Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. We are spending today and Christmas with Luke's family. We got a dusting of snow last night and it really feels and looks like Christmas around here. Hopefully the roads wont be too bad between here and there, but we have plenty of time to travel and take it slow.

Hope everyone gets to relax the next two days and enjoy the holidays!

Monday, December 22, 2008


First of all--it's really freaking cold!! Yesterday the wind chills were -30 and believe me that is frigid. Today it is -6 but should get up into the teens this afternoon. We still have all the ice and snow from last week since it hasn't been warm enough to melt anything.

Grandpa got to go home from the hospital on Friday. He spent 20 days there and I'm sure he was ready to get the heck out!

Mama Kitty is ready to POP! I'm hoping that we are going to have Christmas kittens. I've been feeling really sorry for her with her huge belly, trying to walk around on the ice. I don't think I've ever seen a pregnant cat before so I'm not sure how far along she is--I cant imagine her getting any bigger though!!

Saturday night we went to a movie with some friends. We went to the theater in Memphis and it only costs $2 per person and all concessions are only $0.75! Can you believe it--Luke and I went to the movie and each had popcorn and pops for a total of $7. I was amazed at the great deal!! And...Bolt is a really cute movie :)

Friday, December 19, 2008

Ice Skating

Today we are fortunate to have power. Last night around 5:00 we started getting freezing rain and "thunder snow". This is like a thunderstorm in the winter...weird huh? I hadn't ever experienced that before. This morning we woke up to an icy wonderland. All the tree branches are weighed down with ice but apparently none have fallen on the power lines. EVERYTHING is covered with ice and it feels like you are ice skating without skates--just trying to walk outside.
The peach tree in our backyard: (never mind the random loose calf running through the back of the picture--they're lawless)

Covering every single pine needle:

Icicles hanging off one of the gates in the corral:

Our cows were hungry and cold:

I rode along with Luke when he fed hay this morning. We gave them a little extra so they could have somewhere dry to lay. The wind was really bitter cold.

Today is one of those days that I am especially thankful that I work from home and don't have to even attempt to drive anywhere.

Our Christmas Tree

Luke & I got our Christmas tree put up this week. I think it's one of the prettiest trees that I have ever seen. When I lived in Montana we were always able to just go out to the ranch and pick from millions of trees. Since I've lived in Missouri, Luke & I have always cut down a cedar tree from a ditch or fence row and made due with that. This year was my first trip to a tree farm. We drove way out into the boonies--several miles of gravel past our house (which if you've been to our house it's several miles on gravel) and ended up at this neat tree farm. We could pick any tree for $15 so I thought that was a great deal. Ours just barely touched the ceiling in our living room so we did have to trim off some room for the star. It's a really full, pretty tree though.

Here's Luke setting it up. All decorated and pretty (for the second time-since it already has fallen down twice!):
I think we finally have it in the stand straight and level and now we are hoping that it wont tip over anymore!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Baking

On Tuesday it was snowing like crazy and I didn't have too much going on for work so I took my own snow day. I spent the entire day baking Christmas cookies. I wanted to try all new cookies this year and then mail an assortment to family back home. I didn't take any pictures, but here is what I made:

1) My Grandma Sue gave my a cookie press while I was home over Thanksgiving. I had never heard or seen a cookie press before--so I had to do some research on how to even use it.

Classic Spritz Cookies:
3 sticks of butter at room temp
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teas. vanilla
3 1/2 cups flour

You mix the butter, sugar, egg & vanilla. Gradually add the flour while mixing. Fill the cookie press about 3/4 full and begin pressing out cookies. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes.
I had a little bit of trouble getting the cookies to stick to the cookie sheet (instead of hanging on the cookie press) but the cookies turned out really good and the shapes are really cute. I added green food coloring to the tree shaped cookies.
I would recommend a cookie press to anyone. Here is the one I have:

2) Raspberry Pinwheels
These are SO good. Luke described them as tasting like fruit cobbler--I'm telling you they're great. The only change I would make is when you brush them with egg and add the sugar, I would only brush with egg white. My eggs left kind of a yellow smear on the top which makes them not look as appetizing as they are.

3) Glazed Lemon Cookies
These cookies were really easy and really good. The glaze is delicious!

4) Almond Roca
My Mom always makes almond roca every year for Christmas. I didn't have her recipe so I used this one:
I happened to forget to add the water--so this is testimony that you don't need to add the water. It will work great and taste great without it.

5) Simple Fudge

This fudge is so easy to make and tastes great:

Simple Fudge:
Heat 1 package of chocolate chips and 14 oz of condensed milk on the stove. Stir continuously.
Once all chocolate chips and melted add 1 teaspoon of vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of chopped nuts. Stir in. Pour into 8x8 greased pan. Refridgerate until solid.

Warning: None of these recipes are low-fat or "healthy" in any way...but it's the holidays so splurge!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cattleman's Convention

We were at another trade show this past weekend. This time it was in Springfield which is about 5 hours from where we live, so it was kind of a trip. We left Friday morning, set up the booth Friday night and the trade show was all day Saturday, then we came home yesterday. The trade show went well and I think we got some new business--so that's good.

Here's our booth:We thought that the convention would be more fun, but there really weren't any people close to our age there--mostly older or kids.

We did get to make a trip to PFI (a western store) while we were in Springfield and did a little shopping. Luke & I each got a new pair of jeans. I talked Luke into getting some Cinch "Dooley" jeans which is a really big deal since he doesn't feel comfortable in anything but good old Wranglers. I had to convince him that they were really HOT! I got a pair of Cruel Girl "Sabrina" jeans and I really love them too!

On the way home we drove through a terrible rain storm and as we got further North it turned to sleet and freezing rain. The wind was blowing really hard and it was really nasty outside. This morning it was -12! I'm sure glad we got home when we did, as the weather is supposed to be getting worse the next 2 days. Oh, and we found a very hungry Papa Kitty locked in the garage when we got home--so that's another reason its good we got home when we did!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

More Montana Pictures

Here are some more pictures from our trip to Montana over Thanksgiving:

Matt skipping rocks on Flathead Lake:Look how far Luke can skip a rock:
In Montana, we don't get fake trees or go to tree farms...we go out in the woods and chop down a tree!

Here's Luke chopping down a tree for Lynmarie:

Jethro was supervising:Lynmarie and her tree:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

And that's not because of all the decorating I've done (because that hasn't happened yet!).

Yesterday we had our first substantial snow with lots of wind, creating drifts everywhere. It's supposed to be cold at least through the weekend, so we may get to keep the snow for a while. It definitely helped me get into the holiday spirit!

The roads were getting pretty bad yesterday afternoon. The wind was blowing so hard that it was making the roads slick and decreasing the visibility. Here's the view from my car as I drove home from work yesterday (I made the only tracks on our gravel road):Here's our wintery looking house:
Poor Tryan (my bottle calf from last May). He always looks so pathetic and the snow definitely doesn't help. He's had a rough life...but he's such a sweetie!
I felt sorry for the bulls, so I fed them a little early. They really enjoyed the hay. With the wind and being covered in snow, I'm sure they were needing a little extra feed. Here's our older bull, Mr. T:

So far, we are enjoying the snow!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Fun at the Ranch

This is where Luke & I got married about 1 1/2 years ago: The brown grass and the perfectly bright blue sky made for some beautiful pictures. The weather was in the 40's and sunny almost every day we were there. (This is not usual for Thanksgiving in Montana!)

We even saw a Golden Eagle flying over the meadow. Even though it was so high in the air, it still looked huge!
Mom, Matt & Margo:
Margo being a silly dog and playing with a stick that would barely fit in her mouth.
Our job was to put up the elk fence around the hay shed. So far, the elk have been keeping their distance and staying out of trouble, but it's just a matter of time until they return. It's been a really warm, late fall so they are still staying in the high country. They use 8-10 foot boards that are wired together to make a "fence" to protect the hay from being eaten by the elk. These fences are pretty heavy, so it's a bit of a job to get them put up. The elk have plenty to's just easy for them to eat from a hay bale, so they target the haysheds. Then, the cows run out of hay. Since hay is incredibly expensive in Montana, it makes ranchers hate elk!
Later this day was when Grandpa got hurt, so it was kind of a bittersweet day.


This is how Mom looked most of the day:

She was not too excited about Thanksgiving.

Bruce finished off the turkey with a torch since it didn't brown...

Matt spiked the punch, so us "kids" were happy:

Here's the fancy cake that Mom made that was delicious:

Grandma Sue:

Grandpa left to go feed cows:

After lunch at my Mom's house, we went to my Aunt Becky's for Thanksgiving with my Dad's side of the family. It was a busy day and we definitely ate well!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

This Girl's Getting Married!

Congrats Mariah & Lyle!!

Poor Grandpa!

We got back from Montana at 2:30 AM Tuesday morning and we were so worn out. The last few days we spent in Montana were very stressful. On Sunday, Luke, Matt & Grandpa were outside working on the corral and getting it all ready to bring the cows in. Grandpa was going to ship his calves on Monday. Well, Matt was leading Rachel (Penny's weanling filly) into the barn and she pulled back really quick and knocked Grandpa down and stepped right on his left leg. It was not hard to tell it was broke as his boot wasn't facing the same way as he was. It was a really bad break in a leg that has been broke 4 previous times, had the ankle fused and the knee replaced.

He had surgery that night and they put a plate & screws in to hold it together but didn't feel like it was a very secure fix. Grandpa was in so much pain and just felt awful. It was so hard to see him that way, he is always so strong and tough. I didn't want to even consider leaving on Monday (when our flight was scheduled), but Luke convinced me we had to and that really there was nothing we could do there.

Everything took a turn for the better yesterday. Grandpa had another surgery and everything is going good. The doctors think it's going to heal okay and that he should be able to go home tomorrow. He is feeling so much better and has hope again. I don't usually think of a broken leg as life threatening, but when you get up in age, any trip to the hospital is bad news.

Please keep Grandpa in your thoughts and prayers. I don't know what we would do without him!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Flying Home

Tomorrow Luke & I are flying to Montana for Thanksgiving week. We are really looking forward to it as we are spending Christmas in Missouri this year. I have a little success story that I would like to share with anyone that plans to fly in the near future.

Here is what happened to us. I've gotten in the habit of buying plane tickets as soon as I know that we want to travel somewhere. Last year at Christmas we waited and waited for prices to go down and then they never did and we ended up driving to Montana, which turned out to be not such a good idea in December. So, when we decided to go to Montana for Thanksgiving this year, I booked us tickets in July. The prices weren't great, but we were afraid they would continue to increase so we bit the bullet and bought them. The last couple weeks I've been receiving numerous emails about airline sales and great holiday flight prices. So, I typed in our exact flight number for the exact days and the prices had dropped $120 per ticket! I was kind of pissed off that we had once again gotten screwed so I called United Airlines to complain thinking I would get nowhere. Instead, the customer service rep was really nice and offered to give us each a travel voucher for the amount we had over-paid!! We received them in the mail just the other day. He did say that he could only do this because we had booked them on and not like Orbitz or Travelocity or somewhere like that.

So, moral of the story is whether you book early or late you never know what the prices are going to do---so just call and complain! You might actually get somewhere! And...use the airline's website!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sale Day

All summer we have been backgrounding our calves that were born Fall '07. I've been wanting to sell them for a long time, but something always comes up. One gets pinkeye or the markets are down or we don't have time to get the trailer and sort them, etc., etc. So, today was the day that we said we would definitely sell our calves by and we did it. I'm so glad that we have such nice neighbors that let us borrow their trailer to haul them to the sale barn. We sold them in Edina which is only about 7 miles away. The owner of the sale barn is a customer of Luke's, so we had to play politics a little and make sure we sold them there.

Luke stopped by this afternoon and picked up our check, which was really nice to see! Now we can make our first farm payment!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New Do

So, looking at the picture my hair doesn't really look that much different to me. It sure seems like a change in person though.

Luke also has a new "look". He's been growing a goatie (not sure if thats spelled right) the last week or so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My First Customer

I first got my chicks in May. They were so tiny and fragile. Can you see the little girl there?

Now they're all grown up!

And laying eggs like crazy! They first started laying eggs in early October and haven't slowed down since. I have 11 chickens and get between 7-9 eggs per day. With only the two of us here, the eggs are adding up quick.

I've been trying to sell these farm-raised, free range, brown chicken eggs and started advertising last week for $1.50 a dozen. I was really disappointed that I didn't have any calls, but then, yesterday I got my first customer! She works at an office in Kirksville and is also going to see if anyone else at her office wants to buy them too. If anyone out there needs eggs, I am trying to get rid of them ASAP as my supply continues to grow! And...they're much better than store bought eggs!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Weekend

It's been awhile since I last wrote. Not too much exciting news around here I guess. Last weekend was the opening of deer season so Luke was in Carrollton for the weekend. I stayed here as it was the last opportunity to have a weekend at home in the next month! Actually, I went to Quincy, Illinois on Saturday and went shopping. It was really fun and it really got me in the Christmas spirit. I went to Kohls, Hobby Lobby, Panera Bread, Boyers Boots & Bath & Body Works (all places that Luke would complain about if he was along, well except maybe Boyers Boots). Everything was on SALE! It was really fun and I got lots of Christmas decorations and some Christmas presents and a pair of jeans for myself :)

I also gave Kelly a bath on Sunday. She has been shedding really bad which I dont understand since it has been so cold. So, the bath helped some. Then I had to clean the shower and bathroom floor.

Oh, my other new news is that I got my hair cut and dyed last Friday. It's pretty dark its taking some gettting used to, but I like it!

Well, I think that's all for now!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

First Frost

Yesterday morning we had our first frost of the year. It was a very pretty morning and the wind had finally died down. Luke & I went out to check the cows & to make sure all the waterers were open. We started feeding hay this weekend and the cows were pretty happy to see it. Here are some pictures I took that morning.

Ice on the water trough:

Kelly Jo has been wearing either an orange or red bandana when she is outside so that no hunters can mistake her for a coyote.

Here are some of our cows (plus one). That's right, we have a stray. We think she belongs to the neighbors, but nobody seems to be claiming her. Maybe she will become ours after all!

Luke tried to catch his two horses. We wanted to move them out of the pasture they are in because they are pretty much out of grass. However, they must not want to leave because this was the second attempt at catching them and Luke still had no luck. They don't know what's good for them!!

Today it is really rainy and muddy here, so the frost looks pretty good compared!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Our Weekend

I was going to put up some pictures today, but for some reason they wont load...

We had a nice, quiet weekend at home. Saturday we had lots of stuff to do with the cattle and spent most the afternoon sorting, weaning, castrating, and preg checking. We had two open heifers (from the Spring calving herd) so they got sorted in with the yearlings that we are going to sell. We kept 4 of the yearlings as replacement heifers so they got sorted in with the cows. Then, all the cows got moved into a new pasture and fed some hay. Kelly helped alot and everything worked pretty good.

Saturday evening the James' came over for dinner and cards. It was a fun night and good to see them.

Sunday we were extremely lazy. We didn't leave the house, except to go outside and do chores, and Luke left to bow hunt across the road. I guess that is what weekends are for though. Pretty much every weekend from here on out is planned until it was nice to have a quiet weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Photo of the Day

Lady Bugs are everywhere!

Laundry Day

Today is laundry day. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to wash my sleeping bag and the simple task turned into a catastrophie. Apparently the sleeping bag didn't absorb enough water so the water overflowed out the top of the washer and the washer made a horrible sound, not to mention a horrible mess with the water everywhere. Since then, the washer has gotten increasingly worse about not draining. Finally, when it got to the point where it wasn't rinsing or draining, enough was enough and we went washer shopping.

We picked out a washer and brought it home last Wednesday. We tried our best to level it and then started it to see how it would work. was shaking so bad that it pulled so far away from the wall the drain hose pulled out and once again, there was water everywhere. Plus, it scraped a hole in our linoleum floor! We tried everything to get it to work and couldn't make any progess. So, we had to wait until today when a Maytag man could come and fix it (our brand new washer) so that we could finally use it. The good news is it's fixed and will be running non-stop for several days!

We have never had so much laundry piled up! Luke had so many dirty plaid shirts that they alone took up an entire (supersize) load.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Can you believe it is November already? Where has the fall gone? I'm happy that it is November 1st. That means I will be going home for Thanksgiving in just 22 days, that the Christmas season is only 1 month away, and it will soon be 2009!

Not too much is going on around here this weekend. It has been gorgeous weather so I cleaned out some flower beds, moved & replanted some bulbs, and dug up and replanted a shrub that was by our front door and didn't have any room to grow. Luke worked on the fence around the hayfield. We haven't grazed this before so the fences needed some work. We just finished moving the cows over there and they were really happy to have some lush green grass!

Hope everyone else is having a nice fall! Kelly Jo says hi!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is just kind of a regular day for us. No dressing up :( No trick-or-treaters (well at least we are not expecting any because they would have to travel several miles on a gravel road to get to our house), and our pumpkins already rotted and were used for target practice. Oh well. I think we will get some candy though...even if we have to eat it all ourselves!

We've had three new calves this week, meaning that we only have three more fall calving cows to calve. Luke decided to ride Bullet last night. Everything was going really well until some calves came running up to the side of the arena. Bullet spooked, then stopped, then started bucking and continued to buck harder and harder until he got rid of Luke. Then he took a lap around the arena as fast as he could. Then Luke got back on and they were fine again.

I took some pictures yesterday. The leaves are really pretty and it's been blue sky and nice weather the past few days!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Oh, The Things I See...

I have no explaination for this photo. As I walked out of the Post Office and back to my car I just couldn't help but notice this strange scene. Luckily I had my camera so I sneakily took some photos so that Luke would believe what I saw. Weird shit to see going through town at 1 mph like it's no big deal!!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Worth the Trip, Definitely!

I had a great weekend. Between Thursday night and Sunday night, I drove over 6 hours and flew on 4 different planes, but it was definitely worth it! Mandy, Mariah, Lynmarie & I were all together for the weekend and it was SO good to see everyone. Also, I go to meet the newest addition to the group, Tucker!

He is such a cutie pie and it was so fun to see the family that Mandy & Tim have created. I swear, it doesn't matter what the four of us girls do, we always have a good time and I can't wait for the next time we will all be together again!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Carving Pumpkins

While Matt was here, one of the things that he wanted to do was carve pumpkins. So, since we wanted to go to the Pumpkin Festival we just planned on picking up some there. But...we had to walk a LONG ways to the Pumpkin Festival because parking was so tight and the way back was all uphill and the pumpkins were mostly still green.... Anyhow, we decided against carrying huge green pumpkins a mile uphill. Instead, we bought them from a patch on our way back from Hannibal the next day.

Here's some of our creations:

Matt even carved a pumpkin to look like Kelly Jo! He's much more creative than I am. We are now ready for Halloween!