rain!

Finally in February it feels like winter has arrived.

The ground is wet.

There are puddles outside waiting to be jumped in.

The grey clouds are hovering overhead.

The fire place is crackling.

And all the lights are turned off in the house while I enjoy the dark light that only cloudy, rainy days can bring.

I love this weather. Sometimes I wonder if I could live in Seattle where most of their days are like this. And then summer arrives and I’m sipping Lime-A-Rita’s on the lake and I quickly forget that idea. What I need to say is I love living where we actually have seasons and I can appreciate the beauty in each season. Unfortunately Mother Nature has been a little mixed up with what season we are actually supposed to be in right now. I am very thankful that for this week she seems to have it figured out.

It’s like your can feel the dust, the dry ground, and all the ranchers and farmers heave a collective sigh and breathe in that beautiful fresh smell that comes with a cleansing rain. Granted, this is hardly making a dent with the current dire water situation we are in; but if anything it gives a bit of hope and sometimes that’s all you need.

The excitement last night in my husband’s voice when he went outside to get wood for the fireplace and realized it was raining was pure excitement: Christmas-morning-as-a-child-kind-of-excitement. We just stood on the back porch last night and listened to the rain gently falling and it was a beautiful thing. Maybe I’ve said this before, but I will say it again: I didn’t know how important rain was until I married a rancher and I realized what it means for our livelihood, our animals, and our life on the ranch.

So what do you do when it’s sprinkling and you have brand new rain boots, rain jackets, and umbrellas you’ve been waiting to use since Christmas? You use them!

puddles

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The rest of the day is going to be spent enjoying this beautiful day from the coziness of our warm house while the crockpot does it’s job and is cooking away one of my FAVORITE crockpot recipes ever. Garlic Beef Stew served over mashed cauliflower — comfort food in a bowl. Plus you get the added benefit of the house smelling amazing while it is cooking.

We just might have to go jump in more puddles so I can appreciate that smell walking into the house . . .

being a cowgirl.

My adventures at learning to be a cowgirl continue and this weekend, sadly, wasn’t my best showing.

I had one job: Don’t let the cows back out of the field my husband was moving them into. We were to just sit by the gate in the Ranger and if a cow started to come through we were supposed to make sure they didn’t get all the way out. Seemed simply enough, right?

I’m embarrassed to say that thanks to my Instagram obsession, I failed.

In my attempt to post the following picture to my account a mama cow decided she wasn’t staying separated from her calf and slipped past our watchful eye.  I  noticed much too late, warned the girls to “hold on,” and took off trying my best to get that damn cow to go back where she was supposed to before hubby noticed.  Sadly, he noticed and like a knight on a white horse flew up on his four wheeler and expertly directed the heifer where she needed to go. I  then decided to hold off on my instagramming until we were all done and am happy to say that no other cows got by us.  In my defense, I was just trying to capture a picture of the crazy dust that was being stirred up by the four wheeler and cows running.  It looked like it should have been late summer by the amount of dust blowing around.  This drought situation is becoming much more real and scary as we are selling a large percentage of  our herd this week because we cannot afford to feed them hay through the summer.  There is rain in the forecast the next two days and although the percent is low we are hopeful that we will get some.

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weekend wrap-up.

This weekend I attended my first CWA (California Women for Agriculture) Convention and State-Wide Meeting. This was definitely stepping out my comfort zone and I’m really glad I did.   I joined our local chapter a little over a year ago after a few friends were in it and I was looking for a way to get involved and learn more about ag issues and embrace my country lifestyle. Sometimes I feel like such an impostor at the meetings: I didn’t grow up doing 4-H, working cows, or farming like so many of the people in the organization, I can’t talk ag policies, and don’t even get me started on my fear of the Adopt-a-Legislator program where were are supposed to go meet with urban legislators to voice our concerns/issues. But I’m doing it and I’m putting myself out there to learn more and get involved in this ag community that I am now a part of. It was a great weekend – I did learn a lot about the organization: it started in the 70’s in the Cochella Valley, now there are over 20 chapters and 2,000 members over the state. The mission of CWA is, “to promote and develop the interest of California women involved or interested in agriculture and to promote a strong agriculture industry in California. CWA’s efforts are guided by 5 principle objectives: to speak on behalf of agriculture in an intelligent, informative, direct and truthful manner; to keep CWA members informed on legislative activities pertaining to agriculture; to join forces when the need arises to deal with agricultural issues and challenges; to improve the public image of farmers and; to develop a rapport with consumers, educators, and governmental & business leaders in communities throughout the State.” I am excited for another year of learning with this chapter and meeting new people.
Funny story from the weekend: while we were there I heard a woman say her last name and it was the same as my Grandma’s maiden name; so after asking her about it I learned her husband was my Grandma’s first cousin! Small world! I was able to meet her husband that night at the dinner and we did some catching up. I met them once before at a family reunion probably 20+ years ago, so it had been awhile. Love when stuff like that happens and you are reminded how small the world really is.

I got back home yesterday afternoon to kiddos and a hubby that I had missed (good to go, great to come home) and we got ready to finally celebrate Christmas with my parents. I was sick on Christmas so our Christmas celebration had been postponed and we sure were ready! It was quite a bummer on Christmas when we had to cancel getting together.  I was all ready to host dinner here with my parents, younger brother, and my Mom’s cousin but a little stomach bug made us keep our distance in fear of sharing it. Funny story from last night: as we are cooking the potatoes and brussel sprouts my Dad went to open the oven and the oven door was locked; turning the oven on/off didn’t help, holding down the lock button didn’t help and somehow the broiler had turned on and the oven seemed to be getting hotter and hotter. I might have freaked out a little about the food catching on fire and another Christmas dinner being ruined but thankful my Dad and husband kept cool and turned the breaker off on the oven.  After googling “whirpool oven locked with F3 error code” I read an almost identical situation as to ours and learned that what most likely happened was that the heat sensor in the oven went out causing the oven to continue increasing in temperature and when it got too hot the oven locked itself for safety. After opening a few presents we flipped the breaker on again and the oven had cooled off enough to let us open it. Phew. The food was a little bit brown but not ruined! Hooray!! We were able to enjoy a delicious dinner, finish opening presents (cannot wait to cook something from The Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook!) and have a great story from our Christmas celebration from this year.

On to another week of PRAYING continuously for rain.  I never understood the importance of  a wet winter until having cows and now an orchard (which at least we can irrigate if needed). To look and see how dry, brown, and dusty it is for January is depressing.  Right now, I should be able to look out our windows and see green most everywhere.  I should see the hay that my father in law has planted growing so there is feed for their cattle for next year, I should see pastures with green grass but I look out and see brown dirt just waiting for rain.  It is a scary time right now for farmers and ranchers every where.  We are having to feed hay almost every other day for our cattle herd and that isn’t cheap; we are having to make tough decisions about what to do because we cannot afford to do this all season and we are not the only ones facing these decisions right now.  Looking at the 10 day forecast and seeing a high of 74 two days this week is just crazy! While I love that kind of weather so we can get outside and play I don’t want 74 degree weather in January — I want cold, rainy, drizzly days with soup on the stove and the sound of pounding rain on the roof.  So, pray for rain and pray some more.

High /
Low (°)
Precip. %
Today
Jan 13
Sunny 70.0°/37.0° 0 %
Tue
Jan 14
Sunny 74.0°/38.0° 0 %
Wed
Jan 15
Sunny 74.0°/36.0° 0 %
Thu
Jan 16
Sunny 72.0°/34.0° 0 %
Fri
Jan 17
Partly Cloudy 70.0°/35.0° 0 %
Sat
Jan 18
Cloudy 68.0°/34.0° 10 %
Sun
Jan 19
Mostly Cloudy 68.0°/40.0° 20 %
Mon
Jan 20
Sunny 69.0°/40.0° 0 %
Tue
Jan 21
Mostly Sunny 70.0°/42.0° 0 %
Wed
Jan 22
Partly Cloudy 69.0°/42.0° 0 %
Last Updated Jan 13 08:24 a.m. PT