Tag Archives: Calving

Working Hard & Loving It!!!

Wow……I’m turning into a stranger, aren’t I?! When I started blogging in January I knew there would be times that I wouldn’t be able to blog every other day like I originally planned too, but this is getting crazy! Calving season hit and now it’s turning into branding season. You may not hear from me until October at this rate! πŸ™‚

I’m not complaining about being busy……I’m actually relishing in it. I’ve had more time at home with my family this spring than I’ve had in ages. I’m loving every minute of it (well, maybe not every minute, but the good far outweighs those times that are trying). Calving has been going well and our calves and cows look good. We are keeping a close eye on them to guard against scours or overeating, which we have heard has been prevalent around us this spring. Nothing pains me more than to calve out and then loose some calves to illness. I think it’s preventable if you keep a close watch so that’s what my main focus is right now.

We just finished Easter break. It was a great time! I hope you all enjoyed time with family and friends as well. Shane’s folks and two of our nephews came down from Montana. We had 4 days filled with visiting and fit in a few tasks a well. My father-in-law graciously made the 6 sawhorses I need for the upcoming Walt Woodard clinic that Shane and I are putting on in May in Chadron. Bless his heart! Shane doesn’t have a lot of time for honey-do projects right now so I’m thankful however they can get done. We also put up Stone’s new trampoline over the weekend. He loves it and jumped until his stomach hurt. πŸ™‚

Easter Sunday dinner was wonderful. My folks came over as well. It was a wonderful meal full of family….doesn’t get much better than that! I even managed to pull out the china that my late Grandma June left me. It was fitting to use it for our Sunday dinner along with the silver she left me as well. Today marks two years since she went to heaven. I miss her so……it felt like she was with me during dinner and today…..we had a gorgeous sunrise and then a rain shower. Gram was smiling from heaven…..I just know it!

Shane and I also become an Uncle and an Aunt again today….on Earth day! Shane’s sister had a little boy. He is welcomed by his three bigger brothers and his dad. I can’t wait to meet him! Stone is excited to see his new little cousin as well. He is enamored by babies…..and he knows we won’t be having one here so he is happy that he has a new cousin. πŸ™‚

We are getting ready to brand in a couple of weeks and we’ve been cleaning up around here as well. Fencing has taken on a new meaning. We had a lot of crossings go out with the three major runoff events this spring so we have much work to do…..never a dull moment around here. I haven’t had much time in the kitchen for new things, but rest assured……I’ll be back at it soon. I hope all of you are enjoying the spring weather that finally decided to show up. I know I am!! ~Cheyenne

Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce

Oh my gosh, where does the time go?! I’ve been pretty committed to blogging every other day or so and then April hit….holy cow! I’m barely able to fit in once or twice per week……please bear with me!

I am in charge of checking the cows every morning, which I enjoy immensely! I compared checking calves earlier this week to looking for Easter eggs….they are everywhere…..and sometimes hard to find! I count the calves every morning….I like to see how we are progressing. So far,Β  we are half done….exciting!

The other morning while checking the calving pasture I saw something extraordinary……and I hope I can describe it accurately as there was no time for pictures of any sort. The past month of checking on the cows has allowed me to see some really amazing sights. I saw my first batch of 6 coyotes hunting together. I’ve seen 3, 4, and even 5 coyotes packed up together, but never 6!!! It was amazing! They really don’t bother our cow herd that much. We have never lost a calf to a coyote attack as some people will claim they have so I wasn’t too nervous seeing them, but I always keep a watchful eye. If something looks out of order, I take note. I also always pack a gun…..in case of such problems. I’m no Annie Oakley, but I’ve been known to out shoot some of the men around here so……(guess I will pat myself on the back out of their sight!). πŸ™‚

Anyway, I cam onto a flat…..I call it “Baby Flat” because this is where our cows like to hang out with their babies. I looked across the prairie and could see little black flecks everywhere (baby calves). Our cattle are for the most part black angus and black angus cross. We have a few Corriente cows and a few Longhorns….I actually love to see their bright colors every once in awhile (eye candy). As I was checking everything out I happened to look across the flat to the hills. I saw a bunch of cows (30 or 40) acting strangely….running and circling around. As I looked on, I saw one cow in the lead…..and she was charging on. It was while I was checking her out that I discovered she was chasing something….something light colored and quick moving. Holy moly…..she was chasing a coyote…..she was in hot pursuit and not slowing down! No kidding…..she was on that coyote’s heels! She chased it all the way over the hill and kept on going! The cattle were all quite riled up by then so they all followed her. Over the ridge they went and down the hill to the dam. They didn’t stop till they got to the water….this was a trek of about a mile or so. I figured the coyote was long gone but the time I got there…..nope….there he ran….and 5 of his buddies weren’t far off. I decided then that I definitely need to keep my eyes open from then on as to these coyotes. If they become a major problem…..well, we know what happens to major problems to our livestock around here…..enough said.

The next day I searched for the coyotes, but didn’t see a single one….and I haven’t since….maybe that old cow gave that coyote a run for its life. Maybe it decided to go elsewhere and told it’s pack mates the same thing…..maybe…..we’ll see.

With all the busy days on the ranch I haven’t had a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. We’ve been up early….going all day….then eating supper sometimes at 10 pm!! Last night we got home rather late, but I decided to make something new….we deserved it! So, I made the Pioneer Woman’s Three Cheese-Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce. O – M- G……it was too die for!!! Here is the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces, weight Jumbo Pasta Shells
  • 30 ounces, weight Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 ounces, weight Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
  • 1/2 cup Grated Romano Cheese
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 12 leaves Basil, Chiffonade
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 whole Medium Onion, Chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1/2 pound Italian Sausage
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1 whole 28 Ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 whole 15-ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Minced Parsley

Preparation Instructions

Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.

Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.

In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.

To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.

Serve with crusty French bread.

Here are my pictures of my cooking adventure:

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How good was it? My husband (and I) flipped….he rarely gets excited about anything besides steak, but he absolutely loved it!! πŸ™‚ 2 thumbs up, Pioneer Woman…..this is absolutely divine! Give it a whirl and let me know what you think. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Tuscan Roma Pizza

Good Early Morning! I’ve been wide awake since 4 am for some unknown reason…..it’s not like I’m a sleepy-head in the morning, but come on! Guess it’s a good time to get out of bed and blog….so here goes…..

First thing every morning, I get up and go check on our mama cows and their babies out in the calving pasture. I wait until around 8 am to do this so there is good light. I get to see every sunrise….something I look forward to every morning. Most of the time, my camera can never picture the gift that Mother Nature reveals at first light. Here was my attempt yesterday:

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The sun over our good horse trailer made me yearn for warm summer days when we head off to a ranch rodeo…..those days will be here soon!

After a huge cup of coffee, I take off. It works really good for me to go check so Shane can have a bit of a break. He has been night calving (checking on our heifers in our calving lot throughout the night). He gets to take a nap while I go check. Stone is usually still asleep so it works out pretty well. Most days I get back and Shane has breakfast made (bonus!). Here was one of the first scenes I came upon yesterday morning:

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One baby was up and around, but the other one was still hiding in the tall grass. I love seeing this…..it truly brightens my day!

Another scene that brightened my day was this:

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Cows out grazing with lots of grass to eat near a full dam of water….plus the blue sky adds a nice touch too. πŸ™‚

One of the last things I saw when I finished checking was our beef steer. Every year we raise a steer or two to fill our freezer with. A few years ago we had some roping steers who froze their horns. Shane casted them so we could rope them throughout the first summer. They were dirt cheap when we got them so we’ve held onto them using them as our beef critters every fall. This is the last of the 5 of them:

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Isn’t he a sight to see?! His horns grew in such an odd fashion…..I swear he looks almost mean. He actually is kind of an arrogant acting fellow…..I think maybe he thinks he looks cool…..his horns will make for an interesting mount that’s for sure!

A short time ago I made my first batch of truly homemade pizza, which I blogged about. I felt inspired to try my hand at making my mom’s and my favorite:Β  Tuscan Roma Pizza. I’ve only ever had this kind of pizza at Pizza Ranch. My first attempt was really good! It was so good that I told my mom about it. She wanted to try it the next time I made it. Dad had some business to attend to away from home last evening so I invited mom over for supper. I made the guys their traditional Pepperoni Pizza (wouldn’t want to scare them with spinach and tomatoes on a pizza).Β  πŸ˜‰

I have to interject here to tell a funny on my husband. On Monday, I bought my first Ginger Root. I’m planning to make a Pioneer Woman recipe later this week and needed it for that. I’ve never cooked with fresh Ginger Root before so this will be fun. Anyway, I put it on the counter as I put away my groceries. Yesterday, Shane came in and asked me, “Why do we have a dead lizard on the counter?” I was like, “WHAT?!” I quickly realized what he was talking about. I had quite a laugh over that “Shaneism”….more on his comments and words for things later. πŸ™‚

So, the guysΒ  aren’t for new or unusual foods very much. However, my mom and I like to venture off to new places in that department. This brought me to Tuscan Roma Pizza. In all truth, there really isn’t even a recipe (with measurements and all that). I googled Tuscan Roma Pizza Recipe and came up with a slight copy-cat recipe. I decided on my own course and what I came up with what I consider to die for!

Tuscan Roma Pizza

β€’ Homemade Pizza Crust
β€’ Garlic Oil
β€’ Alfredo Sauce
β€’ 2 cups of Mozzarella Cheese
β€’ Roma Tomatoes (or whatever kind you have), sliced thinly
β€’ Spinach Leaves with the stem removed

I rolled out the pizza crust that I made onto the pizza pan that was sprinkled with corn meal. Make sure to get it quite thin.Β  Push a few holes in the crust then brush lightly with Garlic Oil. *The second time I made this pizza I brushed the crust first with Garlic Oil. It made a huge difference in the taste.* Use about a cup or so of the Alfredo Sauce. Spread it around all over the crust making sure it is even (and not too thick). Add the Mozzarella Cheese and spread out evenly. Place the sliced Tomatoes evenly on the pizza and then add the Spinach Leaves. Bake for 15 minutes or so at 375 degrees. *My oven cooks really hot so I always cook at about 50 degrees below what most recipes say so you may want to bake this at 425 degrees.*

Here is my first attempt before it went into the oven:

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After it came out:

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Here is the one I made last night…..it was even more delicious! *Note:Β  I used my Pampered Chef stone for the first pizza I made. The crust wasn’t as crispy as I hoped it would be so I went to Wal-mart (of all places) and bought a couple of cheap pizza pans with holes in them. What a difference they made! The crust was amazing!*

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Give this fun pizza version a try. It may not be something the guys like (since it isn’t loaded with “meat”, but most ladies I know would love it). Maybe this is “girl” pizza?! Who knows……my mom and I absolutely love it though. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Cheeseburger Pie & Ranch Stuff

It’s been a busy couple of days around here….plus, I just battled off a migraine. For those of you who have never had one….thank your lucky stars LOUDLY!!! I honestly never suffered from them before I turned 30. I had a few bad headaches here and there (working around perfumes), but when I finally ventured into migraine territory…..I got scared! Migraine sufferers out there can relate to me I’m sure. It’s not fun when you can’t see out of one eye and the faintest glint of light makes you nauseous. Almost two months ago, I decided to cut out Splenda and I started taking Mygrafew. My migraines have decreased drastically! It’s kind of scary to think how much Splenda I have ingested over the years and what it was doing to my body….yikes! I believe that my problems now are due to hormones. I’m 40…..getting closer to “the change” so I am positive that is what I’m dealing with now.

I woke up with a migraine this morning….not a fun way to wake up, but I decided to deal with it head on. I ate a banana for breakfast and took 975 mg. of Acetaminophen. Off I went to check on the heifers and the cows. This has become my daily duty first thing every morning. I love it….nothing like fresh air and getting to see the countryside and our cattle to brighten a person’s spirits! Here are a few sights I saw over the last few mornings:

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Three mornings ago, I came upon this scene. A mama cow, her baby, and a winter calf who was investigating the newborn. I smile when I see this picture…..that winter calf is all fuzzy and scraggly while the newborn is all slick and shiny! The winter calf ran off to his mother not far away as soon as I snapped this picture. πŸ™‚

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The cows were snowy two mornings ago….they were in the rough country eating grass while trying to stay out of the wind.

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These girls found a bank to hide behind….that wind was vicious!

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Such an amazing view I had this morning! Wonderful, indeed! Our cows could feel the warmth of the sun and there was no wind. They moved out of the roughs and were out eating grass wherever they pleased. This sight warms my heart!

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I spied a brand new baby in the grass so I took a closer look. It’s mama wasn’t far off keeping a close eye on me. Can you see the other baby off in the distance with it’s mama also close by? I didn’t stay long as I didn’t want to disturb the napping newborn. I smiled all the way home!

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This has been my outfit the last couple of mornings….that wind is cold! Shane calls me “Fargo” when I wear this hat…..he thinks he is funny….at least I’m never cold when I wear it! πŸ™‚

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Before I went home after checking the cows this morning, I stopped to see my two best boys – Doc & Shotgun. I gave them a few treats and checked their hay and water. All was good so I gave Doc a good scratch on his back….look at all that shedding hair! Shotgun was interested in what I was doing. Spring is on the way!

I got back home and my migraine was better….fresh air, I tell ya! I walked into the house to the smell of bacon frying…..and got handed a cup of hot cocoa….I’m a lucky woman for sure! It was way better than breakfast in bed…..I can assure you! Speaking of my husband, I just love this picture!

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He is riding Shotgun, a real bronc…..haha! Did I mention that?! πŸ˜‰ Shane rode him last night to gather the heifers bareback with just a string around his neck. I love this horse! Glad to call him mine (Shane might try to steal him, but I’m going to fight hard on this one). πŸ™‚

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It’s amazing how much warmer it is to ride bareback. Doc is a gentle guy too…..may have to try him bridleless one of these days! I decided I’d better use a halter on him at least last night.

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Doc is the best horse we have (in my opinion) and it’s not just because I love him so. You can do anything on him. I am grooming him to someday be Stone’s. I think he will be great for youth rodeo, which isn’t that far off! Stone took a shine to Doc long ago….I think it’s mutual.

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The best view of the evening as we gathered heifers a couple of nights ago!

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The two best cowboys I know…..this truly makes my heart sing!

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Shane and Stone pairing out a heifer…..as I stand back to turn her into the gate. Ranching is definitely a family affair! I would say the future of ranching looks good in our family so far. πŸ™‚

We went to my folks’ for Sunday dinner today (we try to do this several times per month). Either my mom cooks, or I do, or we do it together….either way it sure is nice to live close to one another. Today, mom made Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Fresh Rolls, Fruit Salad, and Peach Cobbler. YUM!!!

I came home and took 800 mg. of Ibuprofen hoping that it would help to totally get rid of this migraine. Then, I worked on finishing up some bookkeeping that I’m behind on…..with a bit of a headache left. I’m glad to say that it’s almost gone. I decided to make Cheeseburger Pie for supper. This is a recipe that goes back over 40 years! I’m not sure where my mom got it, but it came from her…..and it is wonderful!

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • Β½ tsp. Oregano
  • ΒΌ tsp. Pepper
  • ΒΌ c. Onion, chopped
  • ΒΌ c. Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1-8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
  • Β½ c. Dry Bread Crumbs or Oatmeal

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry for 9 inch one crust pie. In skillet, cook and stir meat.

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When about half browned, add the green pepper and onion. Finish browning.

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While it cooks, make sure to break up the ground beef into small chunks.

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Drain off fat, stir in salt, pepper, oregano, crumbs/oatmeal, and tomato sauce.

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Turn into pastry lined pan.

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Cheese Topping:

  • 1 Egg
  • ΒΌ c. Milk
  • Β½ tsp. Salt
  • Mustard & Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 c. Shredded Natural Cheddar Cheese

Stir first 5 ingredients together then add the cheese.

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Spread over top of filling.

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Bake about 30 minutes.

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Cut into wedges. Serve. Believe me….you’ve never tasted anything quite like this! I think the mustard and Worcestershire “do” something to this recipe. This is good right away or the next day…..I love anything that makes good leftovers (I know what Shane will be eating for lunch tomorrow)! Hope you like this recipe as much as we do. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne

Waffles!!

Good morning! It was rainy, cold, and gloomy here yesterday so we didn’t get a whole lot accomplished outside. I was a complete bum for most of the day. I haven’t had a day like that in a long time, but it was obviously needed. I feel recharged and ready to take on the world today. That’s a good thing because we are starting the daunting task of cleaning out our tree grove today. To explain, our tree grove is in the pasture that we pair out into. Pairing out is what we call it when we move the new baby calves and their mamas to a different pasture. It’s a good idea to keep them separated from the heifers who haven’t calved. The heifers who haven’t calved are kept in the lane where we feed them hay daily and keep watch on them vigilantly. Once they have their babies they get turned out on grass (pure heaven to them I’m sure). The tree grove serves as an added bonus in the pasture. It provides good cover and protection from the winds and any storms that may come along. We need to clean it out because last fall when Storm Atlas came through it tore an unbelievable amount of trees and limbs down. It’s a real mess in there right now…..a baby calf could get lost in there….that’s how bad it is! So, it’s Operation Tree Grove today……hope I survive the clean up….it won’t be for the weak of heart, that’s for sure! πŸ™‚

Since we have a physical day ahead of us I made Waffles. I stumbled upon this recipe at Allrecipes. com. It’s the best waffle recipe I have found to date….honestly I’ve quit looking at new recipes for waffles because this one is “it” in my opinion. I did make one change to the original recipe. I added another tablespoon of sugar. Here is my updated version:

Waffles

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 ΒΎ c. Milk
  • Β½ c. Vegetable Oil
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 2 TB. Sugar
  • 4 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ΒΌ tsp. salt
  • 2 cups Flour

*Before beginning, preheat your waffle iron/maker.* I use my mixer when making these because it helps to get any lumps out easily. I combine the wet ingredients first.

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Beat this until eggs are mixed well. Add the remaining dry ingredients.

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Mix well ensuring there are no lumps in the batter.

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The batter is now ready. Proceed to your heated waffle iron/maker. You will need some cooking spray.

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Spray your waffle iron completely (top and bottom).

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Quickly, pour some batter into the bottom portion of the waffle maker.

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It’s not an exact science so I pour until I feel that I have just the right amount of batter in there. Too little and the waffle isn’t complete. Too much and it runs over….then you have a mess! Once you feel that you have just the right amount added, close the lid.

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My waffle maker has a light on it that tells me when the waffle is done. I don’t trust it completely so I check on it after a few minutes. It doesn’t take long for these to be done. When the waffle is golden brown and cooked through, remove and serve.

 

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I gave Shane the first one this morning…..because I’m such a nice wife (haha…..I told him that as I gave it to him too)! πŸ™‚ The truth is…..waffles aren’t near as good once they are cold so they should be eaten right as they are done. I find it hard to make waffles for a bunch of people for this reason. My only answer to this is to have more than one waffle maker….and I’m not going that route so this will just be our little treat…when it’s just the three of us. *One note:Β  this batter does keep well in the refrigerator in case you don’t eat it all the first day. It’s perfectly fine the next day too!*

Well, we are off to go clean the tree grove……so happy for a beautiful day. My soul rejoices to see the sun! Enjoy your Sunday…..I’m going to! ~Cheyenne