Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cow Pokes

We had a most fabulous weekend.  No bull.

Last week was difficult in EVERY regard.  Nothing bad happened, per se, but it was a constant press.

The weather was difficult.
Traffic was difficult.
Schoolwork was super difficult.
The schedule was difficult.

The combined sum made everyone's attitudes difficult, mine included.

By Friday I was frayed and frazzled.  

So, an invitation from our neighbors to spend the weekend at their cattle ranch was divine timing.  We piled all our bad attitudes into the van and headed south, ready for relief!  That is just what we found.  It was my version of perfection.......great weather, horses, cows, hundreds of acres, four wheelers, tractors, board games, cook outs, and a blanket of stars.

We both brought our Doodles, who ran and ran and played and played and provided hours of entertainment for their happy owners.  Have I mentioned how I love my Doodle??  :-)  She totally rocked it as a ranch hound.

This is Bentley.  He's a handsome gent, and a bit of a spirited ride!

Here a cow.
There a cow.
Everywhere a cow, cow.

I learned a few things about cattle, and I find them very interesting.  For one thing, the matter of breeding and cross breeding is quite an art.  We went to one pasture of "mosaic cows" where every one was a different color.  :-)

See this cute little baby?  So new she still had her umbilical cord!!
Well, her name is now officially "Emma".

And this darling girl?  Her name is "Brooke".
She has a Baylor Bear tattoo right on her hip that is a perfect little bear claw.


Max learned how to drive a standard, and he did well.

We drove right into the middle of the pastures, honking our horn.  The cows are conditioned to know that means treat time.  They come running for their sweet grass cube snacks.  This kind of interaction makes them much easier to pen them when you need to.

Here you can see Brooke's tattoo better.  Sic 'em bears!
Of course, my Aggie friend said he never would have given me the cow if he'd have noticed that mark. He said she probably never would have made it into the "keep" herd.  But now she's part of the family and he isn't allowed to give her away!  :-)

Emma and her Mommy.

They are enormous animals, but when they stand there and bat their great big eyes at you, they seem so gentle and calm.  (A lot of that has to do with the specific breeds, I am told.)

There were hundreds of acres to explore with the four wheelers.  My boys have been to this ranch many times through the years, but this was my first visit, so they were excited to give me the grand tour.

Emma couldn't get enough of the four wheelers.

THIS was my highlight....and a total stress relief from my week.

Ok.  See this big back hoe?

I drove that baby into the pasture.

Then I dug that hole.


I dug myself into a great big hole.  (No big surprise to my Buzzard.)

Raw power.  And me.  :-)

Ems and I went on a nature hike that started off as a leaf gathering expedition.  We quickly abandoned our leaf guides though and just chased butterflies, photographed wildflowers, and searched for this wooly caterpillar.

The boys spent several hours shooting shotguns and pistols.  They loved it.

We stayed up way late playing games and laughing.  I'm thankful for the generosity of our friends.
Sometimes nothing beats getting away and being outside.....away from all things difficult!  It doesn't take long on a cattle ranch to feel refreshed, restored, and ready to tackle a new week.

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