Youth in Asia

I have wanted to be a veterinarian since I was 12 years old.   Which may make this story even funnier!  The summer after my freshman year in college, I decided  to attend  summer school at  Panhandle State  University  in  Goodwill,  Oklahoma!  If one could overlook the heat it  was a  good summer.  I  enrolled  in history, botany and speech.  

The speech class was taught  by large,  stern,  individual named  Dr. Underwood.  I was not much of a  public speaker back then.  It took starting a family for me to realize the power that  public speaking  holds  for  me.   (The ability  to have a captive  audience  who wants to listen to what I have to  say!)  Anyway,  I was  assigned my first speech, it was on Martin Luther King  Jr.  and I survived it.  At that  point in my life, I  still didn’t love  public  speaking.   However, I  knew I  had done a great job on it.  So, with that  speech, my public speaking confidence soared.

For the next speech,  I was assigned the  topic  of “Youth in Asia”.  Well, let me tell you, this was right up my alley.   Several  years before,  I  had  spent  a month in Japan.  I attended  a Japanese  high school.  I  knew tons about “Youth in Asia”.  I  skipped to the library, and started  digging through some reference materials.   Footnotes  and index cards were generated to  support everything I wanted to talk about.  Then, on the  day of the  speech, there I was, confidently telling Dr Underwood, and  a  college  class of my peers all about  “Youth in Asia”.  It  was a hit.  I was amazing.

I was surprised, when I  was asked to stay after class for  a minute.  This was unusual, as Dr. Underwood usually  provided  our  feedback to us  on paper.  I waited patiently for the other students to file out.  When the classroom cleared,  he gently told me, that the assigned  topic had actually been,  . . . . “Euthanasia”!   Thank  goodness I  hadn’t circulated pictures of  me  in my kimono!  

Labor Day

A little late to type this one up, but better late than never! The girls have been competing in several rodeos throughout the summer and now, as we move into fall, they are competing in NM high school and junior high rodeos. This really translates into us NEVER being home. It is nice to rodeo, we have many friends that we adore and get to see many places of the Land of Enchantment that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise. On rodeo weekends, we are usually hot and tired, but we are also all together as a family, this is different than when we are home, we tend to veer in different directions.

Anyway, the down side to not being home, is the definite neglect of our casa and a “to-do” list that is over three yellow legal pad pages long! If you know me at all, you know how I love my lists! I drive David crazy by putting things like shower on the list. I enjoy accomplishing tasks, even little ones. Then of course, if your list gets a bunch of things crossed off and is looking messy you have to rewrite it!

So we arrived at the three day weekend, and the laboring began! Of course we rode our horses everyday, and worked with Katy and Vegas (the youngsters)! Dalli and I loaded wood racks while Macklee cleaned the chicken coop. This maybe the first time in 20 years that we got wood ready for the winter prior to an actual blizzard. I advised David not to move mine too quickly, apparently stacking wood isn’t one of my strengths! We also cleaned out the horse trailer. We picked up the yard and packed for the next rodeo. I attempted to find my desk (that is the horizontal surface in our house where EVERYTHING gets placed!)

Sunday the laboring continued, as I balanced the ranch checkbooks and filed papers, still trying to find the wood on the top of my desk. Then I helped David with his CSP grazing plan. He is the one with the Ag degree, but I believe that my input and typing skills were quit valuable. Then of course all of the regular stuff, like laundry, toilets, and the microwave. Oh I almost forgot, changed the sheets and washed the rugs! I thought about adding dusting to the list, but what really is the point of dusting?

Once the work was close to done, the girls and I sat down to play one of our favorite card games, Canadian Salad! We had played a few hands, when David called needing some help. He was on the back side of the ranch and needed some drivers to move heavy equipment. So off we went to High Point storage to assist him! (Which is a separate blog see Bulldozing Mama)

Just a little glimpse into my dream life. (I know ya’ll thought it was all puppies, kittens and rainbows 24/7) I do realize that the list will never end. Life’s ‘to-do’s” are endless. We try hard to embrace every moment, whether on the road or home doing the tasks on life’s list. However, sometimes there is no substitute for the feeling of crossing stuff off your list! (I need to take a picture of my next laboring list!)

The Hero Effect

Macklee and Katy by Julie Carter

Several years ago, I was blessed to listen to Kevin Brown give a speech about his book the Hero Effect.  He is an amazing speaker with a great message.  He believes that Heros are NOT ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  Instead, he considers a Hero an extraordinary person doing ordinary things with no strings attached.   This past week a hero came into our lives to help Macklee with her filly.

 I think all girls like horses, but Macklee loves them.  She has wanted to be a horse trainer (and a veterinarian) for as long as I can remember.   Recently, we began watching the show Heartland, which only served to  intensify her desire to train a horse.  When you asked her what she wanted for her birthday, her response was unwavering, “a horse to train”.  Right before Macklee’s birthday, her Aunt inquired as to what she wanted for her birthday. Her Aunt said she had a filly that she would give her.  (if we could get David to approve!)   So, in September,  a wild red roan filly that had never been touched arrived.  Macklee named her birthday present “Katy”, after John Wayne’s wife Kathyrn in the movie McClintok!

Our hero is a person that I have known my entire life.  Last week I saw her as an extraordinary person.  She had never met Macklee, but had heard through a mutual friend about the filly.  She drove 4 hours and helped Macklee for 4 days in the freezing cold (42 degrees).  She taught Macklee more in 4 days, than all the videos we had previously watched.  She was an amazingly patient teacher.  Macklee soaked it all up like a clean kitchen sponge.  Macklee was able to get into the pen with Katy and begin working with her. The transformation was amazing to watch.

Marcia and Macklee by Julie Carter

Marcia Vanbuskirk is an extraordinary person who gave of herself with no strings attached, and for this she truly is our hero.  I am not sure she will ever know how much the gift of her knowledge and time meant to Macklee and us.  Macklee thinks she hung the moon. She told me “Clinton Anderson is ok, but there is no way he knows as much as Marcia”! Each night she would tell us (at length) all the technical stuff that she learned. When I came home and asked how her day was she replied, “mom my day was magical”! There is no better feeling in the world than to know your child had a “magical day”.

I believe everything happens for a reason (even if you have no idea what the reason is). There were a lot of things that lined up to make this happen.  My new favorite quote from Einstein sums this up perfectly, “coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous”!

Thank you Marcia, we are better because you brought your best and showed up. You have to move people in order to move mountains.





Feedback Friday!

Sign on front of my office door!

By the time Friday rolls around, my whole family feels run over by several slow moving freight trains. It was especially hard today, as the snow and the freezing fog, made our commute much longer. Even though we left our house way before the sun got up, we were lucky to get to Belen by 7:15 a.m. (Even though we had left at 5:43 a.m!)

Anyway, as we pulled into Belen High School there was a security guard, standing outside in the freezing fog, smiling and waving at literally every vehicle. He would turn to the left and greet the parents that were leaving the school, and then flip around and wave and smile at the parents and students that were entering. He was amazing. I don’t know his name, I just wanted to say thank you for making my day.

He also created a teachable moment for my children. He let my children see what it looks like to do a great job, no matter what your job is. Always do your best, and people will notice. If you are miserable in your job, guess what? You are not stuck. It is not your boss, your spouse, your co-workers, or anyone else’s problem that you are not happy.

Bring passion to all you do, from folding laundry to balancing your check book. They are always telling us, life is too short. So remember to smile and that smile will ripple far and wide. I know your smile brightened so many lives today. Great job!

Proud 1.5 Percenter!

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What a whirl wind week!  It started out with a presentation I had been asked to give to the Chuckwagon Cowbelles, then there was my day job, night schooling some FFA kids in veterinary science, homeschool duties, and lastly a ranch sleepover for Dalli’s classmates!

I hope I’m not too tired to continue typing!  Creating the Cowbelle presentation was difficult.  Usually when I create a presentation, I just put up impressive ranch views, tell about my hour commute (with no traffic), throw in a little veterinary medicine, of course a pinch of humor, and the crowd goes wild.  However, with many of these women living on ranches with similar views, I had to dig deep!

So, I focused on some of the problems plaguing (not plaquing for those of you who know my spelling is bad) our beautiful state, but more over our Nation.  The one that bothers me the most is that only 1.5 percent of us help feed this nation.  This is a profound fact.  Depending on what source you use, estimates will go as high as 2 percent of Americans are directly involved in food production for the rest of the country!  I knew we were a minority, but we are down right endangered.

I tell the girls all the time that their dad has the VERY important job of feeding America. She (America) may starve without us!   Ironically, 1.5% of us don’t mind the burden that we are faced with, we are quite passionate about it!  It is easy to become reactive and emotional when we are consistently being attacked by something my friend Rodney calls the “ethics of the affluent”.  If more Americans were involved in agriculture and had to worry about where their next meal came from it wouldn’t matter if it was grass fed or not.   In other countries, like Nigeria up to 88% of their populations are involved in producing the food that feeds their nation.

There are many romantic notions around what we do everyday (Holidays too!) but the reality is, it is hard work to feed America.   As people become more removed from agriculture (and hard work) it shows up in many different ways.  In my practice, I often see adults who have extreme difficulty coping with life and death.  Life and death is part of ranching.   Responsibility and consequences for your actions are mandatory components that seem to be lacking in our big cities.  We probably do not have to worry about Bernie Sanders redistributing the 1.5 “percenters” more evenly because the rest of the nation doesn’t want to work as hard as we do.

Appreciate the American Farmer and Rancher (the 1.5 percenters) we are working hard to feed you, doing the work that you don’t want to do.  Off to make eggs for a group of giggly girls, beef for lunch, popcorn later, and milkshakes last night!  We are doing our part to “Eat American” How about you?
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Girl Power

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The most eventful part of the day (read “Branding 911” below) over shadowed our new, up and coming branding crew.  Eric Encinias and our neighbor Marcelo were excellent teachers for the next generation (which just happens to be all girls!)

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The girls did an amazing job and were fearless.  So much so that when both flanking crews were busy, and a third calf came, Macklee went to grab the rope alone! This is a picture of her mad after I would let her take that calf by herself.  (Mean mom!)IMG_7701

The next branding we went to they were able to practice some more.
If these girls continue to be such a great flanking crew, think of all the money we will save on beer!

Branding 911


So our branding started out resembling all the previous years, but quickly became memorable.  I finished preparing breakfast, while David went to saddle horses.  The Cowboys arrived and ate breakfast, then we hopped on our horses and set out to gather one of the pastures closest to our house.  We had the pasture gathered and were pushing the mommas and their babies toward the house corrals.  A couple of Cowboys kicked their horses into a lope to get ahead of the cows and hold them at water. This is where it all fell apart.  When Duane kicked Paint, it was a full fledged bronc ride.  Paint apparently hadn’t had enough coffee or was it too much green grass on a brisk morning?  Regardless, he bucked like a saddle bronc at the NFR, head between his knees the whole time. Duane rode him well, until he ended up on tilt.  He hit the ground in a tuck and roll fashion.  We knew there was a problem when he tried to stand, twirled around and collapsed back to ground. 

Magic and I kept him company while the Cowboys went to get the Artic cat to transport him.  He knew his pelvis was broken as he could feel some grinding and it hurt to move his left leg.  If he would have been whiny, I probably wouldn’t have been able to stay with him.  But he was normal Duane, his sense of humor was definitely still intact!  On a side note, I did do an excellent job of keeping Magic from trampling him further while we waited.   We got a text to go through to his wife Shelly, but since I spelled his name Dewayne instead of Duane she wasn’t sure who I was talking about.

When the Artic cat came we knew he couldn’t sit and sent them back for a flat bed pick up. Wayne and Randy finally arrived and we removed his pistol and chaps.  He said he was missing a pen he had just acquired.  With Wayne’s EMT expertise we were able to roll him onto a vest and zip it up to stabilize him as we lifted him.  Wayne tripped and almost landed on him, and Randy had a hard time getting off he ground, other than that it went smoothly and  we finally got him loaded.  “Even if I scream keep going,” Duane coached.

I galloped to the house and dialed “911”.  

I directed dispatch to “just turn at the yellow entrance.”  

“Where is he now? Don’t move him.”  She quipped.   Too late, I thought.

 “He is in the pasture, but we’ll have him out by the time the ambulance arrives.”  

He had a posse keeping him company while we waited for the ambulance.   I told him I was glad he had eaten breakfast because they weren’t going to feed him in the hospital.  He told me that he knew I had served quiche this morning and Cowboys don’t eat quiche.  If I would have been quick enough on my feet I would have told him it wasn’t quiche it was egg pie!



The ambulance carried him off all before we branded a single calf.  The rest of the day went well, however a somber haze hung over us as everyone worried about Duane.  He had pelvic surgery and is doing well, but will be wheel chair bound for the next 8 weeks.

Minnie Mouse Mania

The mania has begun at our house. We are so excited about our trip to visit with some mice. I once read somewhere that sometimes the anticipation is as fun as the event itself. So, today, we are building some amazing excitement with the countdown we created.

2015/11/img_5481.jpg The above picture is very unusual, as I generally do not allow things on my fridge.

The next step to get us “rolling” was to deal with the change we have been savings for our Disney get away. Our family has been savings our change since our last Disney trip, patiently awaiting another go around.

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This was a family project, and the truth is it is probably worth the money the coin machine charges! Once the shoebox was loaded, I couldn’t lift it! We have saved $577.00 in pennies, nickels,dimes, and quarters. Not to shabby.

Hang on Tight

hang on

It has been one of those whirl wind weeks, where all you can do sometimes is hang on.  The clinic was extremely busy for late October.  I also had to incorporate parent teacher conferences into the week.  We were able to easily clear that hurdle.  So, my much deserved relaxing weekend was in view, until we sold the calves on Wednesday with a delivery clause!  There went my weekend.  So Friday night, my dad showed up with a trailer and we were set to head north in the morning.

David and I saddled up, and headed out at sunset, to gather the calves.  We were able to gather them successfully, with no drama from us or the cattle.  We must be maturing, we usually don’t get along that well working cattle.  (maybe he was nicer cause I was all he had)  All went well and they were sexed and weighed, and we were ready and waiting when the brand inspector arrived.  I was a little worried when my dad was working the steer gate, he doesn’t move like he use to, and I was so nervous that he wouldn’t get that gate opened in time, and we would be back to square one.  But he didn’t miss even one!

So it was off to God’s country to deliver our beautiful calves to Folsom, New Mexico.  Up early this morning to power wash trailer and head back home to start another crazy week tomorrow.IMG_1644

Drama Mamas

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For the most part, living on the ranch is hard satisfying work but bearable, much like breaking in a new pair of adorable shoes, painful but worth it. There are those times however, when the bliss of entering a grocery store and not knowing or caring how that package of hamburger got there seems like a welcome alternative.

This is that time of year. We have been calving heifers for what seems like eternity, but is actually a couple of weeks. This consists of rising in the night to make sure none of these first time moms is having any difficulty delivering there babies. If they are, we help, usually at some God awful time of night, in the frigid cold.

It is generally acknowledged that the female is the brightest in most species, cats,dogs,horses,humans, etc. This rule of thumb, unfortunately doesn’t apply to the female first time cow. These heifers are so silly, snorty, relatively uncooraporative, and unappreciative of the help we are bestowing upon them. Then, when you do provide them with assistance, you sit huddled and praying that she will begin to accept (read lick and clean here) her baby, not walk off and abandon it, leave it to freeze, or stomp on it.

So, I am off to pull the covers over my head, and hope that unlike last night, tonight will bring no drama from the soon to be mamas!