Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

I am an ordinary woman, with an amazing family, serving an awesome God.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


I found humor in the different hats worn at The Californio's.

 This fellow below is my favorite. I love the angle of his hat - cracks me up! Oh, yeah, and notice the dirty, sweaty discoloration? That means he is most likely a working cowboy or rancher, and wears it every day.

 And this little girl was so cute. She kept trying on her daddy's hat.
So now you have your daily dose of hats. :)

The Californio's ~ Part 3

Off The Ropes.

     Ideally, a cowboy will take a young horse and train it carefully, working and working to get it just how he likes it. Cowboys and buckaroos put a lot of time and effort into producing a horse that is well-trained and helps them do their job easier.
     But sometimes when they are on a big outfit, they have to ride horses from the ranch's herd. In most cases, they aren't trained to a T, often being turned out for a season without being ridden, having many different cowboys come and go - each one using slightly different methods of training... it can make horses that can work, but often have quirks and bad habits. This event was trying to simulate that experience - the horses were all real ranch horses, and the cowboys were able to talk with the owner about the bad habits that each horse had developed.
     Just like the first day riding a new horse pulled out of the remuda - they had to get on, and go doctor cattle, despite the issues that the horse may have. They just need to get the job done.
     Horse-whispering is fine, when you have time. But when there's a job to be done - you don't have the luxury of time.
     So, here is the highlights of the 'Off The Ropes' event.
 This was my favorite rider. He was laughing the whole time, fanning the horse, and on top of that - he was somewhere in the vicinity of 60 years old! One tough old cowboy.
He went from this,

To this. In a matter of a few minutes. Gettin' the job done.
 Then there was this fellow. He didn't even get on his horse, before it blew up.
Lost the rope.

 There was a lot of fast action here, boys. I thought for a minute that the horse would go right on over on top of him. But it didn't, thankfully.
 This was the only event that was this fast. And wow! It was fast! He lost his hat somewhere...

Never mind. Dave Weaver will return it. :)
 Here he is a few minutes later.

 Roping with the same horse that didn't want him on his back a bit earlier.

     These, my friends, are real cowboys. They aren't just trying to hang on for 8 seconds. They have to get the horse under control and get to work. They are real artists. Whether they come from Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Wyoming, or Utah. They know horses, they know cattle, and they know how to work both in a manner best for both. And themselves, of course. :)

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Californio's ~ Part 2

Here they come!

                                          Old Glory.
       Respect while the National Anthem is sung.
 Here is an example of some of the roping. My photography skills are still obviously lacking, and for some reason I couldn't get the focus right in most of my pictures. But you can get the idea. This yearling was headed, and has been caught by one back foot - and this buckaroo is catching the front feet.

     Got him down and set the ropes. All done in a relatively slow and smooth manner. I was surprised how much I enjoyed watching these events. I was fully prepared to get bored out of my head. I took books, my Ipod, and writing notebooks. But I ended up sitting  in the stands with My Cowboy most of the time. Except a few times that this pregnant lady had to go eat.
     It was like beautiful music. The cowboys worked the cattle smoothly, quietly, and with experience. Sure, they made mistakes, but they were good. The background music was soothing, traditional, cowboy songs - not thundering country music.
 The judges: From left to right - (I can't remember the first judges name), Martin Black, and Dave Weaver. It was kind of neat to see such good hands in person. We had only seen them on instructional DVD's, so far.
 The arena. They only used about 1/4 of the arena for the actual competition, andother 1/4 for warm-up space, and the rest was curtained off.  Huge place! The spectators you see here comprised about 3/4 of the total crowd. It was nice that there weren't too many people. My Cowboy is in this photo - can you spot him? :)

The Californio's ~ Part 1

     In May, 2012, My Cowboy and I had the privilege of attending The Californios Ranch Roping and Stock Horse Contest.
     We found a babysitter, and made a romantic getaway out of it. Yes - cowboys (and their wives) consider a rodeo romantic. We would rather spend our time together at a livestock event than push through crowded cities and sit on smelly subway cars. OK - cattle can be smelly, too, but we are used to that smell!
     Anyways. We decided to drive to Reno, Nevada, where the event was held. I thought the reason for the driving was to see some country that we hdn't seen before...
Like this forsaken Big Basin country:
   Later I realized the main idea was to be able to stop in various NV towns, and browse the popular buckaroo-style cowboy shops. Like J.M. Capriola's, in Elko, NV. It was worth it. The gear was amazing!

 Driving through more least we're getting closer! I can see snowcaps again, which means Reno is coming up.
 Finally arrived. A 16-hour drive from our place. Not including stops at interesting cowboy shops.
 Along with the rodeo, they had a trade show set up along the edges of the arena. I loved this stand of silk scarves! My Cowboy bought us each one.
J.M. Capriola's had a booth set up at the trade show. As did Hitching Post Supply - where I get a lot of Mohair cinch cord for my cinches.

 The trophy saddles. Each member of the winning went home with a top-notch saddle.

 They each had the official Californio's-carved silver concho on them.

    I thought they were beautiful. I also thought My Cowboy can make saddles that are just as beautiful.
He  would say I am prejudiced.

Stay tuned for more Californio's posts.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Ranch Rodeo - LaGrange, WY

Today was the day of the Ranch Rodeo in LaGrange, WY.
LaGrange is a small town east of here - almost into Nebraska. It boasts a whopping population of 448 people. But it has the advantage of being smack-dab in the middle of ranch country, which means working cowboys. Guys that cowboy for a living on real ranches. And they like to have fun on a weekend, too. So they get together and have their own rodeos. Very low-key, small scale affairs. everyone knows someone, usually several of the competitors. My Cowboy knew several team members and one of the judges. Because they are our neighbors and friends. They come to the brandings on this ranch, and My Cowboy goes to theirs.

We went specifically to watch this team compete, since they are all neighbors and friends.

                                Mark Homner heading a steer for the calf-branding portion.

 'Branding' the calf with cold irons.
 The wild-cow milking portion. They have to milk a wild cow into a bottle - they just have to get enough so that they can pour some out. Sometimes it's only a few drops! :)
 Steer roping.
 There are 4-man (or woman) teams, and each team has to complete 4 tasks within a time limit. In this case - 8 minutes for all 4 events. Each local ranch rodeo can be slightly different. The four events most ranch rodeos are made up of include:
Wild-cow milking.
Steer roping.
Trailer loading.

Keep in mind that the cattle are numbered, and they have to pick out their assigned bovine to work with. It looks alot easier than it is!

It was a real scorcher, for Wyoming. It hit 100* at 4 pm. But despite the heat, it was interesting to watch.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Behind The Scenes...

...of a real life mom.

I read a quote recently that went like this:

                        "The reason we struggle with insecurity is
           because we compare our behind-the-scenes
           with everyone else's highlight reel." 
                                                                                 ~Steve Furtick

I have to agree. So often we see some one doing something cool, something crafty, something artsy, something frugal, and we go: "Wow! I wish I could do that! All I ever do is cook, laundry, change diapers, cook, and clean up. I must be boring, or not very talented, unorganized, un-frugal, etc, etc."

I know. I have felt that feeling too often. I look at my friends blogs or FB posts of beautiful gardens, artsy paintings, delicious dishes, fun outings with their kids - and then look around my house and see this:

And this:

                                                     (At least I made my bed! ) :)
       And I think; "Man. What am I doing wrong?? How come I work all day and still can't get on top of things? "

     The problem is, I am asking the wrong question. I should be asking myself what I did today? Well, the answer to that is easier... I got out of bed at 6 am to make breakfast for my Man. I cooked three meals a day, (my husband comes home for lunch, yay!!) I fed/watered my chickens, I watered my garden, and pulled a few weeds. Then I did a couple loads of laundry, baked some bread and maybe sat and read 5 or 10 books to my preschooler. Maybe I talked to my daughter about the book she's reading, or listened to my son explain his invented paper airplane. I sat with my husband and discussed life. I called a lonesome friend.
     Ok, this is not an actual diary of any particular day - just an example of an ordinary day for me. I do have cleaning/organizational disfunction, I will freely admit that. But my thought is - we do ourselves no favors by comparing ourselves to someone else. And maybe we bloggers do no one any favor by always and only showing our 'highlight reel'. That's fun and tempting to do - I do it on this blog all the time. But the behind-the-scenes is not as glam, not as artsy, and certainly not as photo-friendly, but alot more real.
     And we live real lives. Ok, maybe no one else lets their house get as messy as mine before cleaning it, (yikes!) but we probably all have some areas that we struggle with. I want you to know you're not alone, and there is hope. Messy rooms can be cleaned...

 ...and the most important things in life are not things anyways, right? :) The smiles of happy kids, the relationship with your husband, most importantly the relationship you cultivate with God your Father - these are the things that matter in Life.