Ain’t She Pretty?

When I go to check on the cows I like to check on their body condition. Notice that this Hereford cow is almost perfect. Not too fat that you can’t see any hip or rib bones but in a good fleshy condition. Note that her coat is nice and clean and shiny. She has clear bright eyes and moves easily and freely. She’s a nice cow. None of these cows are fed anything but grass here on our ranch. They are in excellent shape because we don’t overgraze our property. The grassess haven’t really taken off yet but you can see that there is plenty for the cows to graze on. This particular pasture is 100 acres of native bluestem and side oats grama and other native bunch grasses that we’ve been cultivating for a several years. When we moved here this pasture was a total loss to weeds because it had been so overgrazed in the past.
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Easter Day Celebration

On Easter day after returning from church services and after getting together as an extended family for dinner, we went out with the kids to do an Easter Egg Hunt. We try to make Easter a big celebration in our family. This is Sandee Bryson and Josh finding plastic eggs full of candy.

The little goats that we feed by bottle are so friendly they follow us around. They found the Bryson’s and their basket of eggs.
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"The Best Campout Ever"

That’s what the boys kept saying anyway. And I have to admit, it certainly has to rank with one of the best. Not that we did anything all that spectacular, but that’s what so great about kids, it really doesn’t take that much to impress them. Just a little time. And spending a little time with them was just what I needed also. Win-win. It’s been Spring Break for us this week and Ryan was going to be gone with a group from Church down to Big Bend National Park for a hiking/camping trip. Eric was going camping Friday night with the Boy Scout troop and Diane and Rebecca were going to head out to Stephenville for a horse show and Thursday, Friday and Sat. Diane was even planning to show a horse for the first time in a long time. I decided I’d take the remaining little boys and go on a camping trip of our own. Fortunately for me, these guys are easy to please. All we had to do was get out the camper and head a whole 1.5 miles down to The Lake. As D-day drew near, the excitement mounted. Finally, Thursday arrived and we got everything loaded up.

We hauled the trailer down to the lake. Getting it all set up is half the fun.

It’s all set up, now it’s time to get busy fishing, hiking and roasting marshmallows. This picture was taken at about noon, and the boys are so excited about having the camper set up, that they want to go to bed now. I have to set a rule of no going in the camper until it’s dark. Hehe. Little boys and camping. It just doesn’t get any better.

You’re not camping if you’re not hiking.
I’m not a big hiker, but you just have to go on some sort of a hike when you’re camping. And you need to take some “bird feed” along with you. When I was a kid, my Mom’s bird feed was a mixture of raisins, dry cereal, M&M’s and peanuts. That was good stuff. We had some bird feed of our own on this hike. But it wasn’t that elaborate. It was a bag of Reese’s Pieces Easter Eggs. Got that from Diane’s Easter stash.

We can do a good 2 mile hike through the creeks and “canyons”.

Down to the creek we go.

I told Russell he wouldn’t be able to get through this tight spot. It only motivated him more. Exactly.

“Whoowee! This hike is wearing me out.”

Hike’s Over. Let’s find something else to do.

I love these trucks. The little boys can push them around all day. Now all they need is some mud. And mud is always close by. These guys go through so many socks, we must be keeping some sock manufacturer in business somewhere — probably in China.

Ahh, now this looks like it could be fun. I wanted to try riding these things myself, but I’m afraid I would have needed both trucks.

Robbie and Peter had a ball riding these trucks down this hill. They tried it backwards and forwards. Here’s a picture of Robbie:

This is one of my favorite shots of Robbie going full speed down the hill and loving every minute.

Later on Diane and Rebecca came down to check on us and they couldn’t resist trying the trucks themselves. Here’s some pictures they’re going to kill me for putting up here, but only I have the password, so here goes.

It’s hard to tell from this photo, but this little hill is pretty steep and bouncy. It can send you flying.

See what I mean?

And check out Rebecca’s face in this next picture if you want to know if it’s a little scary.

Even Diane thought it looked like fun. And so she dived on in. That’s what makes Diane great — spontaneity, baby, spontaneity.

Time for Some Fire

Standing around a fire and poking a stick in it and watching it glow can consume hours of time at any campout. Things were no different at this campout. Here’s Russell getting in some early marshmallow roasting.

That’s a hot fire, but roasting marshmallows is a big part of any campout, even if i’ts not quite dark yet.

At least on the campouts I’ve been on, it seems like all we do is cook, eat, clean up and start cooking again in a never ending cycle. Maybe that’s why I like camping so much. But with just me and 4 little boys, it seemed more like cooking and cleaning up with no time to eat. No wonder Diane never gains weight!

Chow time. That table is on its last legs, but it’s still hanging in there.

Time for Some Target Progress

We set this cow skulll up for some target practice with the .22. We have a number of guns. And we get the guns out of the gun safe occasionally and have a gun saftey lesson. The boys can learn a good lesson about how destructive even .22 bullets can be. It’s best to take the mystery out of guns so they can have a healthy respect for what they can do.

That about wraps up this Post. Man, it took longer to write this and get it posted than the whole campout took, almost. Anyway, we got poured on all night Friday night. A thunderstorm came through and shook us up pretty good. I had visions of being blown into the lake. But the dawn finally arrived and we were none the worse for wear. Then it just kept raining on us trying to pack up. Oh my, the joys of camping.
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Big Fat Chicken

Rebecca with a big broiler that is really quite large. I don’t think it lays any eggs. We ought to taked it to the processor and have some chicken in the freezer, but haven’t got around to it yet.
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The New Turkeys Get Out for a Little Exercise

The turkeys we got a few weeks ago are growing up and doing well. But it’s still a bit too cold outside and they’re too small still to let them out on their own. In fact they haven’t been out at all. On a nice sunny day, I got them out for a stroll in the grass. They loved it.
Surprisingly the turkeys didn’t want to wander too far. I sat down to take some picutures and they just walked all over me. The dogs came over to sit by me too and the turkeys came over and pecked at them and ran them off.
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Free Range Eggs

Here’s the egg gathering team. Complete with the flashlight to spot one in a dark corner if necessary. W e started selling our own Free Range Eggs now. We still have to ramp up production quite a bit. But since we only have a few customers so far, no big worry. We’ll eventually have to speed up the egg-gathering process probably also. For now, though, the Peter/Robbie team is working well. Russell is the main person in charge of the SteakBurger Free Range Egg Division. He’s got the most entrepreneurial spirit in our family. He’s always looking for a way to make money. He was aggressive when we discussed how to set the price on the eggs. He was thinking right,at least, in wanting to know what store-bought eggs go for in the supermarket. When he found out the go for about a dollar, though, he wanted to set the price $1 per egg! A little pricey even for true free-range eggs. Like Russell says, these eggs are brain food. But brain food doesn’t have to cost that much. We settled on $3 per dozen. If we get a sudden rush of customers though, there could be a lot of dissappointment. Russell pays Robbie and Peter $1 per dozen for helping with collection duties. Russell cleans the eggs, if need be, and packages them. It’s a good little venture.
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Bottle Feeding a Triplet

I finally got a picture of Rebecca bottle feeding one of the triplets. The first bottle is already gone and the Sprite bottle is nearly done as well. Diane and Rebecca share the 4x a day feeding chores. You’d think we’d have a big surplus of baby bottles around here, but evidently we have to use a Sprite bottle. Rebecca wants me to point out that this picture is early in the morning and she just woke up.

These mama goats are all watching Rebecca very closely as she bottle feeds the baby. Surely, they will be getting their breakfast soon.
Grassfed Beef is Best