Life on the X-Bar Ranch...

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days are crazy.
People come from all over to The Daddy of 'Em All.
The town fills to the brim with horse trailers, flags and people of all kinds.
I always take my kids to watch the parade.
This year they are in 4H, so they were told they could ride in the 4H float.
Well, the 'float' never showed up, so they walked alongside the mounted 4H club members.
It was a long, hot walk.
Good thing they had hats!

Here comes Old Glory at the start of the parade!
 It is difficult to use a large camera while holding a sleeping baby, and covering her ears from the noise of all the drums and marching bands, so I just snapped pictures of the things that were most interesting to me. :)         
                                   Calgary Stampede Show Riders - for my friend Olga! :)
 This foal was staying close to it's mommy. So cute!
Oh! Here they come! The 4H members. The young man holding the Flag is from my kids club.

 And there they are! Frank is waving grandly at everyone. :) I think Jenni was getting wore out...

And this guy. Craziness. Pure craziness!

And this picture of an Oliver tractor is just for my crazy brother-in-law, Tim. I have no idea who came up with this design, but it sure looks weird.
And that's all folks! If you are ever in the area - check it out! They put on a good parade.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Fabulous Fajitas ~ Venison Recipe

I have eaten Venison since I can remember. I like it ok - but it's not my favorite meat. Still, I have friends ask me from time to time if I have any great recipes for Venison, so I decided to start posting a few of my favorites. And this is the winner - hands down.
It is easy, tasty, and tender.
And you can dress it up or down as much as you please.
So here you go...
Cast of characters:
Pour the oil in a slow-cooker, add spices and mashed garlic.
If anyone knows of a garlic press that actually squeezes the garlic out through those little holes - would do me a huge favor and tell me where to buy it? I hate every garlic press I have ever used. They just press the garlic flat - practically nothing comes out the little holes.
I normally use venison for this recipe, but since we have a freezer full of beef right now, I used beef.
Don't hate me.
Slice the venison into thin strips. Thinner is better.
Then throw the strips in with the spices, and mix well with your hands.
When it is mixed well, it should look like this:
Put the lid on, and cook on low for 6-7 hours. It can go longer, depending on your slow cooker.
When it is done, it will have some savory juices with it. Mmmm!
(note: you won't get as much juice with venison as there is in this photo, cause this is beef, which has a higher fat content.)
When the meat has one hour left to cook, slice a bell pepper and a onion and throw the slices on top of the meat. Normally I do this. I mean, it's fajitas, people! But  for some unknown, strange reason, I didn't. But you should. It's much better that way!
I usually just use a slotted spoon to put some meat on a tortilla, and drop a spoonful of sour cream on top and call it good.
But it is also good with tomatoes, cheese, salsa, you name it.
Fabulous Fajitas Venison Recipe
1 1/2 lbs venison steak, sliced thinly
2 T. olive oil
2 T. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoon. ground cumin
1 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large green pepper, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
Mix all seasonings together in slow cooker, add meat and mix well.
Cover and cook for 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high.
Add onion and pepper for the last one hour.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


When I think of guns, I think of my dad....
6'1" tall, brown as a nut, thanks to the traces of Cherokee blood running in his veins.
Strong and practical and full of real life experiences and knowledge.

I was 5 years old -  sitting in our dim attic, watching him carefully reload shotgun shells with powder and shot, and then placing it in the crimper and pulling the handle - crimping the red edges tightly shut. I would watch, fascinated, never tiring of watching that crimp appear in the top of the shell. It felt cozy in the attic, just me and Daddy.

I sat on the floor cross-legged as a 3rd grader, watching the light flicker on the gun barrel as Dad pushed the ramrod through the barrel again and again. The little square of white cotton would turn black with soot, and then he would oil the barrel. He would look down the empty barrel, and after it was clean and well oiled, he would put it back together. My brothers would be talking with Dad about guns and hunting, and while the scent of gun oil floated through the room, he would tell stories of Meshach Browning and his amazing hunts.

I listened to my four older brothers talk of hunts, and as a teenager, I knew I would hunt one day too. I went to Hunters Education Class when I was 14 years old, applied for my first deer tag when I was 15 and went hunting that fall.

I was excited and scared and proud that I was hunting deer for our table, in the fine tradition of country people. My girlfriends thought I was crazy. My guy friends thought I was cool. I was mostly nervous. I did shoot a deer that first year, at age 15, with some help from my brother. But I was not a crack shot and my many and varied misses gave my friends many a laugh.
                                                        My first deer at age 15

What does all this have to do with the gun debate? Not much.
I just wanted to put it out there what the word means to me.
 It's not a scary word.
It means Daddy and stories and cozy evenings and butchering deer.
 It means getting rid of the coon that's been eating chickens, and target practice on Thanksgiving.
It means teaching little kids that guns are dangerous. (we never had a gun safe, and we never had even a close call.)
It means Aunt Lovina telling my teenage brother that he "better not shoot my wrens!" :)

                                                      My first pronghorn in 2009.
I realize that the gun debate is a hot-button issue and has nothing to do with hunting.
But I think if more people grew up like I did - enjoying guns, using them to shoot many and varied animals, telling stories about them in the firelight... maybe, just maybe, we wouldn't have so many people scared of the very word, unsure how to use them, unable to see them as a good thing. Maybe part of the answer is to stop with the fear-mongering about guns, and start educating our kids, instead of instilling fear into them. Start teaching them the good, instead of making guns the enemy. 'Cause they aren't, you know. Guns are not the enemy, any more than needles kill drug addicts.

Maybe we should send our little boys out to shoot crows and prairie dogs and squirrels with a .22, and they will be too busy to shoot their teachers.

Stay safe... and go learn to shoot a gun. :)

ps - All the animals I have harvested  -  I have also eaten. The reason wild animals are running pell-mell and willy-nilly all over Creation, spreading disease and eating pets and children, is because people are so 'loving' that they don't remember where our food is supposed to come from. Sure, baby deer are cute. So are little lettuce leaves. I eat them both.
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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Walk With A Cowboy

I love taking rambling, slow walks in the coolness of evening. The days heat has dissipated, and the birds are softly calling to each other as they settle on for the night.

This evening I asked My Cowboy to walk with me. He agreed, and we set off. We hadn't gone far when I heard a small voice behind us. 

There was my little girl- wanting to come along! :) Of course, I couldn't say no to her! we continued together. 

Now, My Cowboy enjoys to rope. 'Enjoys' is an understatement! He brought his rope on our walk, and commenced to roping tufts of grass, fence posts, fallen branches, and little girls. 
He'd throw the loop to land in front of her feet - but she nimbly avoided it, mostly. 

It was a pleasant way to end the day. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Allergies...and my new discovery!

Ok, let me start this post with some notes:

1. I normally am very, very skeptical of home remedies, natural healing, and alternative medicine in general.

2. I really, really get tired of people pushing their network marketing program, so I will not 'sell' or push my products. I did sign up as a distributor - basically so I could get the product cheaper - and if this info helps someone, I do have an online storefront you can buy through, and I will earn a commission.

3. I have not been paid for this article/review, it is solely my own experience, I am just so excited I want to share. :)

So. The story.
When my daughter was about 2 years old, she started having allergies and asthma attacks. I was pretty interested in natural health back then, and tried everything people suggested to me. Garlic, echinacea, emu oil, Mannatech, Melaleuca, ( I still use Melaleuca, but not for allergies. And thats another story. :) onions, warm steam, cold mist, diffused oils, and plus some I've forgotten. I got so tired of trying all these miserable 'cures' on my little girl!
I basically gave up. Said "forget it" and went to the Doc. The Doc put her on meds and drugs and it worked good. She no longer gets asthma attacks (or at least very rarely) although her hay fever symptoms are starting to just get worse.

I started searching again for a natural remedy... I read an article about essential oils taken internally for allergies. I didn't know you could take them internally! Well, most of them shouldn't be taken internally, but the high quality 100% pure ones can. So I immediately thought of my friend who I had heard sells them. After a nice chat with her - I decided that it couldnt hurt to try. So I tried them on my daughter...

Day 1: I gave Jenni 1 drop each of Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint in a glass of water. I watched her closely, and at the first sign of a sneeze, I gave her another dose. It was almost exactly 3 hours between doses.

Day 2: Pretty much a repeat of day 1.

Day 3: We spent half the day in town, so by afternoon she was sniffling again - but after a dose, I didn't hear much more out of her.

Day 4: (today) I don't even have to remind her - she goes and takes a dose whenever she starts sneezing. She likes it! She hated those meds. Hated taking them, hated the mess. But she likes this she doesn't want to go back.

I decided to sign up as a distributor to get the wholesale discount, and i ordered some gel capsules so I can put the dose in their instead of water. Once I get my bigger bottles (I am still using sample bottles) I will try giving her a bigger dose, and see if it lasts longer than 3-4 hours. Some people are taking 3-5 drops each at a time.

Pros:It is 100% natural.
It has no side effects.
 I think it is a very good alternative to Benadryl, if you have the heart to try a new thing!

Cons: It is spendy. Hard to get around when you are on a limited budget. Unfortunately, I really don't think you will get the same results with a cheap oil where you don't know the processing/fillers, etc.
It may take some fiddling to get the dosage right.

Summary - I will be giving more updates as we go along. I will tell you if we go back to drugs. Which I will in  a heartbeat if this stops working! I am all about results!! :)

Note:: Oh, I almost forgot... After 8 years of being allergy free, I have started sneezing again every morning for about an hour. I take a dose too, and one dose is usually all it takes for me, sometimes an our later I have to take a drop of peppermint - which I just take straight. :)

So, here is my referral link. If you want to know more, research! :) I am just sharing what our experience has been thus far.
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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

When Words Aren't Enough...


Sometimes in life words just aren't enough.
I am a 'talker', and normally have no problem with words. But sometimes I am at a total loss.
Like when my friends grandma died, recently. What do you say to comfort a person whose beloved grandma goes from recovering and getting better, to death, in a few days time?!?
How does one deal with that?
What do you say to a friend whose father suddenly, unexpectedly dies?!?
How do you hold out comfort?
A friend's mother dies at a relatively young age. What do you say?
What words are sufficient to bring peace to a dear friend whose father dies during a fierce battle with cancer?!?  Is there words for that situation? Are there words that will bring peace - not just empty platitudes that make no sense?
These are real situations for me in the last 2 months. 4 friends lost either a parent or close grandparent. I feel like my words are insufficient for such a time as this.
I struggled some with this when my son died.
"He is in a better place." (But I want him HERE!! With ME!!)
"He will never hurt again." (But if I could have one more chance, I will NEVER let him get hurt again!)
"The pain will heal in time." (Heal?!?! I don't want to heal! I want to feel ripped apart every day for the rest of my life. If I heal, I may forget...)
"Life will get back to normal after awhile." (Life will never be 'normal' again. Ever.)
"God must have needed a sweet little boy in Heaven." (Oh, but God has lots of boys in heaven! I need him HERE!)
Oh my friends. You have no idea how these loving, well-intentioned words can sting.
After a time, I realized that it wasn't the words that were making me upset - it was the situation, and the words and gestures were simply triggers. I knew they were well intentioned. I knew that. So I could smile and say 'thank-you,' 'yes,' and 'I know.'
In time, I could even agree with the sentiments. But remembering the raw, fresh pain makes it hard for me to say anything to my friends who are hurting now. So hard.
And yet, I want to say things to them.
Words that will heal and bring hope and comfort.
Words that will bring  peace and rest.
Words that let them know it's OK.
OK to feel raw and torn apart.
OK to feel drowning in pain - but to remind them it's OK to be happy and smile and have a good time with the friends who surround them with love during this hard time.
 It's OK to go in your bedroom and bawl your eyes out, and then come out and smile at your kids - because they are young and can only handle so much grief.
And it's so much better to trust God now - better than hating.
 Better than pop culture says, when they say you are free to yell at God and call Him names and then repent. No.
It's much, oh so much better to trust.
To know that He loves you infinitely and allows everything into your life for a purpose.
To refine you.
To make you more into His image.
It's better to admit your lack of understanding to God - but to confess you still love Him, no matter what.
That you don't have to understand.
That you submit your will to His without knowing the 'why'.
This is what I've learned.