Thursday, February 25, 2010

Deer Camp

Last weekend Catherine's Dad, Grandfather, and I went to South Texas to Deer Camp. We are very fortunate to have a close family friend that has a high fenced ranch that is LOADED with deer and a lot of other animals. We love going to the ranch and always take any opportunity we have to go. This time I took my camera and got some cool pictures of what we saw. Some of the pictures are not in focus the best, but I was shooting through glass in the deer stand. I tried to open the window once and take a picture of a deer, but they heard my camera and spooked.

There is a picture that I was not able to get that was really cool. At one time there were 13 does around my stand and one 8 point buck but I could not get the picture without spooking the deer. Go figure. Anyway, here are some of the pictures that I was able to get.

The Yucca were just starting to bloom while we were there.

This little bird was just outside the deer blind and as soon as I took the picture, the noise the camera made scared him off. Oh well we weren't there for bird watching anyway.

I wanted to try to get a picture of the Javalinas and the does together. But when I turned around to take the picture, the deer saw me and as you can see by the doe with her tail straight up, they weren't around for long.

Here is a close up of the Javalina.

Swine everywhere! This was a big boar that had a gimp leg and was very glad of the corn that we scattered on the ground, even if it wasn't for him. How would you like to be on foot and stumble upon this scary guy!

This is where all the action is supposed to happen. A corn and protein feeder in front of my deer blind.
Another Yucca.

This doe was one of the ones we saw each day. She is a real silver colored doe and made it very clear that she was the one in charge. Any opportunity she had to run off another doe eating her corn she took.
Now I am not saying that I am a professional deer photographer, but look at this! Ears up and posed perfectly! Am I good, or am I good?!

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Sad Day at the Ranch...The End of an Era

Today was a very emotional day for all of us around the ranch. We knew that this day was coming for a little while now, but there was really no way to prepare ourselves for it. Many of you are familiar with our Brahman bull Mr. V8 287/5 or better known as Superstroke. Superstroke is one of the most famous bulls in Brahman history. He has sired 4 International Champions, was undefeated in the International Get-of-Sire 5 years in a row, and had numerous other National Champions for the ranch as well as many other champions for breeders across the globe.

There are many reasons, but one reason I will always have a soft spot for Superstroke because his grand-sire was a bull that belonged to me. Superstroke was sired by 777/4 (Power Stroke) who was sired by Mr. V8 702/3, who had a “C” (for Catherine) brand on his shoulder. Superstroke and his sire Power Stroke were definitely 702/3’s most famous descendants.

But what we liked best about Superstroke was his friendly disposition. He lived at the V8 show barn for the past decade and any visitor to the ranch wanted to see Superstroke. This was fine by him though – visitors usually meant petting and scratching!

Over the years there have been so many people involved in the care of Superstroke, and everyone who has helped to take care of him grew to love him. One memory that sticks out for me is when one of the show barn assistants noticed that Superstroke’s head was too large to comfortably wear a normal rope halter. One day, he proudly presented Superstroke with his own custom made rope halter, which fit him perfectly!
So today everyone said goodbye to our old friend. There were lots of people passing through the show barn to have their time with Superstroke and let him know how much they cared. The show barn just won’t seem the same. We got a few pictures as we were giving him the last couple of scratches from us.

My mom was giving Superstroke his final scratches and telling him about how he will be missed by all of us.
Luke and I tried to get a picture with Superstroke with his head up, but the poor old guy was just too weak to get it any higher. Luke may look a little wierd, but the actual picture my mom took his eyes were closed. I had to do a little "work" so his eyes were not closed.

You would be very hard pressed to find an animal on the ranch that does not have the influence of Superstroke somewhere in their pedigree. This bull calf is a grandson of Superstroke. Actually a double grandson if you want to get technical, but that may be a little too far out there for some of our readers!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Treasured Gifts

We just got married in December 2009. We got so many great gifts and we appreciated all of them. One of my favorites was a cross stitch piece that my grandparents gave me and Luke. It was a beautiful cross stitched project and it was given to us beautifully framed and ready to hang up. We were so excited. What a thoughtful gift that we will treasure forever! It hangs in our bedroom and both Luke and I commented the other day that we just love it. We also got a homemade afghan from one of my cousins, and it is also in there. That room just looks so homey! What a difference gifts from loved ones make.

It's a short blog today from me. I'm wrapping up a busy work week and I am ready to go sit out on the porch and watch the cars drive by. I'll post more soon!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Snack Attack

I don't know about you, but I am a big sucker for snacks. I love snacks! I love snacks so much that sometimes I snack too much and ruin my appetite for an actual meal, just like a little kid. Some people have a certain preference for a snack like something salty, sweet, chocolate, cold, etc. Not me, I go for anything. I can also make snacks out of some weird stuff like mixing peanut butter and honey together in a bowl and eating that. Right now I am absently minded popping M&M's that are beside the computer as I sit here and type while trying to find the just right song on iTunes inspire blogging creativity.

So when I have been snacking recently I have been taking pictures of my snacks just for fun. Then I realized that I should blog about my snacking habit and see what types of snacks others go for. So after you look at these pictures please comment and let us know what your favorite snack is.

One morning I decided to make muffins (from a box) and they resulted in good snacking opportunities for days to come. Just put a little butter on these bad boys and you are set.

I have a bad obsession with wheat thins. I also think that they taste much better when you get a few in your mouth and then chew them, and chew them, and chem them. After there is no crunch left they are at peak flavor. Maybe a little too much, but anyway.

Double Stuf Oreos with a ice cold glass of milk has to be one of the all time best snacks. I would guess that after reading this someone goes and get their Oreos out of the cabinet or heads to their local grocery store and gets some. Don't forget the milk!

Now it is your turn. Leave a comment below and tell the world (OK, we only have 28 followers, but let me have it) what your favorite snack is.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Belly is FULL!

Catherine and I just got back from an amazing home cooked dinner with the Petrosky family. We had a Facebook message from Ramona (mom) Petrosky and it said that they had our wedding present (blog to come later about this great gift!) and would like for us to come over for dinner and they would give us our gift. Of course Catherine and I were ecstatic about this dinner invitation and quickly replied yes to the invite.

So Ramona cooked a HUGE pan of Chicken Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, and a nice salad to get some vegetables in there. I really out did myself on eating. This was some of the best chicken spaghetti I have ever had. Oh my was it good!

However, better than the food was the great night of conversation we had with the entire family. David (dad), Ramona (mom), Dollie (daughter), DJ (son), and Dillon (son), along with Catherine and I all sat around the table and told stories and had way too many laughs. It was really nice to sit down at a table with a family like the Petrosky's. They are such good people and extremely funny and they have things like the kids height measurements on the wall. The whole atmosphere was very “home-y” and relaxing.

One of my favorite stories of the night was about Pooh the pet raccoon of a mutual friend of ours. Ramona was saying that they had to babysit Pooh one day and before she knew it she turned around and Pooh had both hands shoved into her water glass and was fishing out the ice. Maybe this was one of those stories that you had to be there to fully appreciate it, because the hand gestures of Ramona imitating the raccoon in the water glass were priceless.

The picture is a little different than normal. Usually, we post the pictures individually, but this time I did things a little different. I made a collage using some snapshots from the evening. We had talked about trying to take some pictures of people but once I got to using both my hands to shovel in the Chicken Spaghetti I didn't want to get the camera dirty.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Days Gone By

I don't know about you, but this mud around here has got me going crazy. I cannot go anywhere without seeing mud, stepping in mud, or hearing about mud from others. I am not sure how we are ever going to recover from this situation we are in.

Well one way that Catherine and I have made our day a little better was by looking at some pictures that we took a few years back right in the middle of summer when the grass was lush and green and the was NO MUD!

So if you are in the same situation that we are with the mud or snow or whatever it may be, hopefully these following pictures will cheer you up a little bit.

Catherine and I were just driving around the ranch one day and took this picture in the front pasture.

This picture was taken at Catherine's great-grandmother Ann Forgason's house. All the local's call it Nanny's lake and there are many stories to be told about this place.

Not sure why, but I thought that taking a picture of me taking a picture would be cool. Catherine thought otherwise.

Myrtle Bo getting a drink on a hot summer evening.

Myrtle Bo posing by the water tank that has some monster goldfish in it!

We went to the hay meadow to see all the freshly wrapped round bales and took a picture of the hay rake.

The lane that goes to one of the hay meadows on the ranch.

If for some reason these pictures have not put you in a better mood, you can always end the day with a plate of biscuits and gravy. That’s right, while I have been working on gathering the pictures for the blog, Catherine has been whipping up some biscuits and gravy. Lucky me!!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

From the Cab of a Tractor

I got woke up this morning at 7:30 because Luke was going to go put out hay. I looked out the window and saw that the sun was already starting to shine and it didn't look too cold outside, so I decided to go put out hay with my valentine... since this evening we have reservations at one of our all-time favorite places for Valentine's Day. If we got this stuff done early we could have plenty of time to goof off in Matagorda this afternoon.

Turned out to be a great day for photos.

My chariot awaits!

Luke cutting the strings.

The cows in the front pasture at my parents house fording what is usually just a ditch... but has turned into a river! But they wanted the hay so they took out across the creek! If this was Oregon Trail, their wagons probably would've tumped over!

I had to get out of the tractor to open the gate for Luke at the oats pasture. There were a few cows who thought about being crafty and running out of the gate. Luke overheard me telling them how it was going to be and thought it was really funny... I told them, "I run a tight ship around here... you won't be getting out on MY watch!"

My favorite picture of the day, taken first thing in the morning right before I got in the tractor.

Muddy tractor mirror.

The cows are pretty interested once they see the tractor and hay headed their way!

Cutting the strings is probably the worst part.

My view from the gate that the cows tried running out of.

Some curious calves first thing in the morning.

The early morning light was the best.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The New Office

Okay, here are the rest of the pictures of the new paint job in the office. We really like it, and maybe you might decide to paint a room in your house like this or you may think that we are nuts.

Let us know what you think!
Our painter worked from 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m. on this project. He was the only one working on it and may have got tired of the picture taking by the end of the job.
The trim work would have to be the worst part of the whole job.
Alright, I may have wrapped up in a cow hide and crawled around on the floor chasing the cat. Be sure to notice Catherine's snuggy in the picture.
TA-DA!! Here is the finished project. Well we still kinda have to get all our furniture moved around how we like it and put the rest of the stuff away, but you get the picture. Also notice that Dixie cat was really working hard at her desk while her parents were playing photographer.
Somehow the stuff like my binoculars, a tape measurer, and a list of sale heifers that had a home before we moved everything around are now just sitting on a filing cabinet.

A Preview of Our New Office

We are about to leave to go and see our friends Anne and Caleb McCain's new house that they just built. But before we leave and before I put all the pictures up of the new office paint, I wanted to give a very small preview. So here it is.

In the upper right corner you can see just a little bit of the new wall color. We are very happy with our color selection and now spend much more time in this room. When we get back tonight I will put the rest of the pictures up so you can see the whole sha-bang!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Renovation in Progress

Short blog today. I found a blog of a interior designer through one of our followers. When I looked at the blog, the first post was about the new colors for paint and interiors. Catherine and I have wanted to redo our office wall color for some time and now we know what color and everything. So after meeting with the painter and "bargaining" for a great price, tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. our office is getting an overhaul. Sadly, Catherine admits that as soon as she saw this "Make-Up color" on our walls, she knew that it was a mistake. We also have problems with this gulf coast humidity causing the paint on our door trim to buckle and peel. It ends up flaking onto the floor and looking very shabby. Please look for more photos tomorrow of the finished results. Hopefully we won't be thinking "What did we do!" tomorrow when the paint is dry.

Here are our before pictures. Don't laugh!

Can you see the make-up similarity?

It is kind of embarassing to show this picture, since it makes us look a little tragic/hillbilly-ish. But only for the next 24 hours will we have to look at this.
On a side note, we are now up to 20 registered followers. Thank you so much, we always get a little too excited when we get a new follower!
Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

This Old House

Whenever I graduated college and moved back to the ranch, my family and I remodeled a house that’s been on the place since it was purchased way back in 1973. While I’m not sure of the exact date, I’ve estimated the house that we live in to have been built sometime in the early 1900s.

Luke and I are always saying either you’re an “old house” person or you’re not. Let me go on the record as saying that when I first was walking through this house looking at it before deciding to move here, I would have never thought I was an “old house” person. As I walked through, I remember randomly commenting on things that would just have to be changed — like the old doorknobs, and the doors that don’t quite close, or the mismatched ceiling in one of the bedrooms, or the huge windows that no matter what, just won’t open.

I don’t know when it happened, but sometime in the hundreds of hours that my mom and I spent working on this house, painting, sanding, removing layers of linoleum, or trying to figure our why nothing in this house measures correctly (nothing is “square") — I started to love it. Somewhere along the way, I have grown to appreciate this house. There’s something special about an old house… I like to think about all the people who have lived here before us and wonder if, just like us, they tried to get the windows open, or griped in the winter when it was cold, or wondered how on earth they would find a place to store their Christmas decorations, or sat on the same porch we do and watched the cows graze in the pasture around suppertime. My own parents lived here from 1976 – 1983 when they first got married, and like me, they have a soft spot for these 4 walls. It’s a good house… it has history.

Speaking of history, one of my favorite things to do is collect cattle memorabilia, particularly Shorthorn. It’s only fitting that our century old house serves as the perfect canvas for all of my old Shorthorn treasures.

When it came time to start decorating my new (but old, you know) house before moving in, I didn’t know what my style was… but I knew my favorite thing in the world was Shorthorn cattle. I decided that I wanted to paint one of the rooms a Shorthorn red and use it as a place to put my favorite Shorthorn collectibles. Yes, that idea worked, but I should confess that there are Shorthorn collectibles all over the house!

I realize we have more Brahman cattle on this place than red, white, or roan. But you can’t change what you love – and I will always be partial to my beautiful Shorthorns. When I was about 14 years old, my mom, dad, grandmother and I took out on a trip to Colorado and visited the famous Ka’Ba Shorthorn Ranch, a prefix made famous by Ka’Ba Rose T90, a pretty special Shorthorn cow. I’ll never forget as we pulled up to their ranch, they had a huge sign that said: “This place keeps Shorthorns, Shorthorns keep this place.” I only wish I had a picture of that to share! It’s one of my favorite memories.

Here are some photos/stories behind some of my favorite collectibles.

The next couple of framed photos were my first "discovery" and I love them! These are antique prints that used to be distributed by the American Shorthorn Breeders' Association. This roan steer, Big Boy, is something to be proud of! These prints are very rare - I keep looking for another copy to give to a friend as a gift, but I've never seen them again.

International Champion Carload - would've loved to have seen this in person!

This framed scarf was a real diamond in the rough. I purchased it off of Ebay and it was in bad shape, all wrinkled, stained, and puckered/stretched. I took it to our local frame shop and they worked wonders on it. It's framed and hangs in the foyer/entryway.

Not really historical, but still one of my favorite treasured Shorthorn pieces in the house. This frame came from Classic Leather Designs and was a gift from my mom and dad. It sat empty for years as I could never find the perfect photo for it. Luke snapped this photo of me in 2006 with my favorite Shorthorn cow WR4 Delila D. She passed away shortly after this photo was taken. I had the print enlarged and finally had a use for this beautiful frame. Notice her eartag in the righthand corner.

Something about the red, white, and roan makes it gorgeous when it is painted on pottery! There's a lady from the northeast who paints all of these and they are few and far between. They sell every once in a while at public auction and I always bid strong to take them home. They are rare... but they are my absolute favorite thing! I probably have about 6 pieces and my parents have about 5 too... I can't wait to add my next piece to the collection. Notice one of my books there - "Profitable Stock Feeding." Have you noticed how fat our cats are? Haha!

I also collect rare Shorthorn books. My most prized find ever is Volume II of the American Short-Horn Herd Book. I searched for this book for at least 4 years before finding it in a rare book shop in New York! The herd books were published in the mid 1800s until the 1940s I believe. My "golden" find would be Volume I to add to my collection, but I don't think I will ever get it! I probably have one of the most complete collections in the United States... of (what I know) 130 volumes printed, I am only missing 11. Other books here on my mantle (most very rare and proudly added to my collection over the past 10 years) are:
  • "A Record of Unfashionable Crosses in Short-Horn Cattle Pedigrees Vol. 1" by F.P and O.M. Healy, published in 1883
  • "A Record of Unfashionable Crosses in Short-Horn Cattle Pedigrees Vol. 2" by O.M. Healy, published in 1887
  • "The American Polled Durham Herd Book Volume 1" from American Polled Durham Breeders Association, published in 1898
  • "Record of Shorthorn Prizewinners Vol. 1" by B.O. Cowan, published in 1911
  • "Short-Horn Cattle," by Alvin H. Sanders, published in 1916 (not so rare, but important!)
  • "History of Short Horn Cattle," by Lewis F. Allen (creator of the ASA Herd Book), published in 1883
  • "Red White and Roan," by Alvin H. Sanders, published in 1936
  • "Mostly About Shorthorns," by Frank W. Harding, published in 1940

A painting that was given to me by someone in my family (not sure who anymore). I had it framed and put it in the red room at my house. Beautiful Shorthorn cow!

Christmas gift a few years ago from my parents. This roan Shorthorn bull is on the accent table in the dining room. The person who makes these is at Louisville each year and she has all breeds.