Drama Mamas

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!

Romance Ranch Style

It’s Valentine’s Day, yeah! You know chocolates, flowers, jewelry and love letters . . . or not! Nope our first order of business was a trip to the Surratt Ranch to buy a new high dollar bull. The last high dollar bull we have is currently in our freezer.

Then the Valentine’s Day fun really began. My gift was the opportunity to take a one hour nap before we went to find and move some of our heavy (ready to calve) heifers close to house where we can monitor them and intervene if necessary.

At 3:30 David and I embarked on our journey. First stop was to locate 6 missing heifers. After they were found, the next step, was for me to drive the truck and trailer to a different location and gather up some more heifers, and my husband would bring his bunch to meet mine. Here is where the problems could arise.

You see this is a new pasture to me, and my husband was giving orders like I knew where I was headed. The problem with most Cowboys ( I might have to go out on a limb here and just say men) is they don’t take the necessary time to explain the commands that they bark. However, the more time you take, to make sure you fully savy the instructions, the more impatient they become, and consequently, the worse the instructions become.

David took the first group we came across, and Magic (my caballo) and I, jumped in the truck and set off praying as we bounced across the rutty ranch road, that we were going to end up where we were suppose to end up. Don’t tell me I am alone in this, wives and daughters have been doing this for years, taking mediocre directions, and crossing our fingers that it all works out like it is suppose to!

Through some divine intervention I arrived and got my bunch before David arrived. (Just barely). Then the real fun began as we pushed these girls 3 miles to a new smaller pasture we call the Medders Trap. These heifers were in no hurry, even with David serenading them periodically with “it’s beginning to look a lot like Spring!”

At dusk we reached our destination, I took off to get the gates and David went to fetch the pickup. It was after dark, cold and scary by the time my husband made it back with the truck and trailer. But, at the end of the night, my valentine told me how much I was needed today. (That’s close to a thank you and better than chocolate!)

We snuck away Sunday morning to take the girls skiing, morning only because, of course, we had to get home and check those heifers! The reality of ranch life is romance happens daily it just doesn’t come in the form of red heart shaped boxes!

Pain in the Back

Friday morning I ran around the house in my usual chicken with head severed fashion. I finally made it out the door and was headed to the car, when I noticed that I must have accidentally, dropped a shirt on the ground the night before. As, I hastily knabbed the shirt there was an instant excruciating pain in my lower back.

The pain was so great, it caused an bout of nausea. It took what seemed like forever, to make my way to the car. David brought me Advil and sent me on my way. I was fine on the commute until I tried to exit the vehicle at my place of employment. One hour and 10 minutes later I was able to exit the car.

The rest of the day was a blurr. Every day since has brought improvement. The silver lining is I haven’t had to wipe a 4 year old rear end in several days!
The back issue might be sympathy pain or genetics, as my dad has been suffering for a week with back issues as well. He has been in awful pain.

Finding a surgeon in a timely manner to correct the impingement on his spinal cord, has been an incredibly difficult undertaking. Hopefully, he will get some relief with the spinal surgery tomorrow.

Always surprised how quickly life can change. Remember to live each day to its fullest, stop and smell the cacti and be thankful if you have a nice strong healthy back. And above all else, bend your knees!


The Quilt of Life

My life has consisted of many imperfectly sewn together squares. These squares are the equivalent to the chapters in a page turning novel, that currently remains unwritten. The fabric that has held everything together so far has been veterinary medicine.

The animals have always been my passion. When I decided to become a veterinarian there was no stopping me. I vividly recall being at a local gas station and bothering maybe even begging, Dr Regusa for a job at Raton Animal Hospital. He worked his magic and an interview with Dr. Mark Jansen was granted. I ate, slept, and dreamt veterinary medicine from that point until present.

Mark informed me if I was going to succeed, I better always be doing something. There was always something to do in a vet hospital he said. Randomly, he threw out some examples of things I could clean. He mentioned there were tons of other tasks and I should be able to find them without bothering him. Employees should be productive all the time was his mantra. That summer I carried spray bottle and rag everywhere I went.

This was my first official job that included a boss. I previously ponied horses at the race track, where I was my own boss and knew what was expected. Laboring in a hospital was a hugely different dynamic which sometimes was served up with drama, both veterinary and otherwise. Looking back, I knew so little. I wonder how often, one gets to step into the shoes of their mentor. As a practice owner it is amazing how different the view was, surprisingly much the same as my mentors I bet. I now know what it is like to be in the self employed club, it is a definite blessing that is weighted heavily with stresses.

The memories of those summers play daily in my mind. Like the time we were semen testing bulls and Mark was talking and talking with the rancher. It was starting to snow, it was miserable and cold. I finally asked him to stop talking and start ejaculating! He and the rancher never let me live that down. There are so many other stories that stream through my mind like the rubbing alcohol incident, the new tire incident, the escaped heifers incident, the lasix caper, and working on African wild dogs and zebras. The above definitely constitute their own book/blog!

Mark was always smiling, laughing, joking, and was infamous for his practical jokes. He loved to talk and always had something he wanted to show or tell. Looking at it from my current situation as the head of a small company, how did he make time for everyone and still accomplish all the necessary tasks required to run a hospital and treat patients. He was the quintessential people person. I regret that I didn’t make the time to tell him how much he meant to me. He will be greatly missed. The thought of going to Raton and not having the option to pop in (usually because I have forgotten something or needed something for one of my favorite brother’s animals) and visit a minute causes the tears to flow.

He will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the community he served.

Cupcake Redemption

Macgyver doesn’t have anything on most moms! When a ranch mom digs deep into her pantry the possibilities are endless! Anyone could have crafted these cupcakes if they gone for supplies. However, that is why I am so proud of them, because they were created out of only the supplies on hand. When did this become a cake blog?

The cupcake problem began when my mom, the grandma informed the preschool that Macklee was going to bring cupcakes to school for her birthday. What I might mention here is that my mom does not bake. Aren’t grandma’s suppose to bake? Good thing she has amazing other talents. (Sure shopping is a talent, almost a science if you go with my mom!)
Normally, this would not have been an issue, however on the heels of this weekends cake debacle (feel free to read previous blog!). the stakes were high, real high.

Did I mention it’s farm week at preschool? The amazing shopper went on a quest for small cupcake topping farm animals, you know the dollar store variety. Apparently, these are a hot item in Belen, NM, they were nowhere to be found. (Let me tell you if they were in Belen my mom would have found them!). Now what? Plain cupcakes? This is when inspiration struck. I never meant for this to turn in to a food blog, but was incredibly proud of making something out of nothing!
Today, Macklee is officially four and I get a birthday hiatus until January! Oh except for my moms birthday but she isn’t getting a cake this year for obvious reasons (read previous blog!). Happy Birthday Mom!

A Piece of Cake

Let me begin with the admission that as a mom, birthday parties have never really been my thing. I usually try to scrape something together to acknowledge the day i.e.cake. I tell myself that I make everyday special so there is really no need for a large production. Then, about every four years, I go all out and do too much birthday! This was not an all out year. One other teeny weensy fact before you examine the pictures, is I did attend three courses in cake decorating. I have certificates, or at least I did until the Wilton Cake Decorating people read this blog.
Before . . . .

This is the unicorn cake that I ordered for MJ’s 4th birthday! I would just like to take a moment to honk my own horn here. This alone in the past would have brought the waterworks from my poor eyes. However, I really took this in stride. I faced it head on, with an I can do attitude.
How hard could it be to replace a unicorn cake head. I began baking. I then cut out the cake into many pieces and stacked them ever so carefully. It was amazing, it really was resembling a horse head. This is where I started patting myself on the back a little early. It was when I attempted to frost the warm cake that it all went wrong. . . .

The funny thing is the birthday girl could care less. All the fears I have of ruining her childhood will have to wait. I guess there will be no therapy sessions for the unicorn cake that my mom didn’t master. No support group in high school, for girls that never had pretty cakes!
So the moral of the story is twofold. The first lesson is true stories are always the funniest, and the imperfections of life create the best memories.
The day was wonderful for my princess.

Respectfully submitted by the Queen (mom of a princess!)of cakes!

Summer Lament

dalli summerWell, can someone please tell me how we ended up back in school already? It seems like just yesterday that I had a ton of delusions about what our family was going to accomplish. We were going to cast our line for some trout, snuggle in a borrowed tent, and ravage some s’mores.

For the record, none of that happened. At this moment I am trying to conjure up a family memory that did transpire. Macklee went with grandma and grandpa to Colorado Springs to watch Uncle Wes rope. Dalli went with them to Chama to ride the rails. But as a family unit, I am sure summer eluded us. Remember as kids when you could get a “do-over”? I need a summer do-over!

Oh well, no crying over spilled summers, one must march on and vow to do better next year. We were able to take a plunge in one of the big stock tanks on the ranch once.
The week ended with an awesome birthday party at the Albuquerque Zoo, tigers, orangutans, and hippos oh my! It was so nice to see friends, even if it was for a short time. Then off to a family dinner at the Luna Mansion, where we obsessed the during the entire nice dinner, worrying about MJ’s Roy Rodgers drink that didn’t have a lid! DonT these people have children? A mothers advice, never pour more than you wish to clean up!

Now, I do my time (like the ladies in Orange is the New Black!) at the emergency clinic. Hoping tomorrow will come soon, so I can have some time with my girls before another week, or worse, an entire school year disappears . . .again!

Heifer Hodgepodge

The week has been a blurr, like a dust storm where you can’t see two feet in front of you, and have no idea if you are still on the right road, or any road for that matter. It started last Friday night, David and the girls picked me up in Belen so we could head to a high school graduation in Quemado, NM.

However, before we fled Belen, David noticed the rear end of my suburban was smelling bad, mom saved the day and volunteered her vehicle. The graduation was great, and we left at 9 pm for the three hour journey home. We were originally going to camp out, but had to start our heifer synchronization on Saturday. My friend Lori and her son, needed a lift back to Mountainair. (This would have been fine if we had the suburban, but moms car holds, 5 and if you are following my ramblings closely you will get a tally of six!).

The commute was going well until we saw the flashing lights. Oh yes it was us the state patrol was after. He approached the car after shining the flash light into the back seat, (where the three kids and I were buckled improperly) he asked politely to see David’s license.

“Well you see officer, I don’t have my license”.

The officer asked him to step out of the car, he was able to get his information and pull him up, then he asked about the car.

“Well you see officer we broke down in Belen, and this is my mother in laws car . . . “.

At that point, the officer said you are awfully tight in there, go on your way but slow down. I think it was going to be too much paperwork for him.

Saturday we gathered heifers and implanted them to start the synchronization process. A long day. Sunday we saddled up to drive the heifers to the house. It was another long day horseback. But somehow, we even found time to haul a few loads of dirt for a much needed cattle guard. The girls and I ran the dump truck while David loaded us. Some of the haul roads that lead to the pit were a tad scary like ice road truckers without the ice!

The rest of the week was pretty uneventful, a couple of trips to the mechanic to fix the suburban, last day of third grade, violin and gymnastics. Then, last night I worked at Pet Er. This morning, I stopped at Home Depot to get some garden plants, in hopes that a garden can be planted at some point before another weekend escapes. Arrived home in time to run to Capitan to pick up frozen semen to inseminate heifers Monday. Girls are currently asking questions about what semen is. Hey family how about we check out the Smokey the Bear museum.

Did you know Smokey the bear is buried in Capitan NM. He was found as an orphaned cub there, and lived to be 25 years old. ( he spent most if his life in the National Zoo, in Washington, DC). Finally off to Ruidoso for dinner at the Cattle Baron, a little grocery shopping and home finally. Remember only you can prevent forest fires!

Pokey Porcupines

We began to ponder this afternoon whether the correct pluralization of porcupine is porcupines? Porcupines is correct according to The Russian Orthodox Monk whose dogs were attacked by one this afternoon! (Okay maybe it was the other way around, but that is not how it looked)

We were having a routine day, and then It all fell apart. Two porcupine dogs, a dog that was hit by a car, a dog with heartworm disease, a cat with a bladder infection, and of course the regular surgeries are ready to be picked up! Phew! The good news all patients are well, including the nurse who was bit by the porcupine dog in the middle of the frenzy.

After sending all patients home, except for Baby (the dog who was abandoned at our office at the beginning of the week anyone want a female pit bull?), we realized that it was time to skedaddle to the train station for my nurse who rides the Rail Runner, to commute from Albuquerque to Belen. (We made it with at least 1 minute to spare!) David called to let me know he was passing through Belen and so we were able to eat dinner together, before he ran home to gather horses. He will leave our house at 5:30 a.m to go to Surat Ranch to help them brand tomorrow.

I stayed at my moms. Del Rae and Mote kept the girls, how blessed we are to have an extra set of grandparents to love our girls. So, I wen to the office and did paperwork until 8 and then headed to my moms. I am finally kicking back watching an episode of Farm Kings! (I love that show)

An incredible busy week? I am not sure how busy it actually was, or if it just seemed hectic, because David and my mom have abandoned me, and left me to fend for myself? They both have spoiled me, now I am holding down the fort. I guess they just do that everyone once in awhile to make me appreciate them more. Maybe next time they could coordinate their planners and not be gone at the same time? I appreciate you guys come back! Help!

David’s Posse


All in all a wonderful day. David advised us last night that, we needed to move cattle today. So, we tried to race to be out of the house before the sun came up. Key word was . . . “tried”! David took the ranger to check out which pasture we were going to put them in. I saddled three horses, and rushed the girls through rodeo practice before we loaded up and headed out.

We found two pair, but the sight of all of us, was too much so they high tailed it through the trees. We were persistent and rounded up the rest. My husband even expressed that “this would have been incredibly hard to do by myself”.
Since I speak cowboy, that is translated to “you are great help, thank you so much!”

There was one moment when MJ’s horse jogged off, and she forgot she knew how to stop her, but she remembered quickly. I don’t know if kids, horses or my husband give me more grey hairs.

The afternoon brought a pleasant surprise when my friend Jill called to ask if Dallli could come for a sleepover. So we headed to town to meet Jill and her daughter Nora. Jill and I went on a walk around the track, (I was so sore from riding, I could hardly move) then Mj and I took the trash and stopped to get milk.

MJ and I baked brownies, took a bath, and did some manicures and pedicures. Lastly, a nice Fancy Nancy bedtime store and sweet dreams of tomorrow rodeo.