Coyote Soup

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

A Belated Monday List October 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 10:33 am
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1. When one gets a dog, one should always take into consideration all possible indirect expenses of caring for them.
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e.g. computer cords.

I was all set to jot down my Monday list yesterday when I noticed my computer cord had been chewed almost entirely in half.

I thought I could pick up a new cord for around $20. Turns out cords are more approximately $75.

Needless to say, this was a depressing realization for me.

2. So I made butterscotch pie.
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And the world was a happier place.

3. Then my grandmother called to tell me my brother had left some knives at her house for my boys.
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Because my brother lives so far from me, we often exchange items at her house because her house is the half-way house.

Not to be confused with the halfway house.

“Your brother left some knives here for the boys,” she informed me.

“Knives?” I asked.

“Yeah. He said he told the boys that if they made straight A’s on their report cards, he’d buy them knives. And they’re really big ones too,” she said.

Big?

“Like how big? Like machete big? Or Samurai big?” I inquired.

“I dunno, but I do know they’re bigger than a switch blade knife,” she said, “and they’ve got a lifetime warranty.”

Great.

That’s all my kids need. Weapons that will last them a lifetime.

“Ok, I’ll be by later to pick them up,” I replied.

4. Speaking of knives, we finally carved our Halloween jack-o-lanterns over the weekend.

We, meaning me.

My children were not allowed to operate the carving knife.

5. However, I did allow my 5-year-old to operate my car.
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6. My boys started wrestling yesterday.

Being a wrestler requires special shoes, and because my boys waited until the last-minute to inform me of the need for the shoes until the day of practice, I was forced to buy them while they were at school.

Which means they wouldn’t be able to try them on.

Fortunately, my 9-year-old and I wear the same size shoe.

So there I was in the store with my purse slung across my shoulder, trying on wrestling shoes .

Apparently, this is typical because none of the salesmen said a word.

7. Getting to the bus stop early to pick up your kids can make for a boring wait.
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Unless your brother happens to get your young children dangerously large big game hunting knives in which case your time can be well spent splicing computer cords that have been chewed by dogs.

8. Last night, the sunset was amazing.
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9. Utterly amazing.

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10. Not to be confused with udderly amazing.

 

The Cake Truck October 25, 2012

Filed under: ranching — Piper Long @ 6:31 am
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Cattle guards are a wonderful invention.

They are typically used in place of gates where the fence meets the roadway to keep cattle from wandering over into the wrong pasture. They save hurried ranch wives oodles of time that would otherwise be spent parking the car, getting out of the car, opening the gate, getting back in the car, driving through the open gate, parking the car, getting out of the car and closing the gate.

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Up until recently our cattle guards have done an outstanding job guarding the gate area.

But recently, the cattle have been jumping the cattle guards.

Some are even tippy-toeing across and gathering at a green patch of grass near the house.

“Why do they keep jumping the cattle guard?” Drover asked, looking out the kitchen window. “The gate was open when I came in and the cows were nowhere in sight. It’s not like they don’t have plenty of food in their pasture.”

“You wanna know why?” I asked, drying my hands on the kitchen towel. “It’s because you drive all over this ranch, handin out that cake grain from your truck. Sure they’ve got food lyin around, but you’ve got cake. You’re like the ice cream truck, only with cake. Heifers will do anything for cake.”

Drover looked at me and I could see the corners of his mouth turn up ever so slightly. And with that he headed out the door to resume his cake truck route.

As soon as the cows heard the sounds of the cake truck in the distance, their ears perked up.
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And they began to follow.
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Until they noticed the fresh, healthy greens on the opposite side of the road.

Oh the dilemmas of life.

Healthy greens… or cake?
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Cake!

Definitely cake!

 

Beyond Bird Creek October 18, 2012

Filed under: ranching,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 9:02 am
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I love fall. I would love it even more if it didn’t come with colds and allergies.

The other day, I was fighting off my first cold of the season.

I was curled up under a cozy blanket on the couch armed with a box of Kleenex, cold medicine and the remote control. The kids were off to school and the laundry was in the wash when Drover walked in wearing a denim Wrangler shirt, a pair of faded Wrangler jeans and spurs.

“I’m not feeling so good today,” I informed him from the couch where I was irrevocably stationed. “I think I’ve got a cold.”

He sympathized with me for about .45 seconds and said, “Well get your boots on, I wanna show you the land across the creek.”

Drover had been so busy since we moved that he hadn’t had a chance to show me all of the land at the ranch. Exploring the back acreage would knock one more section off the list of places to see out here, plus I’d get some idea of what I’m in for when we start building new fences over there this fall.

“Ok,” I replied, pulling an inordinant amount of 2-ply Kleenex from the tissue box. “But I’ll have to go barefoot. I just painted my toenails.”

He looked at me, glanced down at my bright red toes and gave a sort of nod before clanging his way back outside to saddle the horses.

When I got outside, Drover already had Hoyt saddled for me.
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Hoyt was just a colt when Drover gave him to me, about 15 years ago, while we were still dating. I kept him in the pen just down the hill from my parent’s house, where I would feed and brush and spoil him daily.

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But it was Drover who trained him, eventually breaking him to ride.
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Once we crossed Bird Creek, it was all completely new to me.
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There was pasture land, another creek named Clem Creek and miles of an old railway path which included an old bridge with tunnels.

But I couldn’t get over the view on this ridge.

It’s amazing what you can find in your own back yard!
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I don’t even know where we are in this picture, nor do I know how to get there again.

But I was informed that this would be one of the many places where we will be building fence in the very near future.

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I’m pretty sure if you looked up tranquility in the dictionary, you’d see this picture.

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Or maybe this one.

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If this isn’t enough to make a girl feel better, I don’t know what is.

 

I’ve Done Decided. October 15, 2012

Filed under: Musings — Piper Long @ 8:14 am
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1. I’ve decided that I like color in my world.
I can always count on the leaves to fill this void in my life.
Consequently, fall is my new favorite time of year.
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2. I’ve decided that rain is a true blessing.
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Especially if it’s enough rain to fill 7 ponds.
Because any more than that could be too much.

Any less would be a slap in the face.

3. I’ve decided that white pants and boys do not mesh well.
Especially in football. They shouldn’t be wearing them after labor day anyway, right?
It’s a fashion faux pas.

Therefore, they should be off limits for football players altogether.

4. I’ve decided that I like westerns a lot better when Audrey Hepburn is the leading lady.

It saddens me that she was only in one.

It’s also saddens me that she was only one year younger than me in ‘The Unforgiven’ and Drover thought she was a teenager.

Maybe it’s time for a makeover.

5. I’ve decided that long hair and ranching does not mesh well.
Unless you’re Audrey Hepburn, in which case it’s not an issue.
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What was I thinking when I got a shaggy dog to live on the ranch?

6. I’ve decided that pecans are the perfect food.
Especially when they are in a pie.

You get your protein, fiber, antioxidants, sugar fix, bread group and with a big glass of whole milk, your dairy group.

Is it wrong that I considered these facts when rationalizing the idea of serving Chocolate Double Pecan Pie as dinner?

7. I’ve decided that I like that my boys have 3 day weekends throughout the school year.
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I reserve the right to change my mind on any given weekend.

8. I’ve decided that snot has no real purpose in life.

I don’t care what anyone else says.

9. I’ve decided that I missed my calling as a wildlife photographer.
This picture is living proof.

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The bug on this wildflower is obviously posing for my camera.

10. I’ve decided that my life would not be complete without this man.

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Fight! October 9, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 12:45 pm
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Over the weekend, Drover (aka my husband) saddled me up and took me with him to the farm to assist him in roping a calf that was feeling a little under the weather so we could give her a dose of medicine.

Fortunately this didn’t actually entail me roping the calf or we’d have been in trouble.

That’s where Drover comes in handy.

For him, it seems, roping is innate. In our 14 years together, I’ve never seen him practice his roping skills. It’s always been a spur-of-the-moment-on-the-job type situation.

How he steers his horse and ropes a full grown cow or a wriggly little calf is beyond me.

I didn’t get those genes.

Once the calf was medicated, we decided that the rest of the cows were going to need a little coaxing to get them to go out the gate that we intentionally left open a week ago so that they could access the pasture with grass that was more than a few inches tall.

Here’s the thing with cows and gates.

1. Cows will only go through a gate that has been left open by accident.
2. Cows will only go through a gate that has been left open intentionally if bribed.

It’s reverse psychology.

I think.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, the bulls got into it for one reason or another or no reason at all.
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Honest to Pete, the pictures do not do this fight justice. The force with which these bulls hit is ridiculous.

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“Um… excuse me, fellas… but could y’all just scooch over a tad so I can squeeze through the gate there…fellas?”

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“Ya know, on second thought, I’ll just….try the back way.”

 

Pop Quiz! October 8, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 9:34 am
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1. These bulls are:
A.) Having a rational political conversation.
B.) Fighting over the last remaining blade of green grass.
C.) Male.

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2. The person on the horse is:
A.) Me
B.) The Headless Horseman
C.) Drover

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3. The boy in this picture:
A.) Is ashamed to be wearing a hat he found on the road near the Drummond ranch.
B.) Hates candy.
C.) Won 1st place in the Tulsa State Fair Bubble Gum Bubble Blowing Competition over the weekend.

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4. The Hereford in this picture:
A.) Is the class clown of the herd.
B.) Can touch her tongue to her nose.
C.) Both A and B.

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5. This little cowboy is:
A.) Adorable
B.) Precious
C.) All of the above

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6. These kittens are:
A.) Adorable
B.) Precious
C.) All of the above

Through the gate
7. This horse’s name is:
A.) Trouble
B.) Trigger
C.) Cattle

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8. Today is:
A.) Monday
B.) Columbus Day
C.) Both A and B

Answers: 1. C 2. C 3. C 4. C 5. C 6. C 7. C 8. C

They’re all C!!!

Happy Monday ya’ll!

 

A Good Seed October 4, 2012

Filed under: Gardening,Musings,Uncategorized — Piper Long @ 12:38 pm
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Once upon a time, I lived on a farm.

On this farm, I had a garden.

It was a good garden. Free from weeds. Fertile. Full of only good seeds and plants. Surrounded by lush, soft, beautiful green grass that smelled heavenly when cut. I’m obsessed with the smell of fresh cut grass lately. Mostly because the drought has deprived me of the scent I didn’t realize I craved. I smelled it for the first time in a long time when Drover mowed the few blades of grass in our yard the other day. I’ve been in a state of euphoria ever since.

Looking back at old pictures of this garden, I remember the euphoria it imposed upon me. And not just the garden, but the farm in general. The farm that has been in my family for years and years and will continue to be in my family for as long as I live. It’s the farm that we spent so much time restoring and manicuring. We built 4 big, new barns to replace the ones destroyed by the tornado. We dug nice deep ponds that filled with water back when it rained. We stretched sturdy, tight fences that actually contained the livestock we put behind them. For the most part.

In other words, we worked hard on this dairy farm.

‘We’ meaning Drover for the most part, I helped as best I could.

Each day I would throw my hair up in a bun and wrap it in a doo rag and head out to help Drover take care of whatever needed to be taken care of.

Looking back now it seems this typically involved dealing with manure.

Scraping manure from the lot… scrubbing manure from the walls of the barn… shoveling manure out of the chicken house…

My hair just wasn’t ever up for any of this. Hence the doo rag.

I don’t know why, but for some reason this picture always reminds me of the time when there was a thick layer of snow on the ground and I was going out to feed the bottle calves. Instead of just stopping at the doo rag, I decided to add a warm black knitted stocking hat… the kind that not only goes over your head, but your entire face with cutouts for the eyes, and mouth.

It also happened to be the day the vet was coming out to preg check some cows. He was dressed in Levi’s, a flannel shirt and a Carhart vest. No hat. I remember him looking at me with smiling eyes, trying to hide his amusement and saying, “Oh come on… it’s not THAT cold!”

Clutching the bottle carriers in both hands, making my way toward the barn, I tried to respond, to defend my cozy head piece, but by then the knit cap had worked its way up over my mouth and all that came out was mumbles.

Which brings me to where we are now.

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Gardening at the ranch.

The ranch that has been in Drover’s family for many, many years.

The ranch that we decided needed a little sprucing up…. new fences… new ponds… new barns… new garden…

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It’s a good thing we have three little braves to help us out.

They’re pretty good boys.

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This one here…

He’s a good seed.

I think I’ll keep him.

 

A Dent in my Car October 3, 2012

Filed under: Musings — Piper Long @ 8:52 am
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There’s a dent in my car,
It twasn’t my fault.
Tis the spot where my horse’s hiney
came to a halt.
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He was minding his own,
eating feed from the truck,
When he was startled by someone,
Who spoiled his luck.

Cause when a horse finds some feed,
it is fortunate you see…
Cause bicycle seats
aren’t quite as tasty.

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Tis a good thing I saw this
after the fact,
the horse pen was built
to hold me back.

Through the gate

 

A Monday list, 8 hours 10 minutes late. October 2, 2012

Filed under: Musings — Piper Long @ 7:10 am
Tags: , , ,

1. Ticks take all the fun out of an unexpected, spontaneous stroll through the woods.
Especially teeny tiny eensy weensy seed ticks that your five-year-old can barely see good enough to remove with your best pair of tweezers.

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2. Never underestimate an old cow’s greatest strength.
She might just hold the title of Head Butting Champion of the Herd. In which case, it might not be easy to rope her and load her in the trailer without going head-to-head with her.

3. Cinnamon Rolls are quite effective at removing kids from their 3″ memory foam topped mattresses.

4. Smoke alarms work well too.

5. Together, they’re brilliant.
Especially when the smoke was produced from the dripping buttery sweetness bubbling over the dish, having no effect on the deliciousness of the cinnamon rolls.

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6. If you see a cowboy hat on the side of the road near the Drummond ranch, just keep driving. It’s prolly worn out.
Because if your kids are anything like mine, they’ll want to wear it anyway. Nevermind that they have nice, new fitted cowboy hats that are clean.

 

Cattle Drive September 24, 2012

Filed under: ranching — Piper Long @ 11:37 am
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cattle drive

Yesterday, Drover and I loaded up our horses and our three little braves and headed up to Kansas to drive our cattle out of their summer pastures down to the corrals to be sorted, sold or relocated for the winter. You’d think I’d be excited about this sort of thing, most real cowgirls are. The thing is, I’m not a real cowgirl. I’ve been a cowgirl against my will for about 14 years now and I STILL get nervous about working with large groups of cows.

Yesterday was no exception.

The cattle drive was to take place on my brother-in-law’s Kansas ranch. Since my brother-in-law and his family don’t live on this ranch, I’m not very familiar with it. I’d never been to the parts of the ranch we would be driving the cattle through. Nor had the cattle.

Normally, this wouldn’t be much of a problem… only I was the leader. It was going to be like the blind leading the blind…. A whole herd of blind.

What could possibly go wrong with that?

About 5 minutes before arriving, I was given the following instructions from Drover.

“You’re going to drive the truck and hopefully, the cows will follow. Just take the county road to the pasture. Go through the gate, past the pond, up the hill and find the cows. Once you get all the cows gathered, lead them back down the hill past the pond, through the gate and down the road. Don’t let them get in the neighbor’s pasture. Then just take them to the corral.”

“Which pasture belongs to the neighbor? And where is the corral?” I asked.

“Well.. the pasture is… you’ll see it. The corrals are up near the house,” he replied, “You’ll figure it out, don’t worry.”

When we got there I was relieved to see my brother-in-law and his son, who is currently in medical school, both armed with glorious ATV’s.

“Are they going to help us?!” I asked Drover, trying to contain my excitement that we might actually have enough hands to pull this off.

“I think so,” Drover replied.

At that point Drover and children waved me off as they disappeared into the field while I took the county road to the meadow where the cows were grazing.

When I got to the pasture, I found 6 head of cows and thought my luck couldn’t have been any better today! Surely the other cows were nearby. This was gonna be easy peasy. I’ll just wait for everyone to mosey on over to me.

So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

No more cows.

This meant I was going to have to drive across the ravine to retrieve the rest of the herd.

I dreaded driving across the ravine. It was steep, narrow and full of sharp rocks.

With my hands gripping the steering wheel and my foot glued to the brake, I eased my way down the rocky ravine without incidence. Making it up out of the ravine was another story. About 10 yards up the ravine, I slid sideways.

Crap.

I certainly didn’t want to slide off into the deep part of the ravine.

I immediately stopped and frantically started looking for the 4-wheel-drive button, but it wasn’t there. Where the heck is the 4-wheel-drive?! My panic was intensifying. I know how to shift this truck in 4-wheel-drive, I’ve done it before, but my mind won’t stop fretting over the position I’m in long enough to tell my hands what to do.

That’s when my brother-in-law pulls up in his ATV with my 5-year-old wrapped around his waist.

“Can you get it in 4 wheel drive?” he asks.

“Where is the 4-wheel-drive?” I asked, mortified that these words were even coming out of my mouth.

“To your right, by the center console,” he kindly replied.

My right side was cluttered with cowboy hats, shirts, styrofoam cups, keys, papers and fishing supplies. I shoved everything aside. Of course! Ugh. I shifted it in 4WD and crawled up the ravine to find the cows grazing about, unconcerned with my problems.

While we waited on the rest of the gang, I decided to confirm the directions with my brother-in-law to make sure I wasn’t missing anything.

“So… we’re just taking them down the way I came in, right? Down the county road?” I asked.

“Yup,” he replied.

“Okay, just wanted to make sure we weren’t cutting through any pastures,” I said.

“Oh, yeah, when you get on the county road, go about 500 yards then you’re going to cut through the pasture, follow the creek around the edge of the pasture, then when you cross the rocky creek bottom, go about 50 yards and turn through the gate, go down the lane and through the gate across another pasture to the green gate. Then you’ll see the house, then just drive on through the pastures there toward the house.”

Uh. Ok.

I hopped in the truck and hollered for the cows to gather round so I can relay the game plan.

Soon Drover and our oldest 2 boys showed up on horseback along with yet another cowboy who I later learned used to cowboy at the Mullendore Ranch.

God loves me.

cattle drive

I led the cows back through the ravine, across the top pasture, down the hill, past the pond, out the gate – careful to keep them away from the openings to the neighbor’s pasture – leading them 300 yards out on the county road. Then Drover steers his horse up ahead of me another 200 yards and waits for me at the gate.

cattle drive

I turned in the gate, followed the tree line, that I assumed was the creek line, crossed over the rocky creek bed and happened upon the Mullendore cowboy.

“Hello there!” he greeted me from atop his horse.

“Hi!” I hollered over the diesel engine of the truck.

“Do you know where you’re going?” he asked.

Great. I’ve gone the wrong way. Now I’m lost. And I’ve taken a whole herd of cows with me.

“Not really, I think there’s supposed to be a gate up here I’m supposed to go through,” I replied.

“Yes ma’am! It’s the one on your left, leading down the lane. I’ll block the entrance to the other gate for you. After that, just kinda head in that general direction. If I see you’re going in the wrong direction, I’ll try to get up there to help you.”

When we come out of the lane, I can see a homestead that I’m hoping is the homestead we started at this morning. From this angle, it’s hard to tell. There’s silage, hay galore, lots of big red barns I hadn’t noticed before and cows that didn’t belong to us. I look back at Drover and see him motion toward the corner of the pasture. Somehow I make it up to the corrals and find Drover’s nephew, the medical student, ready to catch the cattle in the corral.

Miraculously, we not only got the cows in the corral, but we also got them sorted and sold without any major mishaps.

 

 
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