Happy (super belated) New Year!

Cow Chips, y’all. I haven’t updated you in a LOOOOOOOONG time! I apologize and tip my hat in earnest that you haven’t forgotten about me!

So, what’s been going on since the last update? Ya know, since October? Well, settle in, grab a cold one, and read up on the craziness that is life out on the ranch.

November 2017:

The biggest story here is that on November 1 I opened my own fitness studio, Hi-Lo Studio, in Clayton! This was a huge step from being an instructor to an actual small business owner. Some days I still pinch myself – this is real! The community has been amazing with their support, coming to class and telling their friends and I couldn’t be more proud of my amazing instructors who have given their all for our team’s success. Of course, the real credit goes to my amazing husband and my mom. Seriously, their time in fixing up the studio so that I can teach the classes was above and beyond anything I deserve. Weekends, weekdays, trips back and forth from Albuquerque, retrofitting closet mirrors, Christmas decorating; the list goes on and I’m so grateful. Love you, Mom! Love you, Clay! THANK YOU BOTH SO MUCH!!!

Another cool update is we acquired (yet another) cute dog. Seriously, this little dog is a cutie! His name is Chimichanga. Well, I call him Chingon (Spanish for…well, you should ask someone; depending on who you are, it can mean awesome or…slang for other words!) Anyway, he’s half chihuahua and half heeler. He’s short and tubby and loves living out on the ranch! He and Corona get along great. Nacho’s more of the cranky old man that just grumbles whenever Chimi wants to play, but they all cuddle together every night so I have to believe that somewhere deep inside Nacho likes this pup.

We also had a nice Thanksgiving. Naturally, I had a lot to be thankful for – I mean, read the above paragraphs. I’m also thankful that all our cattle were sold. That’s a huge one in the ranching world. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, one gets sick, another has a difficult pregnancy. But we made it through and bills were paid. By the way, if you ever wondered, ranchers only get paid when their cattle are sold. Depending on the operation, that’s once or twice a year. Yeah. Talk about budgeting!!! Anyway, we had our first successful season as ranchers.

We went to Albuquerque for the annual River of Lights event. Whoever is in charge of this mastery of lights and sculpture is pure genius! I’m pretty sure we’ve been a dozen times and have loved it every single time. Check out the photo below – I mean, an entire ship!

December 2017:

This is my birthday month. Happy birthday to me! Well, my birthday comes second to the birth of Jesus, let’s be real for a minute.

Sadly, I lost a very important person. Ms. Marilyn Tyler, operatic soprano, friend, colleague, and my voice teacher, passed December 20. It’s still strange to think that we can’t call each other and gossip. She was an integral part of my growing up in college. It’s because of her that I appreciate so much in the world. The stories she could tell…we’ll be having a memorial concert for her this March 3 in Albuquerque.

A few days after Marilyn passed, we decided to take some time as a family away from everything. We headed to Durango, Colorado and rode the Polar Express train on the Durango Silverton Train. If you have kids, you’ve got to do this! We saw Santa, drank hot chocolate, and had a great train ride. Plus, you get to wear pajamas. In public. On purpose!!!

I was excited for this month because we had an awesome Christmas at home with family. The biggest surprise was yet to come…we surprised our daughter with a…keep reading.

Another event for which I’m grateful was that I passed my 200 hour yoga certification!!! I started teaching classes in January and people have steadily been enjoying the physical and mental (and for some, spiritual) awareness that yoga can bring. I’m slowly deepening my own practice and now I have a goal of doing a handstand. The cows may be the only ones to see it, but progress is progress! Now, I’m working slowly towards my 500 hour certification. In terms of yoga school, the 200hr is the equivalent of going to school for a Bachelor degree. The 500 is more of a Master degree level – basics are done but now the real understanding of yoga philosophy comes into play.

January 2018:

New Year’s Eve was an awesome one. We rang in 2018 with our dear friends from Las Cruces, the Heidemans. He’s Border Patrol (and we’re proud and honored to have him there!) and she’s a fitness instructor and IronMan Triathlete (yes! she’s literally swam, biked, and run a long distance for fun!). Their family joined us and we had an awesome time. It was too cold to do much outside but just having friends with us was fun enough.

Chickens! So…the chickens needed more nesting boxes. Really, I just wanted an excuse to have more nesting boxes for the chickens I didn’t have yet. So, we cut holes in our old horse trailer, added wood doors, and made them new nesting boxes. Now that I have 4 boxes, I guesstimate it could happily accommodate about 15-20 hens. Poor Clay. (Since the renovation happened, I lost about 5 hens to freak accidents: a door, a stock tank, extreme cold/age-related, one who fell off the roost, and pigs. Luckily, I have 10 chicks under a heat lamp.)

Finally, at the end of January we went on our awesome Christmas gift…a cruise! Not just any cruise, amigo. A DISNEY CRUISE. To the Bahamas. Yes!!! Plus, we didn’t go alone. We went with our amazing friends Steff and her nieces Audrey and Steelee (Steelee is also Lily’s BFF). It’s like Baby Vegas (aka Chuck E Cheese) on the ocean – no coins or tickets necessary! Having to keep this kid occupied for a full month before we sailed was beyond difficult but we somehow did it! The girls had a blast and, I have to admit, we weren’t even off the ship before I was trying to plan our next voyage. Y’all, I have to tell ya – if you ever have the chance to take a cruise (I’m partial to Disney), GO. DON’T THINK. JUST GO. We had such a great adventure as a family! It may only be a one-time thing but it’s a one-time thing your family will never forget. We visited so many beautiful places, like Key West (Clay met a VERY friendly lady there – until I pulled him away because let’s be honest; she was REALLY friendly…wink wink), Nassau, got to hang out at Atlantis Resort (can’t afford to spend the night but at least we got some pool time!), and their private island Castaway Cay is really nice.

February 2018: 

Well, there’s not much that tops a Disney cruise so we’ve been taking it fairly easy this month. We do have 2 calves on the ground (whoops!) and we did have a great wine pairing and dinner at XIT (aka Ten in Texas) for Valentine’s Day. It’s a great BBQ joint in Dalhart, TX that we frequent.

My mornings are spent loving my job at KLMX Radio. We’ve been working hard to make our community the centerpiece of our work and I think it’s starting to show. My station manager, JJ, is doing a great job expanding our reach. Speaking of which, don’t forget: you can stream us at klmx.us and listen to our crazy every weekday!

Looking ahead, I’ve got senior classes coming to the studio, a few speaking engagements on how to stay healthy at any age, and so many more ideas on how to be of service to my community! It’s all on my Facebook page! I’m even seriously thinking of training for another half marathon. I mean, I hate running but I love the accomplishment of a race. And the wine and pizza after taste soooooo much better.

Oh, I have 2 ducks now. Well, ducklings. Y’all. What in tarnations am I gonna do with ducks? I blame it on Clay for not listening when I said they had them at the feed store and he replied with “Sure!”. Husbands, you should really listen to us when we talk; you might end up with 2 ducks. Or alpacas. Or dogs. Just sayin’….

Anyway, here’s the awesome collage of pictures you expect showing our crazy ranch shenanigans.

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Letter to the Editor (Mother Nature)

Dear Mother Nature,

Girlfriend. Sweetie. Honey.

What the hell are you thinking? Get it together.



Red Lips ‘n Cow Chips



Lemme back up a minute and fill you in. The above eloquently worded letter is what I’d like to say to Mother Nature; the unedited version is full of many more bad words. If you look out any window in our house, you’ll get a taste of what happens when Mother Nature feels like playing a sick, twisted joke on us. This was from lunchtime. Notice the white stuff giving way to the muddy stuff. That’s about to freeze up.

April 29.jpg

Snow! Not only did she start April with the best April Fool’s Day joke EVER with snow, but now Mother Nature is ending April with round 2 of her fury. Don’t get me wrong, ranchers and farmers are grateful for the moisture: we need it. But with high winds? And right after I *just* planted my rosebushes??? That’s just mean.

Meanwhile, we are eating our emotions, checking Wunderground for the millionth time, staring out the window to make sure there isn’t a stray cow, and look like this:


(This is fictional character Soraya Montenegro. The character is crazy and kind of a big deal. Click here to learn more about her.)

The one thing I’ve learned about living out on the ranch is you don’t mess with Mother Nature. The prairie fire in the panhandle and disastrous weather like The Dust Bowl and the drought that only ended about 5 years ago prove that, as much as we love this land, we don’t take the good days for granted. I guess with that in mind I should be thankful that this moisture will definitely keep things green around here for the foreseeable future but I think my cows would disagree.

Did I mention how we are in the middle of calving??? Yeah, the ladies are having their calves! We’re doing pretty well on the calf count. I try not to jinx myself with an absolute number. This cold weather, though, makes things a little more difficult for the mothers and their calves. They need to clean and nurse their babies to ensure a successful delivery. But when the biting cold slows everyone down that gets a little more difficult. So, in our jobs as stewards and caretakers, we are obsessing over the ladies and their babies. We were out at about 5:30am checking and counting and leading them to the windbreak in the corner of the ranch. There were some hurdles but it seems like they’ll be OK. I guess we will find out tomorrow when the snow melts and we can count yet again.

One cool thing I did today, besides bake the biggest loaf of bread to ever grace my belly was to warm up a calf in the middle of the entryway. Little thing was shivering, born only yesterday, not able to walk but still alert. So, a 90lb calf was in the house while I dried it off with a beach towel and rubbed it with a blanket that the dogs sleep on. Meanwhile, Corona the (somewhat annoying) Heeler/Collie mix sat with the calf, making sure it was OK. Turns out, she’s a great cattle dog and we need to train her!

Naturally, I sent a text to my rancher friends and asked “Is this normal? Have I gone off the deep end?” Turns out, totally normal! One friend even had a Christmas delivery; they brought it in, dried it off, and named it Christmas. Now I know I should never name the calves but, gosh doggit, I saved this one’s life. It’s name is April. Not sure if it’s male or female but April is the name that will stick. Luckily, mom was able to be found and they are happily reunited. Here’s Corona, April the Calf, and Jackson in the background (not pictured but probably sniffing something in another room, Nacho).


I mean, honestly. We literally had a GREAT Easter. Awesome food, Oma (German for Grandma) and our Princess Cowgirl went to a fantastic service, I even made my first run at the cake I want to present for the County Fair. And lots of good bubbly! I think the temperature that day was 78F. SEVENTY EIGHT DEGREES FAHRENHEIT. I had plants out. This is what it looked like:


Then today happened. And it’s still happening! I’m literally watching snow fall sideways right now. 40+mph sustained winds and 29.7 degrees and dropping. WHATEVER.

The only good thing about this storm is that I finally experienced this blizzard that everyone warned me about. I’ve been hearing about how bad the weather gets, now I’ve experienced it for myself. Great. Now if this could happen when I don’t have calves on the ground that would be great.

So, yeah, Mother Nature. Quit messin’ around and get your seasons in check.



What Wind?

So the standing joke on the ranch is that newcomers, out-of-towners, basically anyone who doesn’t live in this area comes in and says “Gosh, it’s windy outside! I can’t believe it! 50 mph gusts? All week???!!! How do you do it?”

To which we say, “What wind?”

Yeah, windy days from now until sometime in the summer are the norm. But even the locals disagree on just HOW windy it gets. From what I gather, it’s a little crazier than normal. And a lot less snow, which worries a lot of us. Since we don’t irrigate our ranches (we have wells and earthen dams but you don’t really water yuccas on purpose), we depend on snowfall and rain. Luckily this summer was pretty wet but the winter, which usually affords us a good 5-10″ of snowfall hasn’t happened regularly. Instead, we had a 75 degree day yesterday on the ranch. Except for the wind breeze, it’s perfect springtime beer and wine drinking weather.  A little breezy but seriously gorgeous. And the trees are blooming. And I’m getting Spring Fever. All I want to do is go outside and plant things and dig in dirt. But here’s the ironic twist to all that. I can’t because it’s too damn windy breezy.

All this Spring Fever, however, has kept me from blogging. So let’s fix it! Because right now it’s ridiculously windy breezy.

Let’s start with fun stuff.

CHICKENS.  I have more chicks! There’s such a thing as chicken math. The rule of chicken math is that you never count your chickens, hatched or not. You just don’t. Instead, you guesstimate how many you have. I now have 15 plus a guinea; more on that later. Then you subtract any retired cluckers: that brings me down to 12. Roosters? 11 chickens. Any chicks or pullets who aren’t in laying mode yet? 4. So really I only have 4 chickens. And I get 5 eggs a day. Confused yet? Good! Because that’s the point of chicken math. If you don’t know how many you have, how is it an addiction? According to a few teachers I know it makes as much sense as common core math.

CATTLE. The ladies are doing great and the guys are happy to do their job! We lost one calf in late December and we are pretty sure they made boyfriend and girlfriend one starry night. They’re starting to get their maternal instincts in because one time Nacho tried to bark at them and they tried to trample him. I love my dogs but sometimes they need to know who’s boss. Around here, it’s the actual profit makers.

ALPACAS. I literally rarely ever see them. They’ve got 640 acres to roam and avoid the cattle, so they’re basically just feral alpacas. Still love them, though.

HORSES AND PONY. They’re still here, fat as ever, because they eat cake with the cows. Not human cake because I don’t share but giant pellet of feed made for livestock. Anyway, they love it and hang out with the cows because they get a little extra feed that way. Penelope is seriously gangster, by the way. She’ll run her little short legs up and get in the way of the cows when she think I’ve got food. She’s a hot mess.

HUMANS. We are great! We’ve had a ton of adventures lately, like checking out Great Wolf Lodge (LOVED IT and met some great staff members in the salon during our manicures. Oh, and the water park is the perfect size and the lifeguards aren’t sitting around – they’re working! OH, and how can I forget the bar? Yeah, full bar. You’re welcome.) Plus, I defeated the Dragon in MagiQuest. You walk around the hotel with a plastic wand; it’s basically a scavenger hunt but with 10 year old kids trying to help you find the dragon’s lair. I looked crazy until I beat it. Then they worshipped my awesomeness. I celebrated with a margarita.

We also went skiing. OK. Let me stop here. See, I don’t ski or swim well. Yes, I’ve been to the slopes and swam a sprint triathlon but I don’t ski or swim. I do it when provoked. It’s like people who say they only run when being chased. I only swim or ski when being chased. So, in good Red Lips fashion, we hit the slopes with our dear friends in Angel Fire. I still don’t get the point of going fast downhill on ice but I do have to say I had fun. The little one and I went to ski school. She got her first taste of snow (literally – poor thing fell on her face) and I ruled that bunny slope. I do have to say that the instructor made it a great day. Years ago (and possibly around the time I developed a distaste for skiing) my husband tried to teach me. “You just go” he said. “Pizza pie and french fry”. “Just fall, you’ll be ok.” Seriously, that was the lesson. After falling about 3 or 4 (or 25 I don’t remember) times I decided my day was best spent at the bar. But a new teacher, a better idea of what to do, and I was commanding the slopes for about 10 minutes before I was just tired. I’ve never slept so soundly.

I’m still “The Lips Lady” and love matching every lady to their perfect lip color! I mean, seriously, Clayton, NM has some gorgeous lips walking around. If you need help finding yours, contact me! Not only that, I’m LOVING the wine selections at viaOneHope. I still can’t pick a super duper favorite because then I crack open another one and it’s this crazy love connection. Wine is my Spirit Animal.

Oh, and special thanks to Kalyn G. who named Bert and Ernie AND also hooked me up with Girl Scout Cookies. Y’all. I wasn’t joking. Feel free to send me cool stuff.


January Recap – already?

That made me laugh. No bull!

January’s over. I mean, really. What happened there? That was quick! We got a few snowy days and next thing I know, it’s 10 days from Valentine’s Day! But don’t you worry. I got my Lips and my Sips stocked up just in case we got a whopper of a storm (we haven’t yet but I hear March is the worst time for blizzards). PS – The Edna Valley Pinot. Glitter makes everything better right? Well, we used it to celebrate my mom’s retirement. Happy Retirement, Mom! She’s also got a “Celebrate” Gift Box of Brut Champagne waiting for her. I mean, if I’m gonna gift wine, it better be the good stuff. And if you’re gonna get some for Valentine’s Day, order here by February 6 to get it in time.

Anyway, here’s a recap of my #ranchlife.

Well, I forgot to post this cute pic of me and my adorable husband at New Year’s Eve in Clayton. I couldn’t help but just look at this pic and think “Oh my goodness, he’s a cutie!” Channeling my inner Beyonce, I liked it so I put a ring on it. And by the way, we’ve been married 11 years now. How awesome is that? (And you know I have to bring it up…that lip color is on FIRE! I had it on about 5:30pm and didn’t take it off until well after midnight; if you can see the clock behind us, it’s 12:07am at the time of this pic.)

Earlier this week, we voted. Our school system is replacing two members on the school board and it’s a pretty close race from those I’ve talked with; I love that there are so many parents and teachers involved in their kid’s educational well being. Seeing how I’ll be one of those parents soon enough, I appreciate all the candidates and cast my vote for the people I think will do the best job representing our school’s needs.

Ok, now to the really crazy news. We have new tenants on the ranch. Well, one was here but it’s just recently that we realized that it was male. Lemme explain:

When we replaced the hens from the Summer Sadness that happened in their old coop, I let the salesperson at Tractor Supply pick out the chicks. They have this magical time of the year for Crazy Cluck Lovers like me who want chicks for cuteness, bug control, and a sustainable food source. It’s called Chick Days and it’s more important to me than Girl Scout Cookies. Just kidding, I love those dang cookies and need someone to ship them to me ASAP. I was almost going to go in and just separate the little fluffy butts I wanted but it seemed rude so I said, sure, go ahead and grab a few. We ended up with 4 hens, 1 Cornish Cross (which you read earlier is now in freezer camp), and 1 ROOSTER.

Y’all. I have my crowing, crooning fool singing the song of his people again! He’s not very loud yet having only started crowing last week but I love having a rooster around! Oh! And one of the younger hens has started producing eggs. And possibly Laura, who doesn’t realize she’s retired, is also occasionally dropping breakfast bombs again. So not only do I get 2-3 eggs a day but I’ve also got a rooster to name! In pure Red Lips ‘n Cow Chips style, I asked my awesome friends on Facebook to help name this little guy. He’s a barred rock and has the air of the cool guy on the football team that doesn’t go to parties, he IS the party. The winner was – hands down – Chris S.’s suggestion of Cluck Norris. Thanks, Chris!

Now, the other tenants we gotta talk about. We had to go to a sale and bid on them after looking and watching them for a few hours near a ranch in the even smaller town of Logan, NM. We were supposed to “just look”. That’s always a bad idea because “just looking” shouldn’t include hooking up the trailer and bringing the checkbook. But yet….there we were. Just looking with a trailer and a checkbook and a bidding number. These guys have papers and genetic lineage that should give us a great calving season in the fall. Please welcome our two new Powerline Genetics Bulls! Yes, ladies, and gentlemen, I have finally realized the dream of having bulls. I was ready to call them Sprinkles and Twinkles but decided that since they aren’t rodeo bulls, I should save those names just in case I need them in the future. However, our friend Kalyn G., who literally is cooler than ice on a hot summer’s day suggested Bert and Ernie. It stuck. Thanks, Kalyn!


Zin It to Win It

Um, what? What the haystack does that even mean?

Lemme explain. I love a good deal. I also love lips that don’t smudge on my wine glass. That’s why I sell and wear LipSense. If you have been following my blog, you know these things! You know what else I love? Wine. I admit it, I love a good wine. I’ll take a beer, sure, but good grief – I get bloated and I know that 2 beers will make me gain 2 pounds. I probably have some kind of intolerance to wheat or something but there’s only so much I’ll do about it.

You know what doesn’t make me bloat? Wine.

So when my friend Becky told me about viaOneHope wines, under the direction of a Mondavi, I’m saying “Let’s get this party started!” Then she tells me that each bottle has a cause and I’m thinking “Wait. Not only do I get a good buzz on good wine but I also get to support education, pet adoptions, cancer screenings, even feeding families??? Done. Lemme order.”

The last two posts, I’ve mentioned this great opportunity to be a force of good in the world. Obviously, I’m obsessed. Maybe even more obsessed than my obsession with adding animals to this zoo. (Please don’t tell the chickens). Check out just what kind of impact this company made last year by clicking here.

Me being a lover of deals and wine and getting said deals delivered to my door while simultaneously keeping the UPS, FedEx, and USPS man in business, I decided to join the cause and I’m having an on-line party. First, double check that your state allows us to sell. I know some are coming VERY soon, but some just won’t allow us to sell just yet. That hurts my soul because you really are missing out and I hate to rub it in, but as soon as they do, I’ll let you know. Again, obsessed with getting the world buzzed on goodwill.

Becky just got a RED GLITTER BOTTLE (glitter, people!) that also supports a family’s risk of heart disease. Love a dry white? Try the Pinot Grigio. Maybe buttery white is more your style? There’s a Chardonnay just for you! Want a middle line Rose? We have it! Maybe you’re into Mimosas for Brunch….you need a quality Brut for that. Or maybe you just need a nice gift for a co-worker or tomorrow’s dinner party? Boom. We have gift options. Heck, you can’t decide but you know your stock is low – get a 1/2 case or full case and you’re ready for the next winter storm! Plus, while I have a party open, those 1/2 and full cases are at a discount. Told ya, I love a good deal.

So check out this link to my party, shop around, and definitely check out the party exclusives. It’s a great deal! Obviously, you need to be 21 and over to order and make sure you can receive orders in your state! I’ve included the map…if you’re not on there now, don’t fret. There’s a whole compliance company that works with states to make viaOneHope accessible.





New Year!

Yes, we did it! The sun set on 2016 and we have a whole ‘nother 365 days on this gorgeous planet. The cover picture is a typical New Mexico sunset, by the way. Dirty window, but gorgeous sunset.

I think we actually spent the ENTIRE month of December at home. That hasn’t happened since we moved! Today we’re expecting somewhere around 5-8 inches of snow and we are all impatiently waiting for it. The kid wants to build a snowman, the husband wants to feed the ladies some hay and break ice so he can put his jammies back on, I just got in a good workout and now I’m blogging by a fire so I’m good…it’s the anticipation that makes it all somewhat unbearable! I guess we could get up and clean the house. Maybe tomorrow.

Here are your random updates on the zoo/ranch.

Our Christmas was awesome; not only did we get to watch our little one make her town debut in the Christmas Musical at a local church, she also got a visit from Santa and a new mountain bike! The grandparents (and, of course, the parents) showered her with love and gifts and we just had good one. Apparently, I’m a crazy chicken lady given the gifts I received. And I’m ok with that!

And did I tell you about Christmas Eve dinner? One word: tapas.

Andrea, you’re speaking crazy words again. What’s a tapas? You shouldn’t say words like that in front of a child.

Tapas (pronounced Top-ahs) are, according to Google dictionary, small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. You better believe we had drinks: mostly from my friend’s One Hope collection I raved about in a previous post! Think of it as ordering a bunch of appetizers and sharing them with everyone. We spoiled ourselves with pear, fontina, and caramelized onion flatbread pizza, some kind of spinach mini quiche, pigs in a blanket (totally not a Spanish dish but it’s required at our table), and I made a lavender goat cheese with local honey served with bread. Yeah, I make cheese. Too bad we don’t have a milking cow! Then again, if we did I’d be outside in 6 degree F weather cursing myself for having to milk a cow in the snow.

Right after Christmas is my birthday and it was great! Then we got to celebrate our anniversary on New Year’s Eve. Yes, we are one of those couples that got married on New Year’s Eve, but the way we see it we ALWAYS have a party to attend. And we’ll never forget it! Win win. January 1 didn’t see us slowing down at all. We drove the cattle down from the other pasture to our home pasture. It’s all of *maybe* 3 miles away but I requested that we  take it slow and not make the ladies go faster than they needed to move. If you’ve ever been pregnant or ate too much and had a food baby belly, you understand the need to walk slowly and pace yourself. Anyways, the girls are here and hang out regularly with the horses. The alpacas? They kinda look at them like “What the hay are you?” Meanwhile the alpacas (who grew up in the middle of corn country) look at them like “What is that sound you keep making? Is that a tractor? What ARE those things?” Everyone’s a little confused.

In an effort to get out on a gorgeous day, we decided to make the roof a little prettier on the chicken coop. We went on an adventure to find some scrap sheet metal. In the meantime, we found elk poop (yay for elk!!!) and stopped by the old Model A Ford that was abandoned some time during the Dust Bowl. There’s some gorgeous spots in my “backyard”. The chickens were happy that their previous haphazard tarp was gone. Well, I assume they were because I got TWO EGGS yesterday!!! That’s the most I’ve gotten since this summer!!! (Edit: I’m back down to 1 a day but still, that’s a record for me!) The younger chicks (approximately 5 months now) are super cute and not cuddly at all but they like to peck the dogs and bully the cats. There are some days they deserve it, not gonna lie.

Seriously, that’s about it. I did just watch a herd of about 100 antelope pass by. Every other day, I’m yelling at them “Get off my grass!” and they just look at me. It doesn’t help that my two not-so vicious dogs just watch them pass by like it’s a parade. Sure, they’ll chase the alpacas; the antelope? Not a chance. These dogs have their priorities mixed up.

Here’s some pics from the past week or so. This GORGEOUS quilt was made by our amazing family friend, Joanie, whose daughter just spoke about farm stress on Red River Farm Network. It’s 3 parts and it gives quite the insight on how just about everyone needs to talk about stress factors in their daily lives! Find parts 1, 2, and 3 by clicking on the numbers. They’re quick and easy to listen to – or check out the site. There’s SO MUCH more to agriculture than you’d think! By the way, the cows on the road are my new rush hour traffic and that cow painting is now at my mother-in-law’s house. Black baldies (the type of cow featured) are her favorite.


Baby, it’s (finally) cold outside!

Well, hello, December. You already have dropped temps about a zillion degrees and there was even snow on the ground this morning. Heck, our basketball team had to cancel due to icy roads. While I’m still waiting for these crazy things called “blizzards” that everyone warned me about, I am thankful that we are here and our cows look good and we have hay and cake for them to eat. Not like birthday cake, it’s just compressed feed. More detail in another post because this one is kinda long as it is. Sorry, back to December… Thanks for showing up even though October and November dropped the ball. Ya see, I love December. For starters, it means I can put up my Christmas decor. Then there’s the whole yuletide cheer. People are happy when they’re full and they start their seasonal weight gain on Thanksgiving. Full tummies = happy people. Except for that one old crotchety person we all know who seriously needs to be un-Scrooged. And the warm fires. I LOVE warm fires and it doesn’t make sense to have a warm fire in 83 degrees. But 44? No one bats an eye. Heck, they ask you to put another log on. And since we have literally tons of wood, I can only happily oblige. So, December, I humbly implore you with all the cow chips a girl can muster: don’t screw this up.

So what else have we been up to at the ranch? Well, there was Thanksgiving and what a Thanksgiving! We went the non-traditional route, as is our traditional custom – does that make it traditional? – and got a cabin in Red River. I’m absolutely going to tell you where and how to contact them – click here for the site. We loved it! Clean, in order, and cozy. Both of our moms, us, our daughter, and my mom’s dog all in a 3 bedroom cabin in the woods. Well, not really in the woods because it’s mostly State or National Forest. But, it was near the Red River ski area and that has woody areas. So it’s in the woods. And also a stone’s throw from the lifts and shopping because Red River is small and awesome and I love it.

We enjoyed some well prepped food (cooked it at home, put it in a cooler, drove it on up) and lots of well prepped drinks (boxed wine – Bota Box is a game changer), and tubing on the bunny slope and shopping in the stores. By the way, I put in a photo of my Thanksgiving lip color. I literally had it on about 10am and it didn’t come off until about 10pm. No budge, no mess, no wine glass stains. I just HAD to show you because it was a really pretty color. You need some so follow the link here and order it already. Funny thing is that Taos is really only 45 minutes away so my mom still got her Black Friday shopping in without a hitch. Now the big event for our daughter (well, me too) was seeing the Man in Red. Santa. He was there. I saw him. And Mrs. Claus. She was there, too. She’s awesome. Huge fan of their holiday cheer. And they’re a true power couple! I mean, really: all year long he’s prepping for “his moment” and she’s just cooking away, probably feeding the reindeer, breaking some ice, tending to elves and their labor disputes, paying the bills and putting receipts for feed in Quickbooks and CattleMax (oh wait, that’s me) then she gets all gussied up and hands out candy canes and – let’s be real – we all know she’s the one in charge of the schedule. But she lets him have his day and just smiles and smiles. I bet as soon as Mr. Claus rides off she pours herself a box of Bota and soaks in a tub and listens to ANYTHING but Christmas music.

And just in case you’re wondering, no I don’t ski. Tried it, but I just don’t have that desire to hurl myself down an icy slope on toothpicks on purpose. The one time I tried snowboarding I hit my head on ice trying to get off the chair lift and I was done. If you want me to go skiing, do me a favor and open a tab at the bar. Plop me down and have fun in the freezing temps getting wind burn and I’ll buy the house a round and we can sing Christmas carols on the balcony as you french fry/pizza pie your way down the black diamond. Because no.

Speaking of trees, we found the perfect Christmas Tree. Every year our other somewhat non-traditional tradition is to go into the National Forest and cut down a tree. For $5, they’re yours for the taking! Plus, it helps the National Forest Service with thinning overgrown areas and you get a hike in with the family to enjoy some gorgeous scenery. Or if you’re like me and my husband, you get to pretend you’re a mountain goat and find the perfect tree that happens to be on the steepest hill in the canyon. But, hey, I got in a workout so that counts for something. Plus, no more $60 tree at the big box store! You can save that money or spend it on a fancy lunch or a gift for someone or even Starbucks!

Update on my animals: Dogs are great, cats are spoiled, the pony and horses love each other. I think they all pretend like they’re a little horse family now. Any time we take the pony in just to work with her, the mare gets all upset and paces the fence line and the gelding watches like the husband holding his wife’s purse at the mall as she raids JCPenney. Alpacas still love the wide open space they now have. I have no idea where their poop pile is but I’m sure I’ll find it once spring comes around and there’s a patch of perfectly green grass somewhere. The Guineas now greet us on the front porch EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. Tap tap tap on the window. Sounds cute but it’s really not. At 6:54am, it’s annoying. But they do keep bugs down and I have to remember that. Because right now….

And the chickens.

***Warning: I talk about eventual chicken death. Move on to the funny photos if that disturbs you.***

The chicks have moved in with the older hens. For the most part, they ignore each other. My problem is that one, Baby Lou, is a Cornish cross and he’s a big boy. Like huge. Compared to the other chicks, he’s just…gigantic. The other chicks weigh MAYBE 1.5lbs, while he’s a stout 8 or 9. And he’s so sweet! He actually comes up and wants to be petted, doesn’t flip out when I try to hold him, and pretty much is my favorite chicken ever! But here’s the Debbie Downer part. He’s a meat bird. Ya know the chicken you buy prepackaged at the store? That’s his breed. And I can’t keep him to breed babies because his type doesn’t do so well in the mating department. But I have a heart for my animals, even the ones that we grill in the summer. So I’m putting him on a weight management plan. It won’t stop the inevitable but it will at least slow it down.I kick all the fluffy butts out of the coop and I put the food a little bit away from the water to make him get some exercise. The pecking itself takes some energy, as does the walking back and forth. If it were summer or spring he could forage for bugs but it’s not so we make due. I think the exercise is working. He is much more active every day, he doesn’t tire as easily, meaning he can make about 20 steps before needing a break, and he’s getting sunshine and fresh air. All that is pretty much all I can do for him and as long as he’s not in pain, I’ll keep it up. Most people on my FB Chicken groups (yes, they do exist, don’t be jealous) say that it’s more humane to process/cull/eat him before he has a heart attack or becomes lame, while others say they had Cornish crosses for 2 years before they had to demote them to the stew pot. Now if that got your goose that I’d talk about eating my own chicken, well, I guess ranching isn’t for you. Fact is, it will happen and I have to put it in my head now that, yes, I am eating the meat I raised. However, I know that he was treated extremely well in his short lifetime and, as I took care of him he can now take care of my family by providing a nutritious meal in the future. Really, it’s the circle of life. And it moves us all. Through despair and hope and faith and love. Till we find our place on the path unwinding, it’s the circle, the circle of life.  It’s stuck in your head now, isn’t it? You’re welcome.


Now that we’re all back on the same paragraph, I leave you with our crazy, totally random pictures of the holidays. Y’all be nice out there! Or go eat something. Then go work out because I hate New Year Resolutions. Why resolve later when you can resolve now?  Anyway, Happy Holidays!