Coyote Soup

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

Class Pictures September 26, 2011

Filed under: Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 11:47 pm
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Yesterday, I decided it was time to take school pictures of all the boys. It’s not so much that I don’t take enough pictures of them as it is and post them all over the internet for unsuspecting blog visitors to view, but more that I just don’t always take wallet worthy photos of all three of them. And it just so happens that many of the grandparents who actually enjoy seeing pictures of my children, don’t know how to navigate my blog. Or the Internet.

Plus I needed some pictures for my wallet on the off chance that one of the grandparents would take the kids for like a whole day. That way if I ran into someone who hadn’t seen me and my three attachments, I’d have proof of their existence in my wallet.

So rather than putting the grandparents through any more worry than they have already been subjected to in the fact that I’ll be responsible for their descendent’s education, I decided to maintain the yearly school picture ritual.

I’m also thinking about starting up a fundraiser. After all, what’s an education without fundraisers?

In honor of school picture day, I told the boys they couldn’t go fishing until AFTER school. Otherwise, I’m sure there would be fish in their school picture… they’d be all stinky… the cats would smell the stench and decide to join in the pictures… then the dog would get jealous …and before long we’d look like The Clampetts.

Wouldn’t be the first time.

So I lined the boys up, scrubbed ’em down, dressed ’em up, and hauled them out to the backyard for a photo shoot.

Here’s the official class picture.


A Girl on the Ranch

Filed under: Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 9:12 am
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I always enjoy having people out to the ranch for the fist time. And I especially love when those people are children who have never been on a ranch before. This weekend, my boys had a few friends over, and surprisingly, one of the boys’ sister wanted to tag along.

No one was more excited about this than me!

My excitement soon turned to panic as I realized I hadn’t been around a young girl in many years. I wasn’t sure I remembered how to do girlie things.

Luckily, she was game for anything, including a trip to the creek for some fishing.

I couldn’t help but smile at some of the things she said along the way. It reminded me of myself at one point in time. Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“Ugh! I just hit a tree.”

“Ew! I just stepped in poop!”

“I fell in.” (…the creek)


“Oh! What a pretty flower!”

“I think it was a girl cause it didn’t have that stuff on its head.” (…on seeing a doe)

“What’s a doe?”

“A who?” (…on catching a carp)

“How do you get your cows to stay in without a fence?”

“You meant to say resting, right?” (…on telling her the chickens were roosting.)

“It’s a snake egg!”

I love girls. I think I need one.


Almost Fencing September 20, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,Musings,ranching — Piper Long @ 11:29 pm
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As you well know, I’ve been having some issues with my chickens staying put in their pen. I suspect it has something to do with the fact that I’ve never actually gotten around to completing the chicken pen.

For the longest time, it was just too hot to stretch fence.

Then it was too rainy.

And well lately, with clear skies and high temps in the upper 70’s, I’ve decided it’s just too… pretty.

I had all but resolved to let my feathered friends run loose anyhow until recently when the rooster showed up and decided to take up residence on the porch. I had decided that having them run loose in the yard was quite beneficial. And it is. They keep the scorpion population under control….they fertilize the yard… they mingle well with the dogs… the cats… the kids… the cows….

…which brings me to the bigger fencing conundrum on the ranch.

Containing the horses and cows.

This too hasn’t been much of a problem….

…until the cows got thirsty and decided that the water in the dog/cat/chicken community water tub was much more refreshing than the nearby pond.

Which is why my husband has made a month-long committment to do nothing but clean out fence rows and ponds with the bulldozer.

Meaning I have now received the month-long assignment to deliver lunches.

For the past three days, this has involved me packing a wholesome lunch and refreshing drink up and down hills, over rocks and trees, through brush and briers and rattlesnake dens to the remote location of my husband and the dozer.

Of course the horses are aware of this arrangement. I’m not sure how they got word. Maybe the cows told them. Regardless, they have opted to stay far, far away from the house.

If only we had good fences to keep them close-by…


On my windowsill September 16, 2011

Lately, my windowsills have been quite the popular hangout. Aside from my kids, here are a few of the animals hanging out on my windowsill.

1. Chickens

I got a new rooster.
He was given to my Papa’s friend, Ken, who before Fred The Rooster arrived, had exactly no chickens. Apparently, Ken was driving down the road with one hand on the wheel and the other around the rooster when he met my Papa coming in the opposite direction.

“Ken, what on earth are you doing driving around with a rooster?” Papa asked.

“Do you need one?” Ken countered.

“Well, I bet my granddaughter could use one,” Papa volunteered.

So now I have a rooster.

The rooster still doesn’t realize we have a chicken coop.

Fred immediately took a liking to the feathered females running loose in my yard. In fact, he’s been so preoccupied with them that he hasn’t even noticed we have a chicken coop on the premises. And being so tired by days end, he has since made himself at home on the front porch. Along with all 7 of my hens.

If you’ve ever owned chickens for any amount of time, you know that having them on your porch for even a minute is catastrophic. But when they go and roost on your porch for 10 hours, you may as well find another exit.

So every night we move him and all 7 hens to the chicken coop. Fred is so tired he doesn’t even realize he’s been relocated to his appropriate sleeping quarters. All he knows by morning is that he’s got a lot of work to do.

2. Kittens
One of my antique windows in the kitchen is somehow missing it’s screen. I’m not sure how this has happened, but I think it means I need a new RED window to replace it. Regardless, because of the missing screen, it is always adorned with kitten drool. The drool, of course, dries and leaves the window with a rather dirty appearance. Partly because it is dirty, but mostly because the kittens are relentless in their efforts.

And just between you, me and the fence post… I was the instigator of the kitten drool.

One morning, while clearing the table after a full breakfast of fried eggs, sausage and biscuits, I noticed one of the kittens sleeping peacefully on the windowsill. So before heading out to give the dogs their morning treats, I woke the adorable sleeping kitten to offer a few scraps. It really wasn’t much, just a little nibble of leftover egg.

And I have regretted it ever since and will probably continue to regret it ’till my dyin’ day.

From now on I will always let sleeping cats lie.

That little stinker told his brother, then his brother told his mother, and now every time I look out any given window in my house, there is a kitten with it’s wet nose pressed up against the glass begging me for food.

Now all of my windows have kitten slobber on them.

And I can’t even blame my kids for it.

3. Tree Frogs
Every evening, there is a tree frog on my dining room window sill. And every evening, we watch him for a bit and try to see if we can catch his tongue in action.

We assume it is a male since he is alone. We reason that females are probably not alone. I’m not sure why we reason this. There is no scientific evidence to support this hypothesis. It just is. Earlier this week, our suspicions were confirmed when we noticed two tree frogs dining on the bugs outside our dining room window. The male frog had obviously brought a date.

Apparently, though, it didn’t work out. We haven’t seen the female since.


Drought Resistant Flowering Annuals September 14, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,Gardening,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 5:52 am
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When I first started learning about plants, at around age 18, I remember the greenhouse owner pointing out certain plants that were “drought tolerant.”

Like, why do I need like, drought tolerant plants or whatever? I thought.

I like, have a like, steady supply of, like rural water… and I like plan to give them water, like daily n-stuff.

I didn’t really talk like that at 18.

I was like totally mature… n-stuff.


So because I paid no attention to the wisdom of the greenhouse owner, I watered my plants. But I usually ended up watering every other day… and then every couple of days… and then maybe once a week. But still… in my 12 years of gardening at the farm, they always performed beautifully.

Then I recently moved to the desert.

I mean ranch.

And I had a not-so-steady supply of well water. The natural, steady rains ceased. And the word “drought” began popping up more and more. Most of my plants decided they simply were not going to “tolerate” it any longer.

The dogs, cats and chickens all thought it was absolutely wonderful and completely brilliant that I would have nothing but dirt in my flowerbeds.

Seriously, this is like, totally awesome to like, have soft dirt to like lay on n-stuff.

They were so agreeable, in fact, that they loathed in the dirt on a daily basis with their heads resting on each other’s hind end.

Not really, but close.

There were however, two varieties of flowering annuals that survived it all.

The prolific Vinca. Which flowers beautifully until frost, re-seeds and allows the offspring to appear the following year. I typically only buy a six-pack of the Vinca each spring, plant them where I expect the seeds to emerge, and let the new seedlings fill in around the existing plant.

And the other remaining plant in my flowerbed….

…came in a two-inch pot. I can’t remember the name. But it’s a keeper.


Sundays, continued September 12, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,cows,Musings,ranching — Piper Long @ 9:15 am
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Speaking of Sunday mornings, yesterday I helped my husband sort out a few cows that needed to be taken to the Monday sale at the Tulsa Stockyards. It all went quite smooth. In fact, we got the cows to the sale and ended up moving an Angus bull to another pasture without any problems. None whatsoever.

It was actually a bit dull.

So upon returning from the Tulsa Stockyards, we decide to move the creep feeder (which is a self feeder for young calves) into another pen. Without disassembling it.

To make things more exciting, I attempted to load this feeder onto the flatbed trailer with nothing but my chin.

My gargantuan biceps had an uncharacteristic moment of inadequacy, forcing my chin to take over. It didn’t go so well. Blood immediately began spewing.

My boys were horrified, the cows unconcerned, me in shock.

Once I got the bleeding under control, I found it was only a minor cut. Nevertheless, I think I will start carrying a first aid kit in a fanny pack around my waist at all times. But first, I’ll need to find a fanny pack.

Do they even still make fanny packs?

On second thought, I’ll just start taking my purse with me to work cows.

Once my biceps recovered from their moment of fatigue, we were able to get the feeder to its intended location. After topping off the creep feeder with some fresh grain, we sat back to admire our accomplishments.

And that’s when we realized the bull we had moved earlier was no longer contained in his new pasture.

It feels so much better to have a normal Sunday.


Sundays September 11, 2011

Filed under: Country Life,cows,Musings,ranching — Piper Long @ 9:56 pm
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Sometimes I don’t make it around to church on Sundays. And while I used to feel guilty about it, I have come to realize that I actually do much more praying on the Sundays that I do miss church as opposed to the Sundays I’m in church.

You see, on the Sundays I miss church, I am usually helping my husband work cattle.

And I always pray when I am helping my husband work cattle.

I pray the cattle will surrender themselves to our every command.

I pray they go into our shotty holding pens. And stay there until we are finished with them.

I pray that the ice cream truck will make a round in our neighborhood and give us an excuse to take a break.

I pray that I will live to see the ice cream truck again.

I pray that I am fast enough to close the sorting gates without being tossed 422.3 feet into the air when a wild cow decides to make a run for it.

I pray that my tremendous upper body strength will perform beyond its intended strength while I operate the headgate.



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