Coyote Soup

Bringing life back to the family ranch with three young free range braves and lots of organic elbow grease.

Hands December 13, 2011

Filed under: cows,Family,ranching — Piper Long @ 10:49 am


Over the weekend, the ear tags arrived, the fences got completed and the cows were gathered up and coaxed into the pens to be vaccinated, wormed, branded and tagged.

An hour after the branding irons had been heated, it seemed as though we hadn’t even made a noticeable dent in the south farm pasture herd of 80+ cattle that needed to be worked and I began to fear that we would be working throughout the day and well into the night at this rate. I needed more hands. I needed three hands for vaccinating, two for handing out the branding irons, two for tagging, two for documenting, two for worming, five for controlling the chute, the hot shot and our two youngest children.

And then I saw the hands of my oldest son arrive…. followed by the bear paw hands of my dear ol’ Dad.

And the angels sang.

I’m truly shocked that my Dad still comes to visit me.

Ever.

But he never fails. He may find me cooking dinner, working in the garden, milking cows, putting out hay, scrubbing the barn, chasing stray cows, cleaning the house or working cows. He may leave smelling of roast beef, dirt, manure, dinner rolls, milk, oil, singed hair or chocolate cake.

It’s a toss up every time.

I’m just grateful he is up for whatever life throws his way.

This past July, he suffered a massive heart attack that damaged much of his heart. He’s been remarkable healthy his entire life, so to say it came as a shock is an understatement. It took a co-worker’s relentlessness combined with my husband’s certainty that his symptoms were that of a heart attack just to get him to the hospital. By the time I got to the hospital, he was already in surgery to clear the 100% blockage.

Having him around means the world to me… in more ways than one.

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The Family Barber October 28, 2011

Filed under: Family — Piper Long @ 1:42 pm
Tags: , ,

My 4-year-old has decided that he is going to grow a beard.

He informed me of this fact during his most recent haircut. I was meticulously snipping my way through his precious blonde mane, careful to leave the top a little longer for styling, when I noticed him duck out of the way as I took aim at his sideburns.

“No, Momma!” he protested.

“What’s wrong?” I asked.

“I want to grow a beard! Don’t cut it off!” he scolded.

“Oh,” I replied. “Ok, then I guess you’re all done!”

And with that my little tow head hopped down and trotted off to the bathroom to admire the progress of his beard.

Giving haircuts to my guys over the years has been challenging, rewarding, frightening, haunting and hilarious.

It all started when my husband, who worked from sun up to sun down as a farmer/fireman/rancher/oil producer, found it increasingly more difficult to squeeze in a haircut during his busy days. And when he came to me, desperate, drained and doomed to dreadlocks, I figured any haircut was better than no haircut.

So I bought some clippers and started cutting. For the next few months, my husband really took to his cowboy hat.
And after a long hunting trip in the mountains, he came home looking like Robert Redford in Jeremiah Johnson. I couldn’t decide if I was more excited to see him or some hair on his head!

From that point on, the scruff of his beard remained, and my haircutting skills improved.

And now, as long as I can get my three little braves to hold still long enough, I can usually get a decent cut and even admit to being their barber.

Although sometimes it means trimming their sideburns in their sleep.

I am the official family barber.

And I work from son up to son down. And sometimes after that.

 

Fishing with a Blue Tick Pup September 14, 2011

This pond has been the major source of entertainment for my boys throughtout the entire summer. As you can see, they always come prepared.

Poles… check
Worms… check
Tacklebox… check
Coonhound pup… check

Giant Net… check

Beautiful day to daydream… double check

 

Baseball on the Ranch September 13, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,Family,horses — Piper Long @ 7:21 am

My boys love playing baseball.

Especially if their Dad is willing to hit them a few after a long day’s work.

This summer, they couldn’t get enough of the pop flies.

Also sometimes referred to as “chicken pops” by my middle child. (And now, consequently, the entire family.) I will never again be able to call them pop flies.

They are now chicken pops.

And if you think about it. If you really sit back, real late at night, like when you are writing a blog post and trying to make sense of something that doesn’t make sense…

You may find that chicken pops actually is a more appropriate term considering the baseball player has the option to

1. Be brave and position himself under a hard ball that may or may not land in it’s intended location
OR
2. Be chicken, in which case he will abandon all projected destinations of the ball.

There.

Chicken pops.

What I love about baseball on the ranch…

The intense expression on my boys’ faces as they strive to catch the chicken pops.

And the complete disinterest of the horses nearby.

 

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees September 8, 2011

Filed under: Family,Musings — Piper Long @ 8:02 am
Tags:

We recently took a break from the 100+ Oklahoma heat and headed west toward mild mountain air with three little cowboys in tow. Along with the chilluns, I packed lots of DVD’s, books, and sedatives.

Just kidding about the sedatives.

But I truly did pack books and DVD’s for the kids. For obvious reasons.

I also stashed a few cookbooks under my seat.

And some ear plugs.

Not really.

Although now that I think of it, ear plugs would have been handy to have on hand. I’ll have to remember them next time I agree to a 12 hour road trip with young, active outdoorsmen.

…who not only believe I am a natural-born entertainer, but also think I have a money tree stashed somewhere on the ranch.

Once in the mountains and more importantly, the cool temperatures, we decided to set up camp and pull out the fishing poles to catch some trout.

This year, we decide to pay to take them fishing in some nice private ponds where they were actually more likely to catch fish.

And they did.

In fact, they got their limit the very first day.

And even hooked a GOLDEN trout!

“Can we fish in the Guaranteed Catch pond?” They ask.

“No,” we reply. “We already paid for you to fish in the other 10 ponds. So we don’t need to pay to fish in the Guaranteed Catch pond. Money doesn’t grow on trees ya know.”

And they were fine with that. Until they saw the arcade.

We agreed to supply $5 each for the day to play the quarter games.

“Can we have five more dollars to spend at the arcade today?” They ask.

“No,” we reply. “Five dollars each was your limit for the day. Money doesn’t grow on trees ya know.”

And they were fine with that.

Then they noticed the paddle boats. And that’s where the line was drawn. It was time to show these youngsters how to have some cheap fun.

So we showed them a game that provided the same amount of entertainment, would get them across the river, AND it was FREE.

The object? See who was brave enough to cross the freezing cold river without screaming like a girl.

We also decided to take a FREE hike way up the mountain – off the trail, of course. (But only because my husband was present. Otherwise, we might not have found our way back.)

…to take in the beauty of nature. And teach our boys to open their eyes to the natural beauty.

To see a view worth viewing. And prove that you can have fun without spending money.

Cause it doesn’t grow on trees.

After what seemed like many hours and ended up only being a little over one, we reach a clearing and decide to have a moment of rest and relaxation. So we sat there. In the peace. And quiet. Enjoying the spectacular mountain view.

When my oldest son yells, “Look! It’s a dollar!”


There. In the middle of nowhere. Was a dollar folded in half lengthwise and tied neatly to the tip of a young tree.

My other two children begin frantically searching for other such money trees. And found yet another.

“LOOK!! Another one!!” My middle child exclaims.

This is the moment when my husband and I begin to pray, “Please Lord, let there be at least ONE more dollar.”

But there wasn’t. And our pockets? Well, they were emptied back at the arcade. Which, by the way, is exactly where the two found dollars were spent.

 

Flat on Bachelor’s Flat June 28, 2011

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live without my cellphone.

I would like to think I would be more attentive to the moment…
Less likely to get brain cancer…
Perhaps I would no longer perform periodically frantic searches for it when I find it’s not presently in my grasp or attached to my ear…
I could do whatever I wanted without answering to anyone as to my whereabouts.

Then I have days like today when it would be nice if someone knew my whereabouts.

Preferably someone who knows how to change a flat tire…. because today when I was on my way home from the store, groceries in tow, a rock viciously slashed my tire causing it to deflate right smack dab in the middle of nowhere. More exactly 4 hilly, windy unpaved miles from my home in one direction and 4 hilly, windy unpaved miles from the nearest neighbor in the opposite direction. The sun was of course situated at its peak. And my children had just devoured the last of my Mocha Carmel Frappe.

Can you guess how many times this has happened to me?

Not only was this my first flat, but this was my first flat on the vehicle I just recently purchased less than a month ago. Thankfully, my children were smart enough to find the secret passageway to the jack. Meanwhile, I was under the dusty car trying to detach the spare I’d never had to use.

By now the boys were devouring the groceries and I was really starting to get concerned. The spare was stuck. I was able to lower it a few inches, but I couldn’t get it to drop. The manual was no help, there was obviously something wrong with the release.

We grabbed a few things and started walking toward home. Shortly thereafter, we came upon a clearing to a nearby pasture. That’s when I noticed an oil truck pumping oil out of the pasture’s tank battery.

SWEET CIVILIZATION! HE MUST HAVE A CELL PHONE!

When we arrived at the tank battery, I knocked on the door to the diesel powered truck. Startled by the presence of a woman and three children with no vehicle in sight, the man immediately offered us cold water.

Do you have any Frappes?

“No, thank you…” I replied, “…do you uh… do you happen to have a cell phone I could borrow?”

Trying to contain my excitement to be reunited with modern technology, I then proceeded to carefully dial the number to the man who rescues me time after time.

 

Stonefish April 13, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,Family,Musings,Nature,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 4:18 am
Tags: , ,

When it comes to dinner, I’m usually the type to fly by the seat of my pants and throw something together according to my hormones, the phase of the moon, time constraints and the state of my taste buds.

Having not thawed anything for dinner, I adorned my men with spinners, worms and bobbers and sent them to the nearest waterway to catch it.

I also may have barked something about not coming back unless they had a fish.


Maybe I should have been more specific.

Being that I still had to feed my family fairly quick, I dug around in the freezer until I unearthed a bag of shrimp. It would have to do considering the fish my men delivered was inedible. Flakey, yes, but not at all like its edible counterpart.

 

 
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