Category Archives: Ranch Happenings

Horses Need Dentists Too!!

I grew up around horses. I don’t come close to knowing everything there is to know about them, but I have always felt adequately informed….until about two weeks ago. For some time I’ve been thinking about getting an equine dentist out here to check out all of our boys. I’m embarrassed to say that it’s been two years since we’ve seen an equine dentist and even then it was only a couple of our horses. There were a few “signs” that made me think we needed one (the way Doc tilts his head when he eats grain and experiences bit pressure, age on some of our horses, lack of dental care, etc.). Time just seems to pass so quickly and we are always busy out here on the ranch. In other words, I didn’t get it done as soon as I’d hoped to. Well, I finally found a guy who came highly recommended from several friends. He and his wife came out and spent the day at our place. Boy, did I get an education!

This equine dentist (who prefers to remain nameless, but if you want to know who he is just email me or give me a call and I’ll be glad to refer you) went above and beyond to ensure that we were informed and involved in the entire process from start to finish. This in itself was something new to me. Besides being an overall genuine guy, I found out that our equine dentist went through extensive schooling in Texas for several years and that he has worked on over 5,000 horses so far. He takes his trade very seriously and he is very professional. I felt confident that I had chosen the right man to trust our horses with and the fact that his wife works with him throughout the entire process is an added bonus. We were encouraged to stick around during the entire procedure, which for 11 horses was about 11 hours straight through. We got to feel inside each of our horse’s mouths before and after. I can’t even tell you how much each mouth was transformed! The fact that we were included in the entire journey of correcting tooth development errors was an epiphany to me and it made all the difference in my understanding of the importance of equine dentistry.

First up was my best horse, Doc. If you know me at all you know how much Doc means to me….enough said.

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I’ve been having some issues with him in the sorting pen and watching him eat made me worry for him. Well, after I felt in his mouth I knew why. His teeth were horrible….and his inner cheeks were all rubbed raw! I felt like the worst horse owner in history. I even got teary-eyed over it. We don’t baby our horses per se…..we let them be horses, but how I didn’t catch this earlier really caused me some distress. I decided right then and there that I was going to sit up and pay attention to the smaller details of our horses from then on. I will definitely never let our horses be in that position again.

The equine dentist was telling me how there are certain signs a horse can give you on the outside of his body about his dental health. One of those signs was big on Doc. His temporalis muscle (located in his forehead) was completely out of whack. It was longer and puffier on one side.

Doc Temporalis Muscle

Once we got inside his mouth it was evident what was going on. One side of his mouth was overcompensating for the other because his teeth were being ground off unevenly (causing the insides of his cheeks to be rubbed raw). When I first felt in his mouth it almost felt like I was feeling a tiger’s teeth….sharp and jagged.

Doc Dental Exam

Doc Dental Exam 2

Doc Straighten Top Teeth

Doc Straighten Lower Teeth

After the process was over, it felt like a smooth stone where those jagged points had been. It didn’t take long for Doc to be on the road to a healthier mouth with even teeth thanks to our equine dentist. Doc needed a little time to let his inner cheeks heal up, but within a few days I couldn’t even tell he had a problem in those areas!

We worked our way through 11 head of horses that day (ranging from 5 years old on up to 25). Dollar was the youngest patient of the day….he’s a big boy at only 5 years old!

Dollar Dental Exam

Each one was interesting with completely different areas needing help. I learned that horse’s teeth continue to grow until they are around 17-19 years old. I also learned that it is really important for younger horses (2-4 years old) to see an equine dentist and that it can make all the difference in their tooth development and future health at that stage in their lives.

The biggest shock we got was on Shane’s best guy and my back up horse, Shotgun. Here he is:

Shotgun Dental Exam 2

He is only 8 years old so I really didn’t expect any problems. Was I ever wrong! His lower #11’s (way back bottom teeth…or molars as we might call them) were the biggest (longest) the equine dentist had ever seen….in over 5,000 horses! See those long buggers way back there?!

Shotgun Dental Exam

He was absolutely shocked and amazed at what he found back there! We all felt in Shotgun’s mouth and couldn’t believe it at all. Once the dentist explained to us what Shotgun had been going through we could see the signs (hard to keep weight on him, lackluster hair in several small places, etc.). He had a very low grade infection because of these teeth and you would have never known it to look at him or in his mannerisms. Shane felt absolutely horrible about it as did I. The dentist said not to worry and that he would be right as rain in just a few days. He fixed those teeth and you know what, Shotgun looked like a new horse the very next day. In fact, I think he even kicked over his head a few times when we weren’t looking! This was yet another lesson to me on why equine dentistry is so important.

At the end of that long day, I wrote a fairly large check to the equine dentist…and I did it with a smile and a sense of accomplishment. I learned more about our horses in that day than I ever hoped to. We were treated like friends, students, and confidants all day long. The kids (my son and my nephew) even got to see what horse teeth look like (the equine dentist had a few from a previous removal). They were fascinated and each got to keep a tooth or two (that was highlight of their day)! Here is one of their treasures….err, I mean horses teeth. 🙂

Horse Tooth

Throughout the day, we were informed of why it’s important to keep up on your horse’s dental health (and it wasn’t a sales pitch). Perhaps if this fellow would have come in here and preached about spending up to $200 per horse every 6 months without taking time to inform us and including us in the process I may have felt like a lot of folks do. I’ve heard comments from various people. Things like: “older horses are the only ones who need to be floated” or “unless there is a definite problem, I don’t use those dentists” or “holy cow, that’s a lot of money to spend on your horses” or “I only take them in once a year if that”. I can tell you this; if you think $200 is a lot to spend on your horse then you must not think very highly of him/her. That may seem blunt, but here’s why I say that. Good horses are hard to find. So when you have some good horses a couple hundred dollars isn’t even a thought…is it?! I kind of compare that to this way of thinking: “I don’t use my horse much so I don’t shoe him….I just let the ground break off his hooves…he seems fine….when I need him I’ll just trim him up and lope off”. I guess that might work for some folks, but it just doesn’t work for me. I am happy with my decision to better my horses through their dental health. If you haven’t had your horses to a dentist lately, I highly suggest you do so. Look into equine dentists. Ask around to find a good one. We all prefer certain things about certain people. To me, it’s most important that folks be educated on what they do, passionate about it, considerate, and that they communicate with me. I know that I found the right equine dentist for us because he fits all of those categories. Your requirements might be different than mine. Nonetheless, get your horses on a good dental program. You will be so glad you did….and so will they!

Horse Happy Teeth

Oh and by the way, Doc and I just went to a weekend of women’s ranch rodeos in Hyannis, NE. He worked better than he has all year. We successfully sorted and roped every critter we came up against and he did so willingly without shaking his head or putting his nose up in the air to escape the pressure of the bit. How’s that for results?

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Plus, Turkey Track Livestock (my team) qualified for the WRRA world finals!

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I’m sold on equine dentistry, that’s for sure!

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Joan’s Marinated Cucumbers

I must be sick…..I’m sitting down to blog for the second time in one day! I have had difficulty blogging twice per month and now look at me go! 🙂 I’m going to hold off on publishing this until tomorrow (Monday) so I don’t overdo it today. Ha!

I’m listening to my son and his cousins arguing and playing….playing and arguing. Perhaps it’s the same thing?! 🙂 At any rate, it’s nice having them here. We don’t get to see them as often as we would like to. My brother took time to help me with Doc this morning. As most of you know, Doc is THE horse in my life who changed everything. I love him more than any other horse we own….he is my baby. Last weekend at the Cowgirl Swank Classic I wasn’t happy with our performance (meaning me and my horse). It seemed like Doc was out in left field….and I was there right with him. Roping is mostly on me (the misses and the catches), but even that seemed off. When I first bought Doc his previous owners were using a hackamore on him. Nothing against hackamores, but I feel like I don’t have much side pull in one of those so we’ve tried several different bits on him. A person needs side pull when you are learning to sort cows. The one he likes the best is the one made by Keith Welling from Crawford, NE. It has a broken mouth piece with a little lifesaver in it. It also swivels on the sides so it gives me some side pull without being all sidepull and no whoa. Anyway, Wyatt looked at several bits I have and decided that is the one I should use on him. I didn’t want to go back to using a snaffle so I was happy with his decision.

We spent over an hour at the arena. He talked to me a lot about the concept in working cows and how to achieve the job. Mind you, this is working cows in the arena….not on on the range. There is a difference. The concept is the same, but the handle is a lot different in certain ways. The end result is that you want to get ahead of the critter and turn it back. This is best done when your horse responds to you, slows up, and turns efficiently (a horse who watches a cow is also beneficial). Doc was not turning efficiently last weekend. His nose was up in the air…..I was double-reining him…..we both looked like it was our first rodeo. So…….I asked for help……and I got it. At the end of our training session I left the arena with a deeper understanding of what I’m trying to do with my horse. Doc left with a wet saddle blanket and the thought that he was surely close to death. I smile when I say that….Doc is a little melodramatic and I baby him….what should I expect? The truth is…..he did what I asked of him…..he did what Wyatt asked of him when he crawled on him. Doc is a tad on the lazy side, but I would rather have that than a horse who is jittered up and not trustworthy. I love my horse…..so in my opinion, he is perfect for me. We have work to do….both of us. I’m not above asking for help either…..I know I don’t know everything and that I can learn from those around me who know more. I’m really glad Wyatt took time to help me today! Here are a few pics of Wyatt showing Doc how to get the job done:

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Wheat harvest is finishing up today at our place. We are so glad to have it done and fortunate to not have had any hail. Wheat prices are down, but it’s all good. Here is a picture I captured of the two combines cutting one of our last fields yesterday. It’s amazing how these big machines gobble up all that wheat!

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Here is what the Slim Buttes looked like today after all the wheat was harvested:

Harvest Pic

I truly feel fortunate to live in such a beautiful place (despite it’s shortcomings in the good road/good water department)! It’s been a really good year so far…..we are truly blessed.  🙂

It’s been pretty hot and dry for the last week or so. Perfect cucumber weather if you ask me! That brings me to a recipe that Mom and I got from our neighbor, Joan Bolln. I’ve named it Joan’s Marinated Cucumbers. I don’t think it had an official name……so I gave it one. We’ve been making a variation of this recipe for years. I think Joan captured the perfect amount of each ingredient to make it taste the best. Give it a try and see what you think!

Joan’s Marinated Cucumbers

  • 3 Cucumbers, sliced
  • ½ an onion, diced
  • 1 c. Miracle Whip
  • ½ c. Sugar
  • Vinegar to taste
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Combine the last four ingredients making sure to taste it. If more of one or two ingredients are needed, add them.

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I prefer my cucumbers to be a bit tangy so I use a tad more vinegar, but the end result is totally up to you. Add in the cucumbers and the onions. Mix it up really well.

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You can eat these right away or refrigerate for a day. I think letting them sit for a day in the fridge makes them better, but that’s just my opinion. I love this side dish…..oh who am I kidding…..I take the top off and eat them right out of the dish…..most any time of the day! 🙂 Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Spaghetti Pizza

Wow….it’s been a busy couple of weeks around here. It is summer after all…..being busy shouldn’t surprise me, but I feel kind of like I got ambushed. It’s now Sunday after the Cowgirl Swank Classic and I’m just now feeling back to normal. A few days in 100 degree heat will definitely wear a person out!

The Cowgirl Swank Classic was a success again this year. We had 13 teams of ladies competing in the 5 standard WRRA (Women’s Ranch Rodeo Association) events:  Sorting, Doctoring, Trailer Loading, Tie Down/Mugging, and Calf Branding. It was definitely a memorable rodeo  weekend!

I’ve been struggling with fatigue this week plus Stone got sick. I ended up taking him to Rapid City to the doctor. Turns out he had double ear infections! I consider us lucky that he is almost 6 years old and this is his first run-in with that icky stuff. Of course he came down sick the day Western Horseman planned to come down to our place to interview me and take pictures for their segment “Women of the West”. I couldn’t believe my luck. However, it ended up working out. The gals from WH were super to work with. We improvised and met at the fairgrounds in Rapid City instead. It wasn’t what I envisioned for the interview (I didn’t get to show them our place and Doc didn’t get to be in the pictures), but all in all…..it was great! I was so honored to be interviewed and to spend some time with them. They may end up coming back up sometime and then they will make it out to our place hopefully.

We are finishing up our wheat harvest here. Shane has been helping out as much as possible so I haven’t seen him much the past few days. My brother and his two boys came yesterday so Stone is getting some good cousin time in. Wyatt (my brother) is going to help me with Doc in a bit. I’ve been practicing sorting steers. I didn’t feel we did that great last weekend in that event so I can use all the help I can get. Wyatt is involved in Reined Cow Horse events so he knows more about that aspect than anyone I know around here. I’m glad for his advice.

As far as cooking…..this summer has been difficult. It’s been long days and late nights. I made Pasta and Beef with Whiskey Cream Sauce at 10 pm the other night. I’m not a lover of frozen pizza and things like that so I figured I may as well make something good…..plus we’ve had leftovers for two days now (not Shane’s favorite thing, but even he hasn’t complained…..we are busy)!

A couple of weeks ago I made Spaghetti Pizza and I’ve had it on my list to blog about. I’ve made this recipe since high school. In fact, I make it from memory. I’ve never had a written recipe that I know of. Typing this out for you all is proving to be a challenge, but here goes:

Spaghetti Pizza

  • 1 ½ lbs. ground beef
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 TB Oregano
  • 1 TB Basil
  • 1 TB Italian Seasoning
  • 1 TB Seasoning Salt
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 jar of Spaghetti Sauce (or make your own as I do. I use Tomato Sauce, Diced Tomatoes, Red Wine, Sugar, and Italian Seasonings)
  • Spaghetti, cooked
  • Pepperoni, sliced
  • Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
  • Parsley

Bring water to a boil and cook Spaghetti. I use about two handfuls (sorry I’m not more specific, but that’s how I handle spaghetti). Brown the ground beef. Add onion and seasonings as it is browning (adding more seasonings if necessary). Drain the grease off. When the spaghetti is done al dente, drain the water. Spray a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. Place the cooked spaghetti in the bottom of the pan.

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Make sure that it covers the bottom and fills the pan up about ¼ of the way. Next add the ground beef making sure all the spaghetti is covered. Pour the Spaghetti Sauce over the meat. You can also mix the meat in with the sauce before you put it on the Spaghetti (I did it this way this time).

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Layer the top of the Spaghetti Sauce with Pepperoni.

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Use as much Pepperoni as you like (I put it on pretty thick). Next cover the dish with shredded Mozzarella Cheese.

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Sprinkle some Parsley one for color. Put the pan in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and it starts to turn brown. Remove from the oven. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into squares and serve.

Spaghetti Pizza

This dish is delicious and it truly gets better as it sits. I’ve made it using half ground beef and half ground pork sausage. I’ve also made it using various “pizza” toppings. Any way you make it…..it’s super! I hope you give it a try! ~Cheyenne

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce & A Magazine Cover

It’s almost the middle of July already….holy cow!! It’s just crazy how fast time goes by. I swear June flew by and I barely remember it at all…..no kidding!

My family and I had a busy 4th of July and that was rolled into my birthday on the 7th. I’ve always loved the 4th of July holiday because I felt like I got extra celebrating in for my birthday. The day after my birthday is also great because it’s the day my mom was born. If she could have held out a couple more hours we would have shared a day. I always tell her what a great birthday present I must have been….she just rolls her eyes at me. 🙂

I had a great few days of birthday celebration starting on the 2nd. We went to a kids rodeo in Crawford (it’s such a treat to see my son and the other youngsters learning the competition ropes in the arena). The 3rd and 4th of July we helped out at the Old West Trail Rodeo in Crawford. I helped distribute flags to the queens for the sponsor runs. If you have no idea what I am talking about you may want to pay attention. I actually kind of thought “how hard can it be…..all I have to do is hand flags to the queens”. Yeah, right…..you have to hand the right flag to the right queen at the right time…..throughout the entire rodeo. When they do the sponsor run (all flags out) it is like a war zone. I can’t remember the exact count, but there are something like 25 flags or so…..it’s just crazy! It went well through because I got to work with two great gals so that made it easier. Shane ran the roping chute during the rodeo. That’s not an easy job either…..you must pay very close attention to the roper nodding his head. He also helped all through the slack on the night of the 3rd after the rodeo and helped feed the stock. He got to our trailer and went to bed at 3 am! During the day of the 4th we were in the parade promoting the Cowgirl Swank Classic – Women’s Ranch Rodeo. It is coming up on the 19th and 20th so I’ve also been really busy planning it. After the parade we went to Fort Robinson to tour the grounds and stables. We also checked out the art exhibit there. What a great place that is! We had a fun few days, but we were worn out by the night of the 4th (we got home at 2 am).

Also, on the 3rd I was surprised and thrilled to be featured in Real American Cowboys Magazine. Not only was I the feature store, but I was on the cover!!! My hopes of being a cover model have no been fulfilled (j/k). 🙂 Here it all is:

Picture Quality RACM Cover

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Katie Barlett, who is originally from Australia, but now resides in Texas wrote the article. She did a great job! As thrilling as it was to be on the cover I doubt that Cosmo will be calling anytime soon. 🙂

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been busy planning our upcoming women’s ranch rodeo. If you’ve never put on a rodeo before, it’s unbelievable the amount of work that goes into it. I certainly couldn’t do it alone. I’m very thankful for good friends to help me put on a great weekend. If you want to check it out, here is our website:  www.cowgirlswankclassic.com.

Even though I have been busy with all sorts of things, I decided yesterday to make a cake I had seen the day before on Facebook:  Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce. How yummy does that sound?! Without further ado, here it is:

Apple Cake with Vanilla Sauce

For Apple cake

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 large apples, cored and grated
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional- I leave them out)

For Vanilla Sauce (Makes 3/4 cup.)
•1 cup water
•1/2 cup sugar
•1 tablespoon cornstarch
•2 tablespoons butter
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
•pinch salt

Apple Cake Directions

Cream together sugar and butter. Add eggs one at time.

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Add grated apples.

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Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in half of flour mixture stir in until incorporated, add second half and still until just mixed. (I stir in the flour by hand to avoid over-mixing.)

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Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish.

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Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. (less if you bake convection)

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Vanilla Sauce Directions

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan. Combine sugar and cornstarch, blend well. Add sugar and cornstarch mixture to boiling water; reduce heat to medium, stirring constantly, and cook until thickened.

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Remove from heat and add the butter, vanilla, and salt, stirring until butter is melted.

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Spoon over dessert Enjoy!

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How was it? Amazing!!! I let the cake cool quite a bit then I made the sauce to put over the top…..YUM!!! Hope you give it a whirl…it’s going in my recipe box as a keeper (great way to use up apples when needed)! ~Cheyenne

 

Flathead Cherry Pie

I posted a picture of my finished pie on my Facebook page this morning and said something about the kind of cherries I used to make it.

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I was asked what “Flathead Cherries” were. Being from Montana, I just assumed that everyone knew what they were….wrong! Flathead cherries grown near Flathead Lake in the western part of Montana. They are amazing!!!

In my last blog post, I mentioned how I wasn’t able to go to my cousin’s wedding in Washington last weekend. I still regret not being able to go. My mom brightened my day by bringing home a whole bunch of Flathead cherries. She gave a bunch to me and we talked about what to make. Here is some of what I started with:

Cherries

I thought I would make some jelly….maybe a tart….maybe some turnovers. Then our friends decided to come out last evening to visit. I planned supper and the idea hit me to make a “fresh” cherry pie (something I have never done before). I researched a few recipes online, but eventually made my own up by combining a few.

The biggest thing to worry about when working with fresh cherries is removing the pits. Almost 10 years ago I somehow acquired a Pampered Chef Cherry Pitter. It was probably when I was a consultant for the company….who knows, but I remembered that I had it and thought it would come in handy. Boy, did it ever!!! That is one of the handiest tools ever! Shane helped me by taking a picture of the before and after process:

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Easy as “pie” (excuse the expression)! 🙂

That little tool seriously make pitting 5 cups of cherries seem like a breeze! Even Stone pitted a bunch of cherries….to a 5-year-old, it was FUN! 🙂

So, onto my recipe. Basically, it was a breeze! Here it is:

Flathead Cherry Pie

  • Your favorite pie crust for a 2 crust pie
  • 5 cups of fresh Flathead Cherries (use whatever fresh cherries you like)
  • 1 ½ cups of granulated Sugar
  • 4 TB Cornstarch
  • 1-2 tsp. Almond Extract
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 ½ TB Butter, to dot
  • The white of one egg, beaten slightly
  • 1 TB granulated Sugar, to sprinkle

Place cherries in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Cover.

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After the cherries lost considerable juice, which takes a few minutes (be sure to stir frequently), remove from heat. I smashed them down a bit too so that there would be some whole cherries and some not. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cornstarch together. Pour this mixture into the hot cherries and mix well. Add the almond extract and vanilla and mix.

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Return the mixture to the stove and cook over low heat until thickened, stirring frequently.

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Remove from the heat and let cool. If the filling is too thick, add a little water, too thin, add a little more cornstarch. *I ended up adding almost 2-3 TB of cornstarch as the cherries were really runny.*

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Use your favorite pie dough recipe. Prepare your crust. Divide in half. Roll out each piece large enough to fit into an 8 to 9-inch pan.

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Pour cooled cherry mixture into the crust.

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Dot with butter. Moisten edge of bottom crust. Place top crust on and flute the edge of the pie. Make a slit in the middle of the crust for steam to escape. Instead of doing that I decided to do some star cutouts in my top crust before I put it on the pie (it’s so close to the 4th of July that I couldn’t resist!). Brush with egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake about 50 minutes (or longer). Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool. Here is my beauty:

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It was out of this world!! I made Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce for supper complete with a salad and cheesy garlic bread. We didn’t get to the pie till 9 pm because we were all so full! 🙂

Jody made a new drink early in the evening. It’s called a Firefighter and holy cow was it yummy! It consists of Cinnamon Whiskey, Kahlua, Cream, and Coke. Doesn’t it “look” innocent?!

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I only had one…..that was by far enough…..good thing supper only had to be put in the oven or we might have had chips and dip for supper. YUM!!!!

The boys are getting along famously….check this out:

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The great white hunters were off to trap frogs….or coyotes….or rabbits….who knows…..they were having a blast! 🙂 Travon is visiting us for a few days with his horse Mindy. We are helping him with her. This is the kind of stuff that my husband thrives on…he loves kids and loves seeing them conquer goals. Travon is a great kid! It’s so nice to have an older boy around for Stone to learn from….it’s amazing the things that he picks up. Since Travon is an only child too it works out nicely. We are practicing up for the kids rodeo in Crawford on the 2nd of July. Summer truly is the best season if you ask me. Hope you try the pie recipe….if you do nothing else, try to get your hands on some of those Flathead Cherries…..you’ll be glad you did! 🙂 ~Cheyenne

My Mom – My Hero

I woke up to rain this morning and not the dreaded snow I figured might be here (no branding for us today either). I can’t celebrate yet though as I’ve heard there is snow all around us so I’m sure we will see some before the day is done. Let’s just say that there will be lots of green grass around here soon and I am very thankful for that!

Today is Mother’s Day so I am going to pay tribute to my mom. I wrote an article about her a few weeks ago and I’m sharing it with you. Here goes:

Easter is now over and Mother’s Day is quickly approaching. I’ve always enjoyed this holiday of sorts as it was the perfect time to let my mom know just how much I love and admire her. Now that I’m a mother, I love the day even more. When we lived in Montana, Mother’s Day was usually spent at the horse races in Miles City. Those were such fun Sunday afternoons and I sure do miss them.

The last five years or so our branding has been held on Mother’s Day. I’m not really sure how this happened, but it did and it has stuck. On one hand a gal may be upset to have to work so hard on “her” day, but we ranch gals look at it differently. Aside from shipping our calves, branding is one of the most important days of the year on the ranch. It’s a day to appreciate the fruits of our labors over the long cold winter months. It is truly heartwarming to see all the cows and calves bunched up together. That sight is a true testament to all the winter feeding, chopping ice, checking during calving, and all the prayers we say when Mother Nature throws a fit during the spring months (calving season). It’s a time to gather with friends and neighbors, work hard to get the task completed, share a great meal, and then shoot the heck out of things. That last statement is a fun one. After our branding, we have a skeet shooting marathon. It’s a blast….literally!

My mom and I work together to accomplish many things on the ranch (branding dinner is a big one). I’ve been planning our upcoming day for the past week by ordering vaccine, taking inventory on our branding supplies, and planning our menu. As I was thinking about my mom and what role she will play this year, I remembered something that brought a smile to my face. I owe her my life on more than one occasion. No joke!

It was June 1999. I was home helping my mom and dad back on the ranch in Montana on Cherry Creek. We had gone to the Harms place to do a bunch of riding and check on the cattle. Foot rot was prevalent that year so we brought doctoring supplies in case we needed them. During our riding we came upon a cow and calf. The cow was pretty crippled up with foot rot, but we managed to trail them to a set of corrals we had there. The plan was to rope the cow, tail her down, and then give her a big dose of LA 300. It’s funny how plans sound so direct, so doable, and so easy. I can honestly say that most of the plans around here never go….as planned!

 I can’t remember now why, but my dad had to rope on the horse my mom was riding. If any of you know my mom (Lila Glade) you know that she was a top barrel racer in her day. She won the circuit in Montana and competed at the NFR in Oklahoma City in 1976. She trained many barrel horses, which is why I did so good in the barrels and poles in youth and high school rodeo. Well, my mom rode a barrel saddle. Dad often told her that she should ride a roping saddle, but that just wasn’t for her. She wasn’t a roper! So, imagine my dad climbing on her horse…..into her barrel saddle, which had no rubber on the horn. I’m not sure why we proceeded at this point, but we did. The cow was quite feverish so we knew we had to get this job done as quickly as possible….or suffer the consequences. Luckily, my dad is one heck of a roper. The first loop he threw he caught the cow by a leg. Not being faint of heart, I jumped in and began to tail the cow down. I can’t remember if I got her down or not, but I do remember that my dad started yelling to get the heck out of there. With no rubber on the saddle horn, the rope started to slip as the cow fought. He did what we could, but he couldn’t keep his dally. The cow got up and she was MAD!!! Of course, the pen we were in was a big one. I took off for the fence, but as luck would have it I had worn my slick Roper boots that day. There was a bunch of milk weed growing in the pen. As I scuffled backwards trying to get turned around to run for the fence I slipped and fell flat on my butt. I looked up just in time to see the cow charging towards me. I swear she hesitated, leaped in the air, and pounced right on me (she may have even snickered a bit). She landed hard right on my left shin and my right inner thigh. She rolled me good. I remember thinking it was the end. I was yelling and hollering and choking for air at the same time. When I came to my senses I realized I was only about 20 feet from the fence. I clamored to get up and get to safety, but just as I did here she came for round 2. Holy cow….she was within three feet of me when this bright color went flashing in front of her face. She veered off and ran to the opposite side of the pen where her calf was. I limped over to the fence and tried to catch my breath. Dad rode over to make sure I wasn’t missing a limb or bleeding internally….he said, “Yell a little and the pain will go away.” We half-laughed about what he had said. It’s something we always say when someone is hurt, but not hurt really bad at our place. My Grandpa Art was famous for saying that in all kinds of situations. It has provided comic relief at just the right moment for many years around here. As we talked about what had happened it dawned on me that the bright color I had seen wasn’t my life flashing before my eyes….it was my mom’s coat! She had bravely run up there and waved it in front of that crazy cow’s face. Imagine my surprise that my mom was secretly an amazing bull fighter! I don’t know how she got the gumption to get that close to the cow, but to this day I am ever so thankful that she did. I could have suffered some serious damage if she hadn’t intervened.

Eventually, we got the cow doctored and I managed to work the rest of the day. The next morning I woke up to a purple egg on my shin and an even uglier sight on my inner thigh. To this day, I can’t feel part of my shin. I guess that old cow got the last laugh on me in a way. Over the years, I have acquired quite a few scars and pains that I feel frequently, but each one of them has a story. Maybe that’s why we have them….so we won’t forget. I definitely will never forget that day in June and what I learned. I learned just what a mom will do for her offspring (human or otherwise). I will never forget my close call or the fact that my mom is my hero….then and today. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and to all of the other moms out there! I hope you enjoy this special day that celebrates just how amazing we all are!

Here we are together back in 2007:

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My mom loves her horses and it shows!

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My mom has accomplished some awesome things in her life!

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She is a great mom and a wonderful grandmother too. Yep, she’s my hero….what more can I say! Love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day! ~Cheyenne

Mexican Steak Skillet – And More Winter!!

It’s amazing how this spring has kind of put a hamper on my blogging. In a perfect world, I would get to sit down every morning and blog away. However, I live in reality so this is the way it is! It makes me that much more thankful and appreciative when I do get to sit down to write. 🙂

I’ve had quite the week. I felt a bit strange about a week and a half ago, but I didn’t think much about it. A couple of dizzy spells and upset stomach, but nothing major. Last Friday (May 2nd) rolled around and holy cow……I was in a bad way. I let things go until Saturday morning (the day my folks were branding) mostly because I was hoping it would go away and I didn’t want to pay for emergency room fees. Well, the pain didn’t go away…it got worse. So Saturday morning I ambled into the walk-in clinic in Chadron, which is 30 miles from our house. It was determined that I had a severe bladder infection.

I haven’t had a bladder infection in well over 10 years and when I did have one it never felt like this, but I’m not a doctor so who was I to question their diagnosis. Well, things didn’t get much better. I trudged around in sweats all weekend and Monday. I was hopeful that the meds were just taking their sweet time. Tuesday morning I woke up in worse shape than ever so I decided it was time to change doctors and go to the gal we normally do (she was unavailable over the weekend). So, off I went. Much to my surprise I didn’t have a bladder infection….and I never did! How can a clinic misdiagnose something so simple? Hmmmm…..well, whatever. I found myself in the middle of an exam and then a CT Scan. Have you ever had to drink the Barium they give you so they can see your organs during a scan? If you haven’t thank your lucky stars. UGH!!!!!!! After the tests were completed I was informed that I had just been through an Ovarian Cyst rupture. Unbelievable!! The pain was excruciating….and quite odd! No symptoms existed except a lot of pain and pressure down below. How crazy! Well, thanks to our lady doctor, she got to the bottom of it and I’m now almost back to normal.

We have been going through some harsh weather conditions as of the last two weeks also. In that regard I’m a bit thankful as I didn’t have to beg to be in the house on bedrest…..it was a given with our lovely gumbo out here. In the past two weeks, we’ve had around 6″ of rain and close to 12″ of snow (it didn’t accumulate much). I’m sure you can imagine the run off around here. Our creeks are out of their banks and it’s roaring! We went without power for over 7 hours on Wednesday. Shane had to go haul the lineman in so we could get the lines back up. He even helped them finish the job. What a guy!

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Doc and the other horses weren’t amused by the storm.

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Check out all of the water!

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We are thankful for the moisture! I am a bit irritated at Mother Nature though and I will admit it. Tomorrow was supposed to be our branding day, but due to her temper it has to be rescheduled to Wednesday. After looking at the forecast, it may need to be moved again! Frustrating, but nothing we can’t handle! We are under a Winter Storm Watch tonight….again…..I can’t believe it (it’s May for crying out loud)!! I’m not happy about it, but what can I do? I guess pray that it isn’t severe and that all of those baby calves and their mamas hunker down out of it until it passes. I know that this too shall pass (as my Gram used to say). It’s sometimes hard to remember that when you are in the middle of things. One thing to look forward to is LOTS of green grass and fat calves this fall. Our reward for enduring the difficulties.

Onto other things…..I do finally feel well enough to be back in the kitchen at least! Here is what I made last night and it was yummy!!

Mexican Steak Skillet

Ingredients

  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 2 cups Minute Rice
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 can Rotel Diced Green Chilies And Tomatoes (10 Ounce Can)
  • 1 can Diced Tomatoes (14.5 Ounce Can)
  • 2 cups Chicken Broth (more If Needed)
  • 2 teaspoons Cumin (more To Taste)
  • Salt & Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons Oregano
  • Steak (cut into thin bite-sized pieces) – *whatever amount you want – pre-cooked
  • 2 cups of Mexican Cheese (or whatever cheese you like) – shredded

Preparation Instructions

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 3 to 4 minutes.

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Reduce heat to low and add rice and garlic. Stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn’t burn. Cook over low heat for 3 or 4 minutes. Add Ro-tel and tomatoes. Stir to combine and let cook for 2 minutes.

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Finally, add broth and stir together. Add some salt/pepper and the cumin, cilantro, and oregano. Bring to a boil.

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Add the sliced up steak pieces and mix it all up. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 to 15 additional minutes or until rice is done.

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Add more liquid as needed; rice shouldn’t be sticky. Top with cheese, stir to ensure it is all mixed.

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When melted, serve immediately.

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Top with fresh chopped cilantro is you want to (or dried cilantro….it’s all I had…don’t judge!) 🙂

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Give this recipe a whirl….it makes quite a bit so we are having it for lunch today. Enjoy!! ~Cheyenne