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Posts Tagged ‘drought’

I have to think that one of the most universal traditions is making a wish when blowing out candles on a birthday cake! If it isn’t, we should all help spread the word! Last week Matt and I got to spend a day driving several hours west to deliver bulls to a friend/customer who had purchased them. Since all of us have spring birthdays and three of the four of us had just celebrated birthdays within the week, I decided it was most appropriate to take a birthday cake along!  It was an absolutely wonderful lunch with some great friends!

Can you see the candle in each serving of cake? Each of us got our very own wish!

Can you see the candle in each serving of cake? Each of us got our very own wish!

One can never share their wish at the time of blowing out the candles, because it might not come true! However – I can now share mine. 🙂 I had one simple wish as I closed my eyes and blew out my candle. I wished (and prayed) for rain on our pastures and wheat fields. Well – what do ya know? It came true! Best Mother’s Day gift ever for this farm/ranch mama! We were blessed with 2.75″ of rain yesterday and it couldn’t have been more timely!  I hope the other 3 had their wishes come true, too!

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These storm clouds were a welcome site!

Part of the cattle got turned out to pasture on Saturday even though the grass was still pretty short – this rain will give us some restful nights now, for at least a few weeks; knowing there will be grass for the cows to eat and water in the ponds for them to drink. Rain is so very crucial to farming and ranching – one only has to observe how much the number of cows in the U.S. has decreased the past few years due to drought. You can see it in the prices of beef in the grocery store and at restaurants. I can guarantee there are very few if any ranch families that wanted to sell their cow herds, but when there isn’t enough feed, you have to keep around only what can be properly cared for, and not permanently damage the land. It is tough emotionally and economically. When your annual source of income (or, your salary, if you will)  all gets sold at one shot – there has to be a tremendous amount of planning, pride-swallowing, and willingness to do something different for a while.  Some ranchers have received rains and are beginning to rebuild herds, but it will take years to get back to what they once had. Best wishes to everyone who has had to make the tough choices!

Hopefully this rain helps the grass to grow - a lot!

Hopefully this rain helps the grass to grow – a lot!

Before I forget – I definitely should share the recipe for the cake I took along to celebrate with! It was from one of the recent issues of Southern Living & it is SO Yummy!!!!!

Strawberries-and-Cream Sheet Cake   I just can’t say enough about how good it is! And – not always does my food turn out like the picture, but this cake did 🙂

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Picture compliments of Southern Living magazine.

 

 

 

 

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For the ladies out there reading this…(guys – don’t be afraid to read on, too!) Don’t you love those times when you get to watch your husband work really hard at something that matters, a lot?! If not, oh gosh, I can’t even imagine; I am just very sad for you! Seeing Matt work hard is absolutely one of the top reasons I love spending the day with him. Oh, he is also very clever and fun to be around, but I can’t say too many good things about him all in one blog post. What if he reads it?!

Matt sawing through the ice, looking for water.

Matt sawing through the ice, looking for water.

I don’t know that he loves running a chain saw, but he does look good doing it! 🙂 On the day this picture was taken, in early January, we were really struggling to find water for the cows. That is a pond he is standing on, but even in the winter, it is shrinking and we kept hitting mud rather than water. We are so thankful for any moisture that comes our way to hopefully help fill it for the summer!

These are the pregnant mamas patiently waiting for a fresh drinking hole.

These are the pregnant mamas patiently waiting for a fresh drinking hole.

Part of our daily winter chores include breaking ice. We do have electric waterers in part of the pens and keep a tank heater in other places. But alas, Matt’s great ice breaking/cutting/removing skills are a much needed asset on our farm. The group of cows pictured above have access to a large field of sorghum stalks as well as the pasture you can see. The pond is their source of fresh water.

I took this picture to try and show the depth of the ice he was cutting through.

I took this picture to try and show the depth of the ice he was cutting through.

I don’t have giant feet, but they are far from tiny! The ice was about 7 inches thick – at least. It did make for a good workout getting a drinking hole made!

And there it is - a watering hole.

And there it is – a watering hole.

Thankfully, we got a few warmer days since then and saw some melting. So, when we don’t have to cut ice, I try to enjoy other jobs with Matt. On any average day, we check cows, put out mineral, fill water tanks, and truly enjoy one another’s company. I am very blessed to be the wife of a cattleman and farmer.

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Yes - sometimes we have a little visit with some of the cows!

Yes – sometimes we have a little visit with some of the cows!

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Life is so full of choices…from “What’s for supper?” to “What am I going to wear?” to “What should I do or be when I grow up?”  My little girl is growing up. We got some of her senior pictures done at our farm & she has grown into quite the young lady!

It does not seem long ago that we were toting her along to the State Fair and Ak-Sar-Ben as a newborn in her infant carrier. Now – we are working on finalizing high school, choosing a college, planning a graduation party, trying to figure out how best to finance college, and hoping she might choose to focus on all of those things more than human specimens of the male gender!

I hope she can always be this excited for something as simple as toe socks!

I remember being her age and hoping I was making the right choices. What a blessing for young people to have choices and not have to just follow some mandated plan set forth by a government or someone else.

For cattle ranchers, choices this year are tough ones. Fun choices to make are breeding decisions and studying different types of profitable marketing decisions. What is next for ranchers all across the plains states the rest of this year? Lots of planning and hard decisions. The drought forces herd reduction, feeding alterations from typical practices, and changes in family farm/ranch succession plans. We all learn to prioritize what is most important. Like always, the health and well-being of the animals comes first. If we don’t have feed for them, we have to sell them.

What does that mean to any of you who may not farm or ranch? It may mean having to do a bit more planning as to “What’s Next” in terms of what you can provide for meals. Farmers and ranchers have done an outstanding job over the years of overcoming challenges to continue to provide a very safe, abundant, and affordable food supply. Sadly, that is getting more and more difficult as the drought broadens and worsens. Groceries will very likely get more expensive. We all just need to get through this and remember stories from our great- grandparents about survival in difficult times.

O.K. I really dislike negative talk – just had to get a little realism out there. Hunker down folks – get the freezer stalked and be ready to get creative with the cooking skills! Kaydee wants to learn how to can this year, so we are starting with peach jam. Yum! Hopefully we get enough made to last us through the year.

I am adding a photo from the winter here just to remind you all how much we always wish for a nice hot day in January when it’s 10 below….Enjoy!

 

 

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