Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Short Post - Chickens and frozen eggs

HI, this one's pretty short for me but here it goes, speed blogging!
Chickens have settled in, and have continued laying. The tricky part is getting the eggs BEFORE they freeze solid. We've managed to get 1 in the house so far, but you've got to remember that our high for the past 3 days was yesterday's 10 above. The windchills have been anywhere from 20 to 40 BELOW zero.

Speaking of cold, we had a calf jump in the water tank on Sunday. We tried to warm him up but were unsuccessful. We tried, but it still sucks to loose one.

The cows and horses are doing well in this icy tundra. The mares haven't come up to eat any hay. They enjoy digging and foraging, or they must, because there is good hay for them up by the barn.

Well, off to go shopping and see santa. My sister's going to watch the munchkins while I finish up with the stocking stuffers.

Merry Christmas!!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Chickens!!! and Ice Storm

Chickens!! Yes, I said chickens. WE are getting some laying hens this weekend. I say "WE" Lichtly. Meaning that we as a family are getting them, but I will be caring for them. Beau wants nothing to do with them. I know that the first time one of 'em poops on a tool aro piece of tack, it will be the end of tolerance.

Anyway, I'm really excited!! I have wanted chickens since I knew we were getting this farm in April. For now they are going to go in the dog kennel in the barn. I have to get one of the books on making a coop that I've been eyeing online. That or I'll have to ask someone like Sugar Creek that I know from DMCD. (I haven't been to a meeting in months and I'm a lurker in the yahoo group.)

Ice Storm - Yes, it hit us. This morning I couldn't hardly walk to the barn. The entire road is a sheet of ice!! Don't know how myLove made it to town to go to work in one piece... School was cancelled, so I didn't have to wory about the girls riding the bus to school.

All of you ranch wives out there remember the days of choring with the kids. Well, Squeak is too tiny to come outside yet, so I waited until morning nap time, and had the girls play upstairs and listen for him. I ran (SKATED) to the barn and chored the calves and colts. Enjoying the quiet and work. I know it sounds crazy, but I do enjoy it. If I didn't have a barn and chores to do, I would BE crazy!!

While checking the colts, I noticed that 7-up was on 3 legs..... 7-up is our Shetland pony. I cleaned out his feet, felt his hock and hip (very hard to do under all that fur) and nothing notable. HMMMMM, don't know but he is still running on 3 legs. Yes, he can run when he didn't want to get caught. I moved him from the stud pen to with the colts, and gave him a little grain. I hope it is just a stone bruise from the hard ground, but I don't think so.

The calves are all eating at the bunk good and starting to grow. They didn't seem to be affected by all the ice and weather at all!

Then there is the "baby" pen. Most Ranch/Farm wives I know have "their" cow or horse. This animal is usually the bain of their husband. "MY" cow is Lacey. She is the first cow we bought as a couple. Lacey is truly my baby. "53" is in this pen too. She is MyLove's show cow from his senior year in High School. She hates me! Anyway, Lacey is impatient! Today, I made the mistake of feeding the calves first. Lacey was MAD!! Most people say that cows "MOOOOO" well they have other words too. Today it was "eeerrrEEEERRRR" (hard to describe in letters) but she was saying "FEEEEEDDDDD MEEEEEEE" FEEEDDD MEEEE NOOW!!! She bellerd at me the entire time I was filling buckets, and feeding calves. I finally walked in her pen, and she was in my back pocket on the walk to the bunk. She also takes up more than her share of the space at the bunk. Her calf is learning to be just like her. BTW, she is in a pen because one of the girls will get to show her calf this summer and we want to teach it to lead.

Well, that's my wierd rambling for the day. You can blame it on the ice and snow today. Now, we're going to start baking cookies to decorate this afternoon!!! Yeah girls!!! And, we put up the tree last night.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Long weekend and Coming home

First, we had a long, but productive weekend. We cleaned up the barn, and got a TON of work done!!! (Thanks Mom and Dad for helping!!) For Christmas, I'm sooo excited, my parents bought me an..............................Electrical Box!! Yes, I am excited. Dad got it all ready and installed it in our barn!! The electric company is supposed to come on Thursday to install it. Then, we'll have electricity IN the barn. Right now, we have over 200 ft of extension cord so that we can plug in the trucks.

Then, we moved the cows across the road. Those cows!!! They didn't want to move into the alley and we fought them for 20 minutes. So, finally I put some buckets the flatbed of the pickup, backed down the alley and honked em into following me. The pigs were on the truck first and drug the rest of the cows with them. After they finally started moving, the followed me right across the road and into the new pasture. They sure enjoyed themselves! This is 120 acres that only had the mares on it this summer. Today they were enjoying digging thru the snow and eating the grass.

We moved the calves to a new pen in the barn and moved the colts and Kenneth into the barn. They were so happy when it was sooo cold on monday.

Speaking of Monday, Monday afternoon I flew out to Dallas, TX. I was hoping to enjoy a heat wave. Well, compared to -45degree windchill, 20 degreees was a heatwave. But those Texans can't drive. Then, add some ice, IT WAS A MESS!!! They were playing bumper cars all over the highway!!
On Tuesday, I endured 4 hours of a rookie Lawyer questioning me in a deposition. Thank god it wasn't an experienced lawyer!! Then, I tried to fly home!! My flight was delayed 2 times, and then on the runway for another hour and in the air for over 2 hours. It's supposed to be 1 hr and 15 min flight. It was longer cause they closed the DSM airport for 45 min, just as we were approaching.

But, in the end, they let us land and I made it home by 9pm.

Today, I got to chore and feed the cows. I am now set to enter all of the cattle for the Beef Expo sale. Check it out at www.iowamaineanjou.com When I get the catalog finished, I'll let you know and you can look at all the calves for sale this Febuary.

I got the mail today, and the sale catalog I have been waiting MONTHS for finally arrived. (Juli had tons of problems with it) Check it out at http://www.incrediblefemalesale.com/. I CAN'T WAIT TO GO BUY SOME!!!!

Stay warm and enjoy life!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Love being mom, but I love being Shanen too!

I love being a mom, but I also love to be Shanen. Now what do I mean by this?? I mean that when I take time from the kids, I enjoy working! I love Ranching and all the work that it entails.
Take today for example, I took Squeak to a new daycare and I went home and WORKED OUTSIDE!!! AHHH. I moved the Chute, fed 4 pens of calves, fed the cows, fed the horses, and fixed fence. It was a ton of work, but I did enjoy myself.

A little work does a body good!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Cloth Diapering, Its Easy

I haven't been on a Green theme lately, so I thought I would bring it up again. Cloth Diapers - GASP!!! No, not really, they're great!!! I love it. As y'all know we live out in the sticks. We live about an hour from the nearest Wal-Mart (try to avoid em like the plague) and 1.5 hrs from Des Moines. I initally started the Cloth Diapers this summer because of the Green Factor. Then I remembered, realized the Cost Benefit, and last but not least the convenience!

I know the convenience thing sounds wierd, but its not. Think about it, I don't live just around the corner from a mega mart, and small town grocery store quality and prices are CRAZY. I never have to worry about running out of diapers. I own about 20 pocket diapers, and ~5 covers and half a dozen prefolds. So, its pretty hard for me to run out of diapers. I have enough diapers for 2 full loads in the washer.

As you can imagine, I really have saved tons with Cloth over "paper"(disposable) diapers. I bought most of my pocket diapers used (slightly & some not used at all) and averaged under $10.00. I go thru an average of 6 changes per day. If you figure on the easy side (hopefully) and say Squeak is potty trained by 28 months, I would be paying $.0019 per diaper change. Paper diapers at costco are $.197 per diaper, at Wal-Mart they average $.25 per diaper, and much higher if I have to buy them here in small town Iowa.

Then you have to figure in the trash factor and the stink. Diapers can not sit in the trash for 2 days and not stink! We usually take out our trash every 2 to 3 days, so if there is a stinky paper diaper in there, it is grossly smelly! We don't have half the trash that we did when we used all paper diapers on the girls.

Don't read this part if you're squeamish........ Some may get grossed out by the poop issue in a cloth diaper, but we have come up with some very easy solutions. Liners, Cloth Diapering stores may sell disposable liners, but I have found some easy recycling way to have my own liners. Old stained, torn or otherwise trashed t-shirts. I cut them up into roughly the size of the diaper and lay them in. When there is only pee, they are just washed with the diaper. In the event there is poo, i just roll it up and throw it in the trash can. Just as easy as a disposable. I have also used wet wipes that go thru the washer (with the diapers) and lay them in like a liner. Finally, I must note that most of my pocket diapers have felt lining and, now that Squeak is eating people food, if you just roll the diaper back the poo will just roll off and I plop it in the toilet and flush.

The Green Factor is also great. I am not creating more petrolium use in creating the disposables. I am not creating tons of waste that will be around for 500 more years. I did buy most of my pocket diapers used, or from a local WAHM (WallyPop) so there was the least possible impact in making my diapers. And, I'm teaching the girls that it isn't so hard to be gentle to our environment.

Now, I must add my disclaimer...... I do use some paper diapers. I go thru a little less than 1 pack a month. That should last the average baby, one WEEK. I use them for in the mornings that I haul pigs, and sometimes when I will be out of the house all day. I'm getting better about using them outside of the house since I have figured out the liner thing.

There, that's my green reminder and contribution for the day. I'm done, 'cause I'm running to the breadmaker that just beeped and said my new loaf of Whole Wheat with Sunflower Seeds bread is done. YUUUUMMMMM!!!!!

Oh yeah, Cloth diapers are easy. It's not the pins and plastic pants you are imagining. They are velcro or snap just like a paper diaper.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What Do farmers and Ranchers DO?? Shameless cross-post.

I was wondering what everyone here thinks that Farmers and Ranchers Do? I posted this at my Local Harvest site, so its geared more towards farmers and ranchers, but please chime in!

Is there something you would like others to know about your world and job?? Is there something that you were supprised to hear about others??

First, I have to give credit where credit is due. This post is inspired by The Beginning Farmer. Her blog post inspired me to ask y'all the same question. "What is the main thing you would like people to know about your agricultural word?"

I have run itno the same problems as she has. You would be (or maybe not) amazed by the amount of people that think that Ranchers and Farmers are hurting our environment and the earth.

I am amazed that people say that it is wrong to raise cattle for beef. So, if you aren't supposed to make that steer into beef, what are you supposed to do with it?? Beef cattle were put on this earth for exactly that reason. I might even argue that dairy cattle are supposed to become our food once their useful life has run out.

I believe that we aren't doing Gods work if we don't utilize all of the beef that was put on this earth. I also believe that most Ranchers and Farmers improve their environment. We do this for many reasons, most of them profitable, and some for our future generations.

I would like the general public to really understand all of the precautions we go thru to care for our land.

1 - Personally, we make sure that we leave timber areas tall grass areas. We leave these areas so that our cows will have sheltered areas to lay in, and calve in, during the winter.

2 - We don't tear up the land and we don't overfertilize the ground creating run-off to the streams and rivers. We need those streams for our cows to drink, so why would we pollute them? We need that topsoil to grow great grass and feed for our cows, so why would we damage it? We go to great lengths to preserve the earth and improve the dirt so we can improve the grass and grow more beef.

3 - If beef is grown and harvested carefully, it doesn't hurt the animal in ANY way. That may sound wierd, but its true. If you raise your beef cattle in a clean and dry environment, they are comfortable and eat, and grow very healty. If you move them to the harvesting location slowly and smoothly, and you then restrain them properly, they won't feel the pain. It will (and should be) done smoothly and instantly, to prevent suffering. In addition, a facility that is so careful with the live animal will (and should) take those same precautions to handle the meat carefully and cleanly, thus preventing harm to the people that eat it.

I know that this may seem a little off, from my usual stories, but I was inspired. I hope y'all will chime in and tell us what you want people outside of agriculture to know about what you do. I look forward to hearing from everyone!

Remember, high quality beef is GOOD for you! And its good for the cattle and our earth.

We still have 2 shares of Grass-Fed beef and 2 shares of Corn-Fed beef. Send me a note to reserve your shares today and set up your pay-as-it-grows plan. Shanen : )

Monday, December 8, 2008

Time Out!!!

Momma needs a TIME OUT!!! Can I do that?? Well, I need to. I think that if tomarrow is nasty like they say, I will do just that. Today was both an AWFUL day and a great day.
First the Awful -
Squeak had a Dr apt. His 1 yr checkup. So, he is back on track for weight (23#) and Height (29.5 in) and his head is huge 90% (Daddy has a huge melon). He had to get shots!!! EEEEKKKK!!! Since his stitches in September, he HATES!! to be held still. So he pretty much didn't breath during the 5 pokes in the leg for his shots. I would be supprised if his ankles aren't bruised from where their hands were. He was kicking so hard they had to hold really tight. Then, we had to do the lead testing!!! They had to draw a WHOLE VIAL of blood from his little bitty arm! As soon as she took his arm he was mad, no PISSED that he was gonna get it again. I was holding him facing away from me in a chair. His left arm was under mine, across his chest. One lady was holding his arm, while the other drew the blood. He was kicking and screaming and trying to BITE them. My baby is severely traumatized!!! I was crying and he was crying and I am SOOOO thankful my kids are healthy!!! I can't imagine having to do this to my baby all the time!!!

The good part -
Tonight was the girls' Christmas Concert. They did great!!!! Grandma and A went shopping this weekend and picked out some pretty special and Festive Dresses. The girls loved them!! They were sooooo cute! They both sang great, and I could even hear them!!!!

Now can I whine again?? No, I think I'll just go to bed and put my COLD feet on my husband and warm them up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Christmas List

So, for many years now my mother has been asking me for a list of things for me and the kids. I think I will finally post this mostly just for her!!

1~ I would like one of these Williams-Sonoma Whip cream makers.
2~ I lovvvveee Hot Chocolate so, whip cream is a necessity, and any flavor of dark hot chocolate is ALWAYS wonderful.
3 ~ Gift Certificates for clothes are great! Even though I am still not the size I don't want to be, I still have to be clothed.

1 ~ Slug barrel for his Benelli 12 Gage (Beau says please don't, it's too expensive, more than the gun cost)
2~ new Socks - Tall Justin Socks like these
3~ He also needs more Hunter's Orange, maybe a hat, or some gloves.

Mom did ask a month ago, and we ok'ed the purchase of a Wii for the girls. So far we have the following games, and I am looking for more recommendations!
Wii Sports
Wii Sing
Wii Games
Wii Fit
Wii Music

1~ Books, She is into the Nikki Series by Ann Howard Creel (it's an AmericanGirl series) She has books one and two of the Nikki Series. Any and all dog and dog training books would be great.
2~ She would like a pink Saddle Blanket.

1~Books - any and all level 1 Readers. She is reading voraciously and really enjoys any and all books. She is also just beginning Level 2 Readers.
2~ She would love to have another pair of boots, as hers are very worn thru (she told me PINK today 12-3).

1~ Hammer and toolbench set. I also like this one from Magic Cabin, in fact I LOVE, LOVE all of their stuff! It is all natural and mostly made of natural products, not a lot of plastic! (I'm in a natural, I hate plastic phase)
2~ Clothes He is wearing an 18 month size outfit right now and I think this will still fit him for a while.

Sorry VERY Sorry for the Materialistic post, but I just wanted to help family that reads this blog and still thinks (mistakenly) that they need to buy us things. They don't by the way, just being wonderful the way you are is enough. I will update this post as more things come up that I know they want, and or have been bought for them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mental Health Crisis Avoided

Y'all be happy to hear that I wont need therapy (at least this week). My mental health crisis has been avoided. You know that the past two weeks we have been moving cattle, and you might have noticed that horses were involved. But, did you notice, that my time on a horse has been limited to mere moments (can't spell minuets, see). And you might also know that I have a young son (11 1/2 months) and was pregnant the summer before. So I haven't had much horse time in the past @ YEARS!!!! This makes momma CRAZY, STRESSED, UPSET, and NUTS!!!

So, today I had to water the cows locked in the corral. They didn't get water this morning (the knocked the hose out, made a huge mess and pissed off the husband) so they were THIRSTY!! I started the water and waited and was mobbed by at least 20 cows (only 5 can drink at a time). I shooed those away, remember I'm standing in ankle deep mud. The cows kept coming back. Koda (Dakota Red Buck) came to get a drink and was just standing there nicely being petted........ so I jumped on. Then I remembered Squeak asleep in the truck, and an emergency room trip from this same sort of incident (bareback horse, no bridle, water tank met arm, not broken) and I hopped off and got the bridle.

I came back and actually put the bridle on and then AHHHHHHH I hopped on!! You can feel the stress leaving my body!! I decided that the cows should be in the other pen, because there would be less fighting if the tank was filled before they drank. Koda and I went to the other end of the pen and proceeded to move em out. AHHHHHHHH more stress leaving my body. OOOO that is the out of shape c-section tummy saying that it needs much more work to be this ready for a horse with this much "cow" (read - he cuts and turns faster than I can hold my stomach in).

SOooooo, I'm back in the barn getting - imagine this - a saddle. Novel concept.

All saddled up and AHHHHHHHH!!!!! This is it!!! A Great horse, a great ride, something to do (move cows to other pen, sort some back to drink, repeat, just for the hell of it).

AHHHHHHHHH!! Mental Health Crisis avoided. Koda is an awesome horse, moves great has too much cow in a muddy pen with an out of shape stomach, and it was absolutely wonderful.
You may be wondering what about Squeak?? Well, when he woke up, I rolled down the window and played peek a boo with him. Meaning that I loped, and trotted in and out of his line of vision and kept him interested.

AHHHHHHHH!!!!! A good ride will fix me EVERY time!! Even when I didn't know I was that stressed out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Why God says it's not nice to scare your wife.

Here is the other small story I promised you from our cattle moving on Sunday.

Everytime we hauled a load of cows home, I was running to get the gate. Not a big deal except the gate is about 100 yards from the front of the truck when it is backed up to the corral.

Everything was going well and we were on our 2nd or 3rd trip. We'd loaded the trailer with pretty big cows and the bull this trip, so we were pretty heavy. Beau was shutting the trailer gate and I went up ahead to get the pasture gate. Apparently, Beau was faster this time, and I was getting slower.

I could hear the Dodge (diesel) behind me and I thought I was walking to the left of his path. I didn't get out of the way and didn't look behind me.

Beau came RIGHT up behind me and honked the horn!! I jumped! Well, jumped is an understatement! I jumped in the air and my hands went out and my heart was in my throat. I got out of the way and sat down to slow down my heart.

Beau had to stop the truck, because he was laughing so hard!!

I finally got up and hopped on the running board of the truck, to ride to the gate. Then it happened... He couldn't get the truck going. He was stuck!!!! I laughed and told Beau that God says it's not nice to scare your wife.

We moved the white truck in front and hooked up a tow strap. It broke. We retied it and It broke again. I laughed and told Beau that God says it's really not nice to scare your wife.

We didn't have a chain with us, so we checked on our loaded cattle and then went to the house to get a chain. We got back to the pasture and hooked up the white truck and pulled. The chain broke! I laughed and told Beau that God says it's really, really not nice to scare your wife.

We looked at the cows on our load and decided that they were mostly tame (read this as "pets") cows and we could unload them and get them back in easily. We unloaded the back two gates and off the cows went.

I then hopped in the dodge and rocked it a little and was able to back up to the corral again. And we were in luck! The tame cows had made a loop and were back in the corral eating a bucket of corn we had left in there. Hot Digity!! We loaded them back up and off we went.

But, I did remind Beau that "God says it is really, really not nice to scare your wife!!"

We were almost to the house again, and I could laugh with him and say it nice while I was laughing. Because it had to be funny, me jumping out of my skin with my arms and legs flailing in the air!

But it still isn't nice to scare your wife, even if she scares easily and is quite hillarious when she gets scared.

By the way, as I am writing this I have tears running down my face and I am laughing at myself.
But, It still isn't nice to scare your wife! Believe me, God told Beau it isn't.
: )) Shanen

Monday, November 24, 2008

The cows came home

Well, if you have read my first two blogs on Local Harvest you know that we have moved our Ranch this summer. Our new barn has been built for some time, and the corrals have been built for a month. Everyone around here kept asking what we were going to use that BIG barn for. We kept telling them for the calves and colts. They would look at us with a question and ask if we had any cows. You see we have not had ANY cattle on this farm except for the bulls (and they were only here for 1 month). None of our new Ringold County neighbors had ever seen us with any cattle at our homeplace. The cows have been at the rented pasture this summer.

As I told you on Friday, we moved the cows home this weekend. We did it!! All by ourselves. Beau had to work in town on Saturday, so we just got everything set up. We set up the portable corral at the pasture and fed the cows in the corral. This convinces them that this is a good place to be! ; )

Sunday morning bright and early we loaded up the kids, and the dogs and off we went. Our rented pasture is only 15 miles from the house, so it is a short trip. We arrived at the pasture, and made our plan. I would take the 4-wheeler out and around the pond to move the cows to Beau and he would "call" the cows into the corral. Well, he had more luck than I did. He locked up ~25 while I was still on the other side of the pond.

I made my sweep around the pond with the dogs close behind. The cows weren't happy about being woken up early and were slow to go to the corral. I managed to push in another 25 or so. Then it gets tricky! The last cows are ALWAYS the worst. They don't want to go in and the want to run and chase. We decided to haul a load home and bring the horse.

We are able to haul about 10 calves and 12 cows each trip. Made the trip and arrived back at the pasture with the horse. This time we switched, I was calling and Beau was pushing on Ozzie (the horse). We made a sweep and not one cow came in. We put the 4-wheeler away (I hate those things!) and tried again and cought 5 pairs. We were both severely frustrated and decided to haul some more cows home.

We made another 3 trips (I will tell you a funny story about one of theese trips later this week) and we got LUCKY! The crazy(mean, ornery and taking the rest far, far, away) cow was standing in the gateway. We were VERY sneaky and we finally got her locked up!!!! YEEE HAAA! Unfortunately it was dark and we were done for the night, but they were all locked up at the pasture and at the house.

I LOVE our new facilities @ home. We did not have to worry that the cows were going to go hunting for their calves and get out, we had easy fresh water and it was great! After a long day and another long one to go we could still sleep easy.

If you enjoy these types of stories, leave me a note and I'll keep them coming.
We did select some great beef calves that will be worked and weaned this coming weekend.

Please e-mail me to reserve your beef shares. I think we have 4 whole shares left, so please let me know and I can put your name on a calf. You can see our Local Harvest Listing at http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M24259

I will have that funny story from Sunday and the story of Monday later in the week.
Shanen : ))

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thankfulness is natural

Thankfulness. That word is a mouthful, but the things it brings to mind are simple. God. Family. Farm. Cows. Horses. Nature. Natural.

I am thankful for all of theese things and each one is dependent and brought to us by the others on my thankfull list.

God gave us our family, and gave us to our families. We need to remember that without Him, none of theese things are possible.

Our families are a gift from God and we need to treat them as sacred gifts. We need to make sure that we are always, ALWAYS thankful and loving towards our families.

Cows are also a special gift we are entrusted with. We show our respect and appreciation for these cattle by lovingly raising them for their intended purposes. Wonderful beef and great mothering (or siring) abilities. We should all treat them with nothing but the utmost respect and care for the entire time we have them, including their harvest. This means we should also enjoy all the beef and byproducts entirely and not waste anything.

My horses are my wonderful luxury. I am so thankful that I was given the opportunity at a young age to enjoy the love of a horse. That pony was (and is) my best friend through all of those rough adolescent years. I am so thankful that he was there to listen to all of my problems, and to help me learn to love each and every animal on the planet.

I am thankful for nature. This sounds simple and plain, and that is just the way I mean it. I love each and every sound and thing in nature (even the annoying Asian LadyBugs).

I am thankful that we are natural. I love that we can put a calf back in his natural environment (grass) and it will grow and mature into natural, wonderful beef. I love natural pasture and letting nature show us what we need to do to improve. I am thankful that God made it natural for us to love him and life on the ranch.

I am also thankful to the wonderful, creative people that read and enjoy my blog.
I hope all of you will have a wonderful Thanksgiving and stay safe!

Fences, and the holes an Old Pony can find.

Hi All, sorry I haven't had any more fun or funny stories lately. I've been busy keeping track of the horses and colts.

Earlier this week, I was in the house working on the books and Beau calls from in town, and says we have horses @ the neighbors. That was unusual and very alarming, since our closest neighbors are over 1& 1/2 miles away. So, here we go. I throw Wyatt (turns 1 year old next month) in the truck, grab some grain and hop in the truck.

Sure enough, I get close and see my pony (yes, he was mine in 5th grade so he is 23 and been getting out for many years) in the middle of the road. I turn the truck around and put some grain on the tailgate. Kenneth (my pony's name) was a little leery of eating, because he's done this before and knows he's in trouble. But the 3 others he brought with him gobble it up. I finally get the halter on Kenneth and hop in the truck with the leadrope thru the driver's window. Off we go... slowly. He walked and trotted all the way home grudgingly. The others thought it was fun! They were playing and winnying to the others that were still in the pasture. They were even happier when they were put in the pen with the colts and the alfalfa hay! Kenneth was happy then, also because that is what he does best, taking care of his babies. You see, he was going to go in with the colts anyway because he teaches them how to eat and that humans are great for tasty food and scratching.

The other horses are now back in the pasture, pouting because they don't have the fresh hay. Oh well, if I could only find the hole in the fence before they do again.

If any of you live nearby and want to get in on the fun of cattle work, we will be hauling the cows home this weekend. So, call me and we can set it up.

We will also be making our final beef calf selections. So, if you want to purchase beef shares, call or e-mail me so that I can get the specifics that you would like. We will then sort for GrassFed Beef or CornFed Beef.

The colts have already started eating better with Kenneth and are becoming more sociable. We have some great fillies and colts that are for sale! We will also be driving the Mares back to pasture this weekend a sight you will love to see!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving Mares and Weaning Colts

Sunday was a big day and we did accomplish alot! After the cows were finished, we moved the Mares and weaned the colts. Again, it may not sound like much, but it is usually a very difficult task.

We stopped at the house and the guys tightened their cinches and I haltered the stud and hopped on the 4-wheeler. We then went looking for the mares. Our mares are kept behind the house in a 160 acre pasture. As expected they were at the far corner of the pasture. Koda (our stud horse) followed the 4 wheeler great and we went back about 100 acres and finally saw the mares. Koda was very excited! He was still respectfull and we circled and started heading back to the house. The mares spotted him and came at a run.

I wish someone else had been helping and could have taken pictures because it was quite a sight. Imagine 30 Mares and Colts at a run following you. Manes flowing behind them, some playing and bucking, and horses playing tag. It was beautiful!!

We crossed the creek, 5 horses wide and made it up to the tricky part, the gate.... You see, after we go out this gate, there are no fences. We have to go thru a small paddock and cross the road to try to lead them into the corrals. Beau and Branden were on their horses bunching the Mares together and trying to keep up.

A short tenative pause at the gate on my part, and out we went. 30 horses went out in the open. They followed me well across the road and right into the pen!!! YEAH!!! WE DID IT!!!
You see, usually this takes at least 8 people to block the road and help funnel the unbroke mares and colts into the right pen. Not anymore!!

Then we slowly started sorting mares from their colts. This is a very trying and traumatic thing for some of the mares. The don't want to leave their colt, or any other colt alone. Even though they are only separated by a fence, they still don't like it. All of the sorting went well, with only one small cut on a colt.

Today (Tuesday) the colts are still upset and not eating. This is not good... I put a couple of old geldings (they got out of their pasture, another long story) in with the colts to teach them to eat from the Hay bale. This should help them to get more comfortable with eating hay.
We will sell half of our colts, so if you are interested in foundation bred Quarter Horses keep stopping by my blog and you will see pictures as I can get them.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy my stories from the Ranch!

Remember, we still have a couple of Beef Shares available and we will customize them to fit your family. http://www.localharvest.org/blog/24259/
Shanen : )

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home on the Hilltop

Well, Yesterday sure was a long day!! But we moved 'em! The cows all circled the Jeep well and then followed me over one hill. Beau and Branden were on horses and helped move the stragglers along. They followed me down the hill and chased me thru the creek.

Then it happened!!! The Jeep Quit!! You see something "popped" when I put it in 4 Low (Four wheel drive, Low Gear) The creek is pretty deep and the bank out of it is very steep. I made it up part of the hill, and the cows are circling and beginning to stop and wander. UH OH!!!

So, I got out, grabbed a feed bag and took off running! I had to run, or get mobbed by a bunch of hungry cows that just want my feed! Did I mention the HILL???!!! This hill is very steep, probably a 45degree incline. I had to RUN 75 yards UP!!! But halfway up I couldn't, my lungs were on FIRE!! The cold air and this out of shape body did not get along. And remember, we are in a part of the pasture that is not grazed, so it is 2 ft deep tangled grass.

I finally made it to the top!!! Then I had to open the gate, before the cows got there...... Barbed wire gates and I do NOT get along. But my wonderful husband had just a twisted wire for me to open. YEAH!!!!

The cows were right on my tail and they went to the hilltop to talk with the other group already there. Beau and Branden went back down for one slowpoke. (We let her go slow, she is 14 and has had a great calf every year) WE did it with no problems!!

Then we did have to get the Jeep to the top of the hill and leave it there for another day!

Hope you enjoy my little RanchLife stories and yes, it is ok to laugh at this little girl enjoyin life on the Ranch.

I'll have the story of the afternoon's activities later, hopefully with some pictures.

Friday, November 14, 2008


So, I did feed everyone yesterday. I made Tacos, and we ate family style. This is a challenge for me (not making their plates for them). You see Jo is a wiggler. We ended up with cottage cheese, cheese, taco meat and some milk on the table. But it was a nice family meal.

Tonight we are having Pork Chops and wilted spinach. Yum!!

Today, I just vegitated with Swueak.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


HMMMM..... What's that?? I fed the cows, the dogs, the horses, and even the cat. You mean I have to feed the kids and husband too??

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dogs and their love

Today, I was just neighborly(sp). I helped our 80 something neighbor take his calves to town to be vaccinated and castrated. Sounds simple, RIGHT! Wrong. First, the truck was in the barn (remember, we don't have ANY rock) and it has been raining for 3 days. After I got the truck out, I had to hook up to the trailer, try to go to town and get diesel, and then I could help Don.

Helping was the fun part, the mud wasn't. Don fell in the calf pen & I just about had a HEART ATTACK!!! His wife just laughed and said he does it all the time. We easily got the calves in the small pen, trailer backed up and then it was time to load.

Forgot to mention that when I was unsticking the truck, I put the dog on the flatbed (of the truck) and left him there...... Chili, (Beau's Dog). The calves didn't want to move, so I called the dog..... Just for his presence, It usually helps.... It didn't. So, Chili got to help. Poor dog was sooooo excited he just bout flipped out cause he got to help. Calves were on the trailer in 2 seconds with NO hassles. Chili got LOTS of prais and we headed into town.

Showed up at the vets office a little early and waited. Unloaded calves and started working. The guys were all inside so it's lil ole me by myself. Chili couldn't stand it!! He was on the truck whinin barkin the ENTIRE time I tried to move a calf. They didn't want to go in the barn ('cause Don was standin directly in front of 'em) and Chili wanted them to go, so I let him help. You'd of thought I hung the moon.

SHHH, don't tell Chili he only got to help move like 20 head. He LOVED IT.. Remember, this dog 'bout died when Beau left the ranch. Chili has been in heaven today. But he hasn't figured out yet that he ain't sleepin in the bed tonight. He was covered in slop and mud. I love that dog, and he loves cow-workin.

It was a GREAT Day.

And, while I was workin calves, the girls were at home for an entire hour after school and didn't kill each other. Squeak was in the truck with us and taking his nap.


Monday, November 10, 2008

Green Washer

Well one of the ways I love to go green is to use my new clothes washer!!! I love my Washer!! I have a Frigidaire Front load Washer and dryer. We chose theese because of the following....
1 - Less Water
2 - Front Load
3 - More Laundry done at one time!!!!! I can do 8 pairs of my husbands DIRTY (cowmanure crusted 40' inseam) jeans.
4 - Less Soap. I have used half of the suggested HE soap and am LOVING IT!!!!
5- Easier to get clothes out!! I am 5'0" and love my pedestals and that I can get everything out without stretching to the bottom.
6 - MADE IN THE USA!!!!! This was the ONLY front loader, washer and dryer that can say this!!!
Today is laundry day, so you can understand my love today of all days!!!
Oh yeah, the dryer is the fastest too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Our Current Ranch

So... This summer we worked on building our current ranch. We bought a 160 ac Ranch with a small house that had not been lived in in 2 years. So, a remodeling we went. We decided to build a new barn and fix up the house a little. Because the barn makes the money, not the house. We put some new windows in the house, new appliances and ripped out the carpet downstairs to expose beautiful hardwood floors.

Across the road, we built the BARN. This barn is everything my 12 year old self ever dreamed of. We built a 98 x 104 barn. It is set up for both cattle and horses. We put large runs out the east side and an arena to the north with some working and holding pens. The inside will have an open area in the center for riding horses with pens on each side.

Our Ranch Plan is pretty complex, but here are the basics.

1- Our goal is to raise Maine-Anjou females to sell to other breeers. Byproducts of this goal will be Show Quality Calves, Beef and Bulls. We want everything to be Organic. The cattle should have great dispositions, and be happy and easily handle-able.

2 - Beef Sales. We will raise both Grass-Fed and Corn Fed Beef. Our animals will ALWAYS be treated with the utmost respect and kindness as long as we have them. We want to sell Beef Shares and Sides and Quarters of Beef. Our animals will always have access to exercise and grass.

3 - Horses. We raise working quarter horses. We want to keep our colts until they are 2 - 4 to train for roping and working cattle.

4 - Dogs. We have working dogs. Our male is a blue heeler and my female is a registered mini-Australian Sheperd. We will raise Mini Aussies an Toy Aussies. Our dogs are GREAT with the kids and must always be great with the kids.

5 - Garden. This next year I want to start a great garden. Eventually I would like to offer a vegetable CSA. I would like fruit trees to be in this garden

6 - FAMILY. Most of all our main goal is for this Ranch to grow our family. The kids are most important to us, and the main reason we downsized to this ranch.

I know this kind of turned out like a list, but it is what I needed to explain to y'all what we're doin, and what we're about. Hope you like our blog and you can also read along at http://www.localharvest.org/blog/24259/
This is where you can look at purchasing options for our Beef CSA

Thursday, November 6, 2008

History of us

Hi, My name is Shanen Ebersole. My family and I run Ebersole Cattle Company. In this first blog I will tell you a little history of us and our farm.
My husband and I turned 32 this year and we have 3 children. Addie is 8, Jolene is 5, and Wyatt is 11 months old. We have just move our farm this summer from Decaur County to Ringold County Iowa. This move has only moved our family 38 miles, but we have completely changed our lives forever (for the better).
Here's a little more about that move and Why it is better. Last year at this time, Beau (husband) managed a LARGE cattle ranch and we had our own 440 acre ranch. We were over stressed had no time for the children we had and I had not seen Beau for more than 1 hr each night for at least a month (i'm really not kidding). We just moved from one house to another that this other ranch owned. And, I was caring for 400 cows by myself. Oh yeah and I was 9 months pregnant. Beau did make it for Wyatt's birth, but the birth was complicated and ended in an emergency C-Section. This was really an awakening moment for all of us. It made us remember that FAMILY is the most important thing. This set a LONG list of changes into effect.
Beau left the BIG ranch, We sold our large ranch, moved again 3 times, and started building our New 160 acre ranch.
We are here now and loving it.
My next blog will tell y'all about our current ranch and our operation.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

What I CAN do today to be green

Today I don't have the kids. They went to Kim's (she is my childcare guru). I did shock her again with a cloth diaper, but she is getting used to them. She uses disposables during the day, but I have been bringing Wyatt in a cloth diaper. I then got a load of stuff from the house in town to bring to the new house. You can read that the house is new to us. It was built in 192?. We are slowly remodeling what needs improved. When we purchased this house we didn't have any appliances, so we bought all new energy star appliances. I bought all American made. The fridge and stove are Maytag, and our front load washer and dryer are Frigidaire. The washer and dryer models I have are the ONLY ones that are made in the US.

My next issue is to figure out the water situation, find out if the wells are good or if we can continue to use the rural water.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


HI, I'm Shanen Ebersole I live in southwestern Iowa. I am wife to Beau. Mom to Addie (8), Jolene (5) and Wyatt (6months). We raise purebred cattle. quarter horses, and we (Iam) starting to raise working Australian Shepherds (cow dogs).

Oh yeah, I am a person too. As a mom it is sometimes hard to remember who I actually am. As you can see I love animals!! I also am big on treating them humanely. Meaning that we treat all of our animals with respect and compassion until the end. I also have discovered all the benefits of being green!! I love our land and I want to keep it that way. So in this blog I will share my journeys of being and going green!!!