Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Facing My Fears

Just like anyone else, I have a few fears. Don't worry this is not going to be a soul-searching trip through my past to discover where these fears originated and how I can move past them. This is not that type of blog if you have not figured that out yet.

So I have three fears that really bother me. One on a daily basis and the other two only every three or four weeks. I will start with the first one.

Fear #1 - My zipper is down.
Haha, laugh it up. Seriously I am horrified that my fly is down all the time. I constantly check it and also have others check it. Well, how about other, Catherine. She is always having to look for me. And I know exactly where this started. It was in seventh grade IT (Industrial Technology) class. Our teacher, Mr. Gadd (he was from England and had an empty coffee can that he would kick across the room when he got mad. Isn't that interesting) was having us build a square box. I was cutting a board for my box and felt sawdust getting in places that it should not. So I look down and my fly is down. I mean the barn door was open and the animals were out. I quickly looked up to see if anyone else had noticed (not that there was much to notice in 7th grade. Is that too much? Maybe? Oh well.) and quickly put everything back in its place. Ever since then I have been horrified that I will run a re-run of that episode.

Fear #2 - I have lice.
Anytime my head itches I am certain that I have lice. I should preface that by saying that I never have had lice and I think that only long haired girls get those nasty head bugs. At least that is what I tell myself.

Fear #3 - I am going BALD!!!
I am also paranoid that I am going bald. Not that I have anything against skin heads, but I just do not think that would be a good look for me. I once had a buzz cut when I was in little league and looking back at those pictures, I was an embarrassment to my parents. It was awful.

So needless to say, when I go to get a haircut Fears 2 and 3 are compiled and send me almost into a panic. I mean I would almost just let my hair go, but then the long hair and lice thing would be even more of a problem. What is a boy to do?

Today Catherine and I went to get our wigs split before we head up to Indiana for Easter. I was just getting my hair cut while Catherine was going all out, haircut AND color.

I always tell Natalie (our haircutter) when I first sit down in the chair to check for lice and to make sure that I am not going bald. She always reassures me that I have a full thick head of hair and in no way am I going bald. Then after my hair cut, Catherine sits down to get her color added to her hair.

Then it has to process or something like that so while the color was doing what it needed to do, we jumped in the car and headed to Sonic for the first Strawberry Limeade of the season.

Widget was trying to get me to do some stupid pose and this is what she got for a response.

After a few decades waiting on Catherine to get her hair all did up, I had one of those "Oh Crap!" moments. I just remembered that I needed to put out a few round bales before we left in the morning for Indiana. I must have been too engrossed pulling my hair back and looking in the mirror at my hairline to remember about the cattle that were depending on me for food. Whoops.

So Catherine and I headed back to the ranch and we got some neat pictures while the sun was setting.

While I was putting out the hay, Catherine found two heifers that wanted to pose for the camera.

Maybe my favorite picture yet. Catherine snapped this when she came and picked me up at the hay barn. Speaking of Catherine.....

Check out her new hair color! How She wanted to do something different and bold. I would say that she accomplished that! I keep looking at this picture and thinking to myself "I have one bad ass wife!"

Photo caption: Catherine's first true love, Brahmans.

I bet there are some people laughing after that one!

When Catherine opened a gate for me, I stopped and we were even able to get a picture of us, using the timer on the camera and setting it on a fence post.

My favorite part of this picture is the barn in the background. Oh and that handsome devil leaning against the fence. Stud.

In all my rush to get the hay out before dark, I did not notice that one of the tires on the tractor was a little flat. Also pay no attention to the wet dirt in the corner. I had to go and did not realize that "the spot" was in the picture. Oh well we're ranchers, deal with it.

When I got back to the hair barn, Catherine picked me up and we headed to Mach's to pick up our dinner.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Our Little Rancher

So here is our big news. We would like to get everyone involved in our blog and as a reward for doing so we will be giving out stuff. Free. All you have to do it comment or participate in the contests we have.

So for our first Our Little Rancher give-a-way, starting in April I will be keeping track of who makes the most comments on our blog. And the winner will get a prize. But the problem is, is that Catherine and I do not know what y'all would like for a prize. So leave us a comment and let us know what you want and in doing so you will be entering yourself in the comment contest.

Also, if you want bonus points, you can get real involved and post a link to our blog in your facebook or twitter status. All you have to do is to make sure that you put @Luke Neumayr or @Catherine Williams Neumayr on facebook or @v8catherine on twitter (I don't have twitter). However, this only works if you are our friends on facebook so if you are not, please friend us.

Alright that is our big announcement. Since April is almost here I will go ahead and count all the comments from here until the end of April. So start leaving those comments!

We are at a stand off!

That's right. You and me. Mono e mono (or whatever).

Why are we at odds you may ask? It is because the wife formally known as Widget (she has requested that I not call her that again, loser) and I have some very big news to announce, but we are not going to say anything, nothing, zilch, nada, until we get one more follower. Once we get to half a hundred follows (read: 50) we will make our announcement. I know that there are people out there who have not become followers. I will not name names but there is a certain Charolais/Shorthorn breeder who had a garage sale this past weekend that has not become a follower. If she would we could all move on.

And before anyone thinks that there is a little one on the way, that is not it. At least I don't think there is. Widget? Is there something that you should tell me? In all your frustration over the whole Widget thing did you jump the fence?

In other news...

Did you forget the whole stand off thing? Did you really think that I would be sharing something else with you? Silly person.

So I guess this will be the last post until we get one more follower. Someone just do it! Like right now. I really want to tell you about the coolest thing ever. Ok I will check back this evening and hopefully someone gave into the pressure and we have 50 followers!

Over and out.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Another attempt on my life.

Seriously with all the people trying to off me these days, you would think that I am Pablo Escobar. (A little side note, Catherine has told me that his ranch or his relative purchased cattle from the ranch in the 80’s but she gets rather skittish when I ask her about the details.) What’s that you say? You didn’t hear how Catherine tried to kill me? Oh, well here, check this out. And try not to get so behind on your blog readings, will you?

Now to the most recent assassination attempt. As many of you know, Spring is peeking its head around the corner. It is still a little cool in the morning but in the afternoon it is just peachy. With the warmer temps, the grass has started to grow. Well actually weeds but since I almost failed (because I never went to class, not because I have a brain the size of a peanut) Rangeland Management I don’t think that I will be going into specifics. Let’s just say the yard looked like a jungle.

So after taking the Snapper to the doctor and getting him all ready to go, I set out down the ditch beside the house mowing down the waist high weeds/grass/green stuff. The wild onions about killed me and made my eyes water so bad that I was driving like I already sucked down a whole keg of Keystone Light. I mean people are driving by and probably thinking to themselves that the poor guy on the lawnmower is having a seizure. Or this time they might of thought “Holy Crap, that lawnmower is on fire!!!”

Huh! What? My lawnmower is on fire??!!

I started to smell something like burning like rubber or plastic. I looked behind me and just look at what I pulled out from underneath the muffler.

Some blubbering, incompetent ignoramus left an oil soaked towel underneath the muffler on MY SNAPPER! Which with the heat of the muffler caught fire and had it not been detected would have made a mushroom cloud erupt over the town of Iago with me right in the middle of it. Seriously I think I need to hire some security to follow me around. Who knows what will happen next.

Oh I know what will happen next, it is time to mow the cliff that is right in front of our house. So I tell Catherine, who I have started to call Widget, to come out and take my picture risking my life so her yard looks like a golf course. Widget happily obliges and comes out with the camera.

I try to make the most of mowing, because I really don’t like but three aspects of mowing.

1) I get to smash the mess outta fire ant hills and watch them fling out of the mower blades in a cloud of dust. Then I make a mad scientist laugh and head to the next ant village and announce my arrival with “Fee Fi Fo Fum.” I hate those stupid little maggots.

2) I get to make a Vroom Vroom noise when I come back up the hill and also make this stupid face.

3) I get to run over stuff and chop it into smithereens. By the way, whoever threw out the dirty baby diaper in our ditch, I hate your stinkin' guts!!

I think the reason that Widget came outside was because she wanted to play grounds keeper too and drive the Snapper. So I got to take her picture too.

You may notice the angle of this picture. I was laying on the ground taking this picture because that is the “Do-anything-to-get-the-shot” photographer that I am.

But the problem was when I got down in the fresh cut grass it decided to stick to my arm and turn me into Gumby.

We also went down to the in-laws to see what they were up to. Catherine’s mom was mowing too. When we got there she decided that she needed to refuel the mower, she also has a Snapper. It is really fun to call things by their brand name. Like “Hey Widget, go put my jeans in the Maytag,” or “Hey Widget, go fire up the Dell so I can entertain the masses with a new blog!” Anyhoo, we got a picture of Luann trying to get the lid off the gas tank of her Snapper.

As you can see it was a good thing her knight in shining armor showed up to unscrew the lid. Maybe not a good thing that he showed up with a camera, but I won’t tell her if you don’t.

And then she was off, out through the pasture to the entrance to their house and mow around the crepe myrtles.

Finally, this weekend is the WHR Shorthorn Sale where we have about 10 heifers consigned. Hopefully we can sell ‘em high and buy ‘em cheap.

And I leave you with this.

Buttons decided that we were not the only ones who should be allowed to have our fun on the Snapper. He hopped on as soon as I got off and layed in the sun for a few minutes before he went and started weedeating.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Adventures in Cow Working

Well.... not really cow working. Just giving donors shots. Here's some photos I snapped yesterday evening.

Curious — but friendly — cows. I had just got out to close the gate. I was feeling pretty good about myself until hours later, Luke informed me that my tee-shirt had rode up in the back and when I went to shut the gate I had given Matt a view of the top of my undies. Sorry, Matt.

Easy enough, huh? How many times do I think she's been through this... more than a few!

I wish I had gotten a picture of Matt's super penning moves. At one point he went airborne and yelled out like he was competing in karate!

I wonder what they're thinking.

Now this situation - where her nose is between the two pipes - not the least bit scary to me. It's when they get their head on top of that top pipe that I start to see my life flash before my eyes and think they might jump out and come towards me. I should note: this has never actually happened, but it doesn't mean I'm any less scared. For years Luke has told me that my fear of culverts was irrational - but see post below about man flipping truck on 12 foot culvert. A-ha! My fear is validated and has completely intensified since then.

Sliding gate - freshly "fixed" where it actually slides and no longer has to be roughly tugged.

This cow became my friend. She stood there - very close - and let me take this and a few more photos of her.

I think she has a future on America's Next Top Model - this lovely lady struck this fierce pose for me and I was so excited. Work it, girl! Smile with your eyes! (If you don't watch ANTM you don't know what I'm talking about.)

When there's actual cow working being done at the chute —whatever that may be— these are the BEST seats in the house... Usually reserved for my two grandpas or whoever else is lucky enough to snag one. They sit up high off the ground like thrones and are way more comfortable than they look.

The friendly cow... and.... Matt & Luke finishing up just as we ran out of daylight.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Quick Update and Celebrity Sighting

Not too much time for a long blog tonight - and only a preview of pictures to come. This evening for the 7:00 p.m. shots I tagged along with Luke with my camera, my favorite lens, and some new photography skills I've picked up via some studying on the internet about the different settings on our camera.

We ate dinner (brisket and scalloped potatoes, with the most amazing sweet tea I've made in recent memory) and then headed over to the pens. This time there was no penning drama. Boring.

About 45 minutes of drizzling rain and cow working (by Matt and Luke - I was just standing around snapping photos and trying not to get hooked by an angry cow) Luke and I headed into the booming metropolis of Boling to the local grocery store to pick up some cat food for the porch kitties. It was there that we saw Shakira's mother! Actually - it wasn't her mother, of course. But it was a woman with hair as big as Shakira's. When we pulled up to the store I said, "Hey Luke, don't hit Shakira's mother!" which resulted in him laughing hysterically. I tried to snap a photo of her, but I got scared. Shakira's mother might be from the hood.

Anyways - here's a picture I took at the pens of the drips on the pipe. Lots of cool pics coming tomorrow evening, hopefully!

Must go - LOST has been on the DVR for about 24 hours now and I cannot wait any longer. I also cannot wait to torture Luke by making him watch it and - most importantly, discuss my theories for how this will all turn out. For example, I may say, "Hey, did you see the smoke monster do that?" and he grumbles, "Huh? What? Umm... no." Its usually about then I have to take his phone away because instead of watching lost he tries to sneak in a few hands of pretend-poker on his cell phone. But... I digress. This episode of LOST is about Richard, the man who never ages and whose eyeliner never runs.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's that time of the month again.

Alright, alright. It is not what you are thinking about! Get your head outta the gutter.

There are a few things that happen once or twice a month around this ol’ ranch. Things like flushing cows, laundry, and Catherine bathing. Let’s take this one step at a time and start with the cattle.

Normally we flush cows every month, sometimes twice. For our city folk out there, when we say flush a cow we give them hormones to send their ovaries into overtime and hopefully they produce multiple eggs. We then fertilize the “donor cow” who has been turned into an egg producing machine. After the eggs are fertilized they are then removed from the cow and put into recipient cows who serve as a surrogate mom. And that concludes you lesson in ranching for today. Take notes, quizzes to follow.

Matt is bringing up the last two. I thought that we were going to have some good penning action in the morning, the kind where we all get to drive like mad-men, but they both ran right into the pen. How boring.

Here are the girls all lined up waiting to come through the chute and get their dose of hormones. Keeps 'em in a better mood.

All lined up in the chute. Sometimes I walk by each one and say something stupid like "Welcome" or "How is your morning going?" Considering that I can only keep one eye open at a time this hour of the morning I have to have my fun.

Matt is measuring the right amount of drugs to give to a certain cow.

Anyway we are now right in the middle of giving shots donors. This involves penning the cows twice a day (morning and night) and giving them a stick with a needle. The only problem with this is that the morning pen occurs right at day break. I usually roll out of bed, put on whatever clothes I can find (sometimes even my favorite Tabasco pajama pants that Catherine despises), grab a Coke or cup of coffee, and stumble to the truck.

But when the morning looks like this, how can I not look forward to getting up with the chickens.

I got real crafty and took a picture of the sunrise in my mirror. I think that I will more than likely win some sort of award for this.

The thin blanket of fog made for a very nice morning.

If the weather is good penning is pretty mundane, you just have to honk and the cows start to head towards the pens. However, sometimes there is a thick blanket of fog and then things get interesting or if a cow breaks away. If a cow breaks away it is all hands on deck!! I mean gravel flies, trucks do wheelies, and if you happen to be a passenger all you can do it grit your teeth, say a few Hail Mary’s and hold on.

After we pen and sort the cattle, we give the shots and go on about our daily routine. Normally, I head back to the house, make some breakfast and take a shower. And today that is when I noticed that it was laundry time. Just look at the picture.

I have on two mismatched socks and one of them is Catherine’s that I stole at some point. First off I have the worst collection of socks ever. I never sort them, I just throw them in a drawer, and wear them until they look like dental floss. The reason that I have smuggled some of Catherine’s socks is because she has little feet. I have feet like elephant. When the little socks are stretched over my boat feet they become very thin and comfortable. I came upon this realization once when I had no clean socks and had to borrow some of Catherine’s. Since then I prolly smuggle one to two pairs each month. Tried the underwear once, but she can keep those. Ha! Don’t worry Mom, that was a joke I am not actually wearing women’s clothing again. That was just a phase in high school.

Back to us needing to do laundry. It never fails, we make a pact that we are going to do a load of laundry every day so it will not pile up. That lasts for a couple days and then goes out the window. One of the great things about living on a ranch is that in general cows smell worse than people. However, sometimes in the middle of the summer when I get back from working all day when it is 112 degrees and 80% humidity, I think that Catherine would rather snuggle up next to a rank bull than get within 10 feet of me. So in keeping with the cow smell > human smell formula (read: cow smell is greater than human smell) clothes can sometimes be worn for multiple days especially in the winter when you have on a jacket and no one really notices that you worn the same shirt for 2 weeks in a row. It is also permissible to wear jeans on multiple occasions. I mean who doesn’t know that it is not until the third day of wearing that they are the most comfortable. And it is that theory that gets us into the predicament that we are now. We have no clean clothes and have used all our “get out of jail free cards” on multiple wears. So hopefully while I am writing this blog, my lovely wife will be washing my clothes.

I know this is one of our longer blogs but I am just going to add a little more. When you are around people every day and stand knee deep in manure with them, it doesn’t really matter that you may have a little bit of smell to you. When it does matter is when someone who did not make an appointment to come look at cattle comes to the ranch and wants to look around. I can think of one time when I was in this pickle. We had been working cows all day and I smelled like a boy’s locker room combined with catfish stink bait and that awful fly attractant that you put in those big jars that hang from the ceiling to catch flys. I was leaning so far out of the window when I was driving these people around the ranch in hopes to blow the stink off me that I am sure they thought that I had problems. I was hoping that maybe I just thought that I smelled worse than I actually did, but when I got home Catherine reaffirmed that I needed to be hosed off with bleach.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Another Weekend Flown By!

Here we are at the beginning of spring – officially. I see signs of it everywhere; I wouldn’t need a calendar to recognize them. New baby calves, wildflowers blooming, warmer and sunnier days, and now with the time change, an extra hour in the evening that makes more daylight.

We had a great weekend! It was a full weekend, though: birthday parties, grocery shopping, dinner with friends, trips to the movies… and of course excellent company!

The weather turned colder Saturday but is now starting to warm back up. Before the weather got chilly, I spent my Friday late evening riding around taking pictures. It was just too beautiful to miss the opportunity. So… the pictures on this blog were taken Friday to show you how pretty this time of year is in Texas!

Saturday it was rainy and cold – which resulted in a usually mundane trip to the grocery store turning into a monsoon-braving adventure.

This morning Luke rose way before me to go give the donor cows shots for the upcoming flush. By the time my alarm went off so I would have time to get ready to go to church, I was pleasantly surprised to see that Luke had prepared homemade breakfast tacos for me! What a treat! What isn’t so much of a treat is cow manure-covered blue jeans from the morning cow work that I have to wash.

Tonight in the last hour of daylight, I got to witness what can only be described as a Miami Vice style penning episode, complete with Luke and Frank each turning doughnuts in the mud in their respective vehicles. Boy am I glad I was just watching and not expected to actually get something in the pen!

Have an excellent week!

I'm embarrassed to say that we just now have taken down our Christmas wreath and replaced it with this springtime one that I snuck out of Target while Luke was outside in the car. I was only supposed to run in and get laundry detergent, so he waited in the car. I sheepishly wheeled the cart out with multiple sacks - including this wreath.

Why hello gentle new Shorthorn calf that likes being petted! Welcome, friend!

The ranch is covered in these yellow flowers every year for about 3 weeks right at the beginning of spring.

No longer wondering when the hay is coming - there's green grass growin' now, ma'am!

My favorite tree on the entire ranch - this one curves over an area where there used to be a railroad tracks in the civil war days.

Chilly nights mean plenty of fire-pit time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Look what I caught!

This past weekend our good friend and fellow Boling-ite Charles Atkinson invited us to go along on a fishing trip with him and his wife Sue. I have lost count of the times that Charles has called me and asked me to go fishing when I was at a stock show or somewhere else and could not go. But finally we were finally in the right place at the right time and were able to go.

So here is what we did. I will use pictures to tell our story.

This was the walkway that went from shore to the pier.

The water was a blue as blue can be and we got lucky that the wind was calm so it was very smooth.

Charles and I headed out in our yacht and started to place all of the jugs around the lake. We used big floats with weights and a hook attached to them. We strategically placed these around the lake in the "areas" that we thought the biggest fish were.

While Charles and I were out on the water, Catherine tried her hand at catching some supper for us.

She had a little bit of trouble figuring out how to cast with my new reel, but she finally got the hang of it and could cast a pretty good way by the time we were done.

Another friend of ours, Curtis Cline, came on the fishing trip and brought along one of the coolest dogs ever. His name is Ratchet and Catherine and I really want to get a Pug.

This was the real reason we went on the trip. Look at this monster! This was about a 30 pounder and it was a real fun time trying to get him (or is it her?) into the boat.

Charles and Ratchet with two of the other big catfish that we caught. We caught about 20 catfish total but the majority were small and not blog worthy.

A close up of one of the big mama-jama's.

The sunset on the lake was amazing. I would really considering moving to the pier and living there under an umbrella for the summer.

A beautiful ending to a great few days of fishing!
In other news, if you are my friend on Facebook I mentioned today on my status that we would be announcing a comment contest today on the blog. After much thought, we decided that we would not start this contest until we get 50 followers. We are almost there, so if you are a fan of our blog please become a follower. Once we get the 50 followers we will start our contest.