind the smell!

5)  The land is used to grow crops.
Where Oklahoma is mostly a wheat state, south west Kansas grows wheat, corn, soybeans, milo and potatoes, as well as several varieties of hay.
Drewman has spent many an hour in these fields, inspecting crops, scouting and taking samples.
It was nice to be able to job shadow him!
 Drewman in a field of soybeans.
 Soybeans are a legume plant that produces its own nitrogen.
They do so by these nodules on their root system.

Above are the flowers, of the soybean, and the beginning stages of the soybean pods.

4)  There are different types of land in south west Kansas.
Dry land and irrigation land.

3)  Most irrigation fields are called circles.
2)  There are two different types of irrigation.
Pivot and flooded.
Pivot irrigation is a system that has a water well and pump connected to an irrigation system that circles the field.
Hence the fields being called circles.
The pivots can be 1/4 mile or 1/2 mile systems.
A 1/4 mile system is about the same as an Oklahoma 1/4 section or 160 acres.
A 1/4 mile pivot irrigation field equals 120 to 140 acres of crop, due to the corners of the field not getting irrigation.

A flooded irrigation is still supplied by a water well and pump, but irrigation pipe is laid on the ground and the field is "flooded" to obtain the proper moisture desired for the crop.
On a side note...
Soil is different than dirt!
Dirt is misplaced soil.
We were taught this last summer while drilling holes for our working pens.
The Number One Thing We Learned Over The Weekend...
Drewman has a passion for the land of south west Kansas!
He loves the area!
He loves the diversity of the crop production!
He has an amazing support system there!
Drewman is wrapping up his final week in the Garden City area.
This morning he gave his intern presentation to his salesmen.
The Garden City area consists of 5 different locations.
Therefore, every day of the week Drewman is in a different location.
He has visited New Mexico, Colorado, and Oklahoma while being "planted" in south west Kansas.
Next week, he will travel back to Iowa, where he began his summer, and give his final presentation, before heading back to Oklahoma State University to start his junior year.
What an amazing summer it has been for Drewman.
Flower Boy and I saw so much growth and change in him, in just the short amount of time we spent over the weekend.
We saw a young man moving forward towards adult life, ready to focus on his final coursework and preparing for a career.
 Although Drewman will always be "our baby boy", we could see no "boy" in him.
Growing up is hard on kids.
Leaving home is even harder.
Moving hours away, to people and places you don't know, can't be easy.
When you have goals, drive and determination, you go with your foot to the floor.
You arrive knowing you have work to do.
You leave knowing there is nothing left unfinished!
Proud Parents and Empty Nesters
As for mommas...
We aren't talking about what it's like to let your children go!
It is a feeling of accomplishment to watch them grow, mature, complete educations and start careers.
I Thank God, we were granted grandchildren to keep our mind off the tears!
Rancher Girl

Monday, March 21, 2016

Moo Cow Monday ~ A Rancher's Love

With calving season in full swing, there have been many articles in the media about the harm done to calves when assessing them and ear tagging them after their birth.
Some have even stated that a rancher is in the business strictly for the income.

Today, I feel the need to rebuke them.

If you follow us at all, whether it be here or social media, you know we have a love for our family, our lifestyle, our world and our animals.
You also know Flower Boy is an Animal Whisperer!

It does not matter where or when he steps into the pasture, the cattle come running!
He often spends hours in one pasture playing with the calves.
He talks to them, pets them, and secures a real bond with them.
This is also the reason our momma cows are so tame and allow us to tag their babies easily.

When the babies are tagged, Flower Boy never turns his back on them.
He always makes up with them and shows them love.

I watch him apologize to each calf tagged.

If a calf happens to get separated from it's momma during tagging, Flower Boy is quick to seek out momma and direct her calf back to her.

He will stand among the herd, watching, to make sure momma knows he did not hurt her baby.

The tagging is necessary for identification of the pairs.
The calves are tagged with the same number ear tag as their momma's.
The left ear is tagged on heifer calves and the right ear is tagged on bull calves.
The tagging does not hurt the calf.
It is much like piercing our ears.
Yes, it stings for a bit, but it does not hurt the calf.

For the past two years, every time we tag a calf, I am reminded of a saying that has been thrown around the cattle industry.
It goes something like this...
"We've been tagging before tagging was cool."

While we have the calf held for tagging, the calf is assessed for health, sex, and approximate weight.
All is written in a log book kept in the feed truck.
We attempt to make the assessment and tagging within the first 24 hours of birth.

This doesn't always happen, as the mommas like to hide their babies.
Therefore, we may spend a few days searching out the calf.
This is a sign of a good momma.

We do have a few mommas that get pretty protective of their babies.
Those calves don't get tagged until all the cattle are brought in for working.
At this time, the calves will get a round of preventive shots, mommas will get wormed and assessed.
After the working, the cattle will be moved to summer pasture.

Ranchers aren't just in the business for the income.
Many dollars are spent on herd health, feed, hay, equipment and general operation of the ranch.
The income line isn't always high.

There is just something about the miracle of  life when you watch the birth of a calf.
Time spent just you and your rancher, under the open sky in the middle of a pasture, along side a herd of cattle.
When you are there, you know what you do is worth while and has meaning.

You feel a deep pull to your heart and gut when you read or hear others give a negative opinion of what you do.

It is the love for the cattle and what we do that keep us going.

Rancher Girl

Monday, February 22, 2016

Moo Cow Monday - Number 3 Cow

Graphic Photo

We had to get in one of our favorite cows.
 Number 3 is the first cow to the truck!
She is normally the one to stick her head in the window to say HI!

She had to be penned because she had a hurt foot.
She knocked it or scraped it on something, and possibly got a splinter.
 We noticed a bit of oozing from her pastern and thought it best to get her into the chute to take a closer look.
The injury didn't appear to be a major issue.

Flower Boy squeezed the gunk out of the wound.
The wound was like a pimple.
Once popped, the swelling was down and she was back to normal.
 Iodine was applied to the affected area.
She was also given a shot of antibiotics, to prevent further infection.

The cow never appeared to be injured or in pain.
    She never walked with a limp or favored the foot in anyway.
Our thought was to leave her in the pen for observation and return her to pasture the next day.

The next day, SHE WAS GONE!
She had broken out of the pen!
She actually broke through the cables of the pen.
This is not the photo of the break out area, but it is very close to what it looks like.

The hunt was on!
We searched the roads.
There was no sign of her.
We searched the creek.
There was no sign of her.
We talked to neighbors.
There was no sign of her.
We sent out messaged to surrounding cattle owners.
There was no sign of her.

The next morning, Flower Boy saddled Charlie Horse.
There was only one place she could have gone.
She had to be in the pasture south of the house.
You know...

The cows are due to start calving, February 26th.
It was possible that the stress of gathering her, penning her, placing her in the chute, and doctoring her foot, she could calve early.
Since cows like to hide when they give birth, the pasture south of the house was a likely hiding spot for her.

After a long hard ride, in extreme south winds, there was still no sign of number 3 cow!

Flower Boy did find a few tracks but nothing that assured us she was there.

The next morning, the girls and I made a 2.54 mile hike into and around the pasture!
We happened upon fresh tracks!
But still no sight of number 3!

Later that evening, when the wind died down, we entered the south side of the mile section, onto another property owner.
With their permission, we drove the property line and honked the horn.
Normally, if any of the cows hear the feed truck horn and the sound of the truck, they come running.
After about an hour of honking, more walking, and driving the property line, still no sign of number 3 cow!

We went on to do the other chores, with the thought that on our way back to the house, we would stop in another neighbors pasture and try honking at the west fence line.

I place a text to Cathy, the other property owner...
"Hey there!  Is it possible for us to go into your pasture and attempt to call up the cow?  We still haven't seen her."
"Sure thing!"
She provided directions through the pasture down to her south gate.

We had looked in her pasture the day before, but hadn't driven through the south gate.

As we drove through Cathy's pasture, I told Flower Boy, "STOP!"
"I think that is number 3 coming behind us!"
When you spend the amount of time we do with the cattle, you tend to know their walk.
Sure enough!
Here she came!
Nose in the cake spout and head at the window!

She had somehow crossed the fence and mated up with Cathy's cattle.
Such a relief to know she was safe!

Yesterday morning, we called all the cattle to Cathy's catch pen, and number 3 cow was returned to her herd!
The search was over!

Rancher Girl   

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Chapters of The Book

Today is this Beautiful Woman's Birthday!
She is my BFF!

Our Daddies were friends!
They worked in the oil field together.
They drank coffee together.
They tinkered on projects together.
They shared things together.
They were even sick together.

How could their daughters not be life long friends?

We have so many things in common, it makes us wonder if we aren't really sisters.
We know what the other is thinking before she opens her mouth.

The difference between us....
I am a COWgirl!
She is a HORSEgirl!

We tell each other things the other never wants to hear.
Just last week, she told me to go get a Dr. Pepper and a Snickers, AND GET OVER IT!
Probably what I needed to hear too.

There is rarely a rebuttal from the other, as we know what is said needs to be said.
It comes from our hearts with honesty and respect.
We keep each other balanced.
Always supporting the other.
Always with an "I LOVE YOU" attached.

We have struggled together through divorces, single motherhood, raising our children, and working two jobs.

So many stories come to mind while preparing to write this post!

There was a time when money was stretched thin for the both of us.
We had the three younger kids.
My big boy was in college.
The younger ones were little, as there is a 10 year span between my boys.
Melis and I pooled our "extra cash", took the little kids to rent a few movies, and headed to the local grocery store.
As we walked into the store, we told each one of them "You are allowed $10 each and 10 minutes to get whatever you want for snacks! GO!"
It was a mad rush for us all to get our snacks.
We returned to my house for movie night.
THAT is a night our kids still talk about and they are college students now!

We are both Daddy's Girls!
It was a struggle for us to have our daddies both sick at the same time.
Mine died in October, as Melis's died the following January.
Just one day after My Daddy's birthday.
Today is her Daddy's birthday too!
So many things we shared with our daddies!

As each of us worked two jobs, she would watch my boys while I worked my second job and I would watch her girls as she worked hers.
We depended on each other to help parent, gather children, and get them to activities.
We relied on each other to keep our kids centered in Christ and in Life!

The lessons we have learned!
Those lessons weren't just homework lessons either!

She taught Drewman to make meatloaf.
I baked cookies with her girls.

I cleaned her house.
She helped me paint mine.

She knows my passwords!
I know hers!

We've held hands in the worst of times and cried in the best!

We have grown from the days of constant struggle.
We are both in healthy loving relationships with men who truly compassionately care, nurture, protect, and support us.

Our conversations often start with "Why..." or "How..."
All as we are trying to solve the problems of the world.
 Our conclusions, to those questions, are answered by "Be thankful for simple things! LIKE SUNSETS!!"
Followed by a photo of one.  

Today, as she is off on a birthday getaway with the love of her life, she will read this and say,
"I'm only following the directions in the book!"

She claims I have written a book and she is only reading it, as I happened to leave a copy on my coffee table.
I am older than she, but only by a few years!
Therefore, it seems I have accomplished things before her or even crossed hurdles earlier than she.

The reality of the story is....
I could have never written the chapters of the book without her!

She will also read this to her love, shed a few tears, gather herself, and text me.
The text will be something along the lines of "Really!  Did you have to tell the world? Really!"

Yes!  Yes, I Did!

Enjoy your trip, Sister!
Love You More!!

Rancher Girl