Specifically…things Finlay sees on this ranch (in northern New Mexico) that he wouldn’t see in the city where he was born (blisteringly hot Phoenix, AZ). This is a picture focused post, because how else are you going to see the things that Finlay sees on a ranch?
(Also, don’t forget to vote for the next post! The poll is at the end.)
Just kidding, it rains in Phoenix once every six years. Here in Las Vegas, we recently went through a week or two where it rained every 1-2 days. It was glorious. We’re told that the rainy season may have come a little early this year, actually. Check out the nifty climate chart on the U.S. Climate Data website.
Wide Open Spaces
Don’t get me wrong, I do miss living right across the street from the Scottsdale Green Belt. But seriously, how amazing is this view? It’s our driveway.
Very up close and personal! Finn and I help dad with chores sometimes. This is us bottle feeding our neighbor’s calf.
Finn would have seen plenty of golf carts if we had stayed in Phoenix. But here on the ranch, we have THE GATOR. It’s basically a four wheel drive golf cart, and Finn thinks it is the coolest thing ever. So does dad.
Cookouts in June
Because really…who wants to be outside in Phoenix in June?
How awesome are these horns? We also feed him when we occasionally help dad with chores, as he’s an old grandpa steer that lives at the ranch headquarters.
If you saw my last blog post, you already know that I took a poll to determine what my very first blog post would be. I’m almost certain that my mother voted, cleared her cache, and then voted again…31 times. I know she wants me to be more positive and thankful (because she’s my mom and moms are always right [ahem, Finn] ), so even if she cheated, I know she did it out of love.
So here it is: things I’m thankful for since moving to Las Vegas. In no particular order.
It’s been raining here…a lot. Well, a lot by Phoenix standards. And while I did grow up in the country and I spent plenty of days and nights four wheeling through sandy washes (definitely never when the police were chasing me…really, mom), I don’t know jack about driving in slippery mud. I’m so happy I have an AWD SUV.
Semilla Natural Foods & Santa Fe grocery stores
Most people who know me know that I am a little obsessed with grocery stores. If I had tons of money and could just work a regular job that I could forget about when I clocked out for the day, I would work at a grocery store in a heartbeat. But I’d pick one of those tree-hugging crunchy grocery stores. Enter Semilla Natural Foods right here in Las Vegas and basically a billion of the grocery stores in Santa Fe. Finlay likes them too.
By the way, when you live in the middle of nowhere, you buy a lot of groceries all at once. Like…a lot.
Amazon Prime ships to PO boxes
Because you know what? We technically don’t have an address. Yes, you read that right.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without my Lillebaby carrier. It helps me take the mom-obsessed and eternally curious Finlay everywhere with me. It allows us to go on daily walks…and I can wield a sharp knife while making dinner without him yanking it out of my hands.
Ours are amazing, end of story. Brooks and Tomi are about the biggest blessing we’ve experienced since we moved here.
White noise app on my phone
Combined with the Lillebaby, the white noise app makes it possible for me to be an almost normal parent. If you’re a fellow parent of a baby with sleep issues, I don’t even need to give details here. To all the parents who have babies without sleep issues: please have patience for us when we say things like, “Sorry, I have to go home to put my baby to sleep for his nap because he won’t nap in the car or a stroller,” or, “One day I am going to pull an Office Space printer scene on my exercise ball, because if I have to bounce this kid to sleep one more time, I may stab myself in the eyeballs.”
So when Grant invited me to drive his cattle out to pasture, I knew I could actually attend this multiple hour event without Finlay having a complete meltdown…because when it came time to nap, I plopped that sucker in the Lillebaby and turned on the white noise app on my phone. Oh, thank you white noise app. I got to see things like this:
There is one in Las Vegas. Holy cow.
I could write a book on what I think about sleep training. FYI, I don’t mean CIO or Ferber, although I’m not going to say anything about those techniques because…well, because moms don’t need any more guilt than they already have.
Sleep training means I actually get to spend two hours a day with my husband, doing things that normal people (note: me before baby) take for granted, like relax on our front porch and drink in this view:
The local country radio station
I love rap music. I also love country music. I do not like them combined. Enter The Bull. It’s amazing! Sorry KMLE and KNIX, you suck compared to The Bull.
Not having to buy gas
I’ve been here a month. I haven’t bought gas yet, and I have driven to Santa Fe and back once, and I go to town at least 2-4 times every week.
Hopefully you were at least mildly entertained by this post, or at least the pictures that included Finlay. Because, let’s be honest – that kid’s adorable.
Well, I got my cattle. Twenty pairs; that is twenty mama cows and their calves. That is the first step in a long process of becoming a cattleman. It started a few years ago with some volunteering, then a couple internships, and two weeks ago I found myself picking out twenty pairs.
Brooks* and I took the two-hour drive from Las Vegas to Corona Friday morning and met at Melvin’s** house, ate some lunch, and drove down a dirt road for 45 minutes to get to the pens holding the cattle. After the introductions to the seller, Brooks and I started walking through the cattle, finding the ones that we wanted to start my herd, and writing down their tag numbers. It ended up being almost an even split; we’d chosen 9 cows with a heifer calf, and 11 cows with a bull calf. Not too bad…
Getting the cattle into the semi-truck proved interesting; I’ve never loaded cattle up a semi’s ramp. They don’t really want to go smoothly; way too many new things to stop and consider. Nobody got hurt, and all the cattle made it out in good shape. Except for number 68. When we got back to Melvin’s and let the cattle into his pens and counted them, we were missing one cow and no calves. Oops. So instead of celebrating by cracking open a nice cold beer, Marcus (the seller) and I got a horse trailer and drove back out to see if we could find ol’ 68; Marcus had let all of his cows back out of the pens, and there was no telling where they could have got to by then. Long story short, she had stuck around hoping to find her calf, so it was no big deal getting her back and loaded. An hour and a half, back at Melvin’s house, and it was finally time for the universal signal that the day’s work is completed: a cold beer. We stayed up til midnight listening to Melvin tell us stories and experiences that he’s racked up over the last 30+ years working cattle and managing ranches. Very interesting, but 6AM came pretty quick.
The next morning we were meeting the truckers who would haul the cattle to Las Vegas, and we were adding a bull to the load. We sorted the calves off the cows, split them in two groups of 10, and loaded them up. This time they knew what they were doing, so it was a total cakewalk. We put the cows in next; also a cakewalk for the same reason. Then the bull, who also was an easy load.
Two hours back to Las Vegas, an easy unload into the pens at the Charles R Ranch, and the cattle are mine. 20 mama cows, 20 calves, and one bull.
* My neighbor on the Charles R Ranch.
** The ranch manager I worked under for my internship at the Ranney Ranch last summer.