Blog Archives

Are we Ranchers or Farmers?

That’s a tough one answer!

I think we’re “Franchers”

We have both cattle and crops. Though we have just crossed over to focusing more on cattle and all  it entails.

 

Depending on who you ask, or where you live.. you are one or the other.

If we lived in Montana … the general consensus is that if you have just one hoofed critter, you ARE a rancher.  However… if you have milk cows, you ARE a farmer. As in ‘dairy farm’.

Many farmers will argue that many ranches are part granger , therefore farms.

Trivia: In Australia  they are called sheep and cattle Stations. img_7317

Cattle Ranch. Dairy Farm. Sheep Ranch. Fish Farm. Buffalo Ranch.  Goat Ranch. Boneless Chicken Ranch. Game (wild) Ranch. Art Farm. Nut Farm. Fruit Farm. Fur Farm. Emu Farm. See a pattern here??

Typically- in ranching- they have always been ranchers. Farmers on the other hand are img_6158more typically ‘diversified’. Especially in the mid west.  We are diverse.. cattle, small grains and mobile yard art (chickens).

Farmers are not romanticized the same way ranchers have been. Cattle drives across the wild prairies and so on evoke our imagination. Plain old practical farming doesn’t seem to be as gripping!

When our Nation was young, having cattle and crops, or a dairy cow or chickens was not only a means to making it, it was also extra money at the end of the year. Butter and extra eggs could be sold.  A great book to read on this is Women of the Northern Plains by Barbara Marchello. And by the way- If you ever get a chance to hear her speak… GO! It is an eye opener to what Farm and Ranch women did ‘back then’img_7227

Our farm has always been known as a farm. For nearly 100 years, the hubby’s family have farmed this land we are on. And while there has always livestock, it was always called ‘farm’. So I guess for now, we will remain farmers.

~Katy~

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A spring day on the farm

It is spring here at =K.

(~For those of you who don’t ‘read’ brands.. that is “bar bar K”)IMG_4999

We are calving now and will begin springs work soon. Dragging out tractors and disks and harrows and checking them over. In fact, this afternoon we are bringing one home from the other farm today.

The gardening catalogs are strung out and I am dreaming of my wants while weighing them against my needs. Hubby likes to say “If you can’t eat it… don’t get it” Lucky for me you can technically eat nearly anything! (not that I would… but it qualifies!!)

IMG_5036Chickens are laying like crazy…. and the daily egg hunt is on! We have a handful that refuse to lay in the hen house.  Clothes on the line… Me and the dog on the quad.. just peaceful days until Springs Work really gets going.

And the sunrises are spectacular each morning and theDSCN6336 ‘gloaming’ each evening on last years cut fields is like looking at fields of gold.

IMG_4713Each morning the geese and ducks take off from the pond… and if you could only hear the noise they make!

Come on over anytime and enjoy rocking on our front porch. Coffee and adult IMG_2659beverages are always ready.

~Katy~

Glitter ducks and ‘FlaminCows’

Had ya’ll at ‘Glitter Duck’ didn’t I??? blingduck

We were at an auction last night, and they were selling some duck decoys.  So I related the story of my duck decoy buying experience.

Many years ago, a whole boodle of beautiful duck decoys came up for bid. I mis-understood and when the gavel fell and the man hollered “How Many??” I, of course hollered right back “Well- ALL of them!!, DUhhhhh”

Hubby immediately jumps up with a “OH, HELL NO” of his own.  In the end I got One duck. Sighhhhhhh.

Hubby: What the heck-o do you want them all for anyway???                                                    Me: I’m going make Glitter Ducks for our duck pond!

Why??? Because I could, and I thought my 1 goose and 1 duck and assorted chickens would enjoy seeing them float around.

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Part of my personal herd

Which brings us to the FlaminCows. Have you ever seen one in the wild??? They look suspiciously like their cousins the Flamingo. But cooler.

 

Around the same time as the Glitter Duck incident, we lived on small acreage. I wanted a cow. Hubby said N-O.

Then I drove by a flower shop and spied a huge plastic yard ‘Mingo. It immediately got a paint job and some smaller ones to go with it.

Viola!!~ I had my very own HERD.

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Hanging with Metal Man

 

In an interesting twist, people driving by would pull in and ask where I got such cool critters…. I ended up painting selling a bunch that summer! ~ Still keep a small herd to watch over the garden.

~Katy~

 

The end of an era – A Prairie Barn

         “Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one”-  Sam Rayburn

In this case, that carpenter was Gottilieb Hochalter .  His grandson Paul now owns this property. Which, luckily for me, is less that a mile away and in plain sight from our farm.

DSCN5973I have photographed this barn many, many times over the years. It has been in countless backdrops of prairie vistas from our place. The only shots I don’t have are close ups before it was taken down. – (something I plan on remedying soon with some help of the owner.)

This barn has seen hands lovingly hand cut each board and set them into place. It has seen countless barn dances and dairy cows, rope swings and hide-n-seek in

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View from my porch. Tornado behind the barn

the hay mow, tornados and blizzards and stunning sunrises, it has provided refuge from hectic days as well as been the scene of many hectic days too.  It has witnessed love and heartaches of the family. It has seen droughts and bad years, and been full to overflowing during the good years.

 

This barn has been the silent sentinel on the prairie.

I miss it everyday when I look out towards the East.

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The weathered boards tell their own story.

DSCN5984The skeleton of this majestic building sparks the imagination.

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Yep- That’s our place in the background

 

20140523_182844The view from the second floor was pretty amazing. 20140603_171416

And the odds and ends that came off the barn really speak about it’s life.

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I look towards the East every morning. Sunrise is my favorite time of day. The fog is coming up the hollows, the sun peeking over the horizon, turning the distant tree tops into lace against the coloring sky. ~ all that’s missing is my barn.

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~Katy~

Praire Palaces = Opportunity

(Property owners name withheld  on request)

On occasion I drive by “Betty’s” place NE of Washburn.

Every time I think  two things immediately.

1) WOW! I want to stay there!  

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possibilities 1/2 mile from town!

 

2) WOW! The income potential.

It really is  quite a marvelous place for her family to get away to.  These converted grain bins  are actually sleeping rooms (2 are storage) and the Quonset has a livingroom, bathroom and kitchen.   ~The family meets up here for a week or so every year.  There are no other buildings on their land.

I often think what a simple concept! Primitive camping with nature right at your fingertips- but ‘town’ right down the road. Or a great for seasonal Craft selling or farm market. The novelty of the painted buildings would make me stop  in a second driving by!

We live in a very rural community. What a draw this could be for any small community! Think of the possibilities.  Quick weekend get-aways, retreats, family reunions, bird watching, star gazing etc.

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The color draws me in!

It’s quirky, fun, interesting and draws you in.  It immerses you in the country in a way that being in a hotel can’t.

 

WHO would be your customers? and WHY are they your costumers? 

Well, me for one. As someone who frequently traveled cross country with the boys, a place to run and shout in the country would have been my first stop! Photographers, wild life viewers, hunters, crafters, history buffs, picnickers, day campers – all manner of people.

Now I know, most of us have seen great converted grain bin ‘houses’ or farm dwellings used for major events.  But this, on a most base level has oooodles of easily do-able possibilities without as much upfront capital.  Just a little sweat and imagination.bin

Want windows? Scavenge some from old buildings. Want to add a porch? Again, use salvaged lumber or bricks.

You are only limited by your imagination.

As a Primitive experience, you wouldn’t need to provide all manner of luxuries. Primitive means just that. A bed. Maybe an outdoor BBQ or fire pit. If you wanted to- a solar shower and out-house or inciner-loo would do.  You could easily offer a booklet detailing the best nearby places for scenery, bird watching, great food, places of interest and  local history. It would be easy enough to partner with the local café or bakery to provide boxed lunches/dinners or baked goods.

Also as a primitive experience, you may not be as subject to the same stringent standards as a ‘hotel’ would be. (Definitely  something to check on, though)

Remember- Your great grain bins or other buildings don’t have to be on a farm! You can be on the edge of town, or by the park, or maybe you have an extra large lot… Again- imagination.

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What could YOU dream up?

 

Most states  have an Agri-Tourism department. They may  provide property signage, can help you decide what type of insurance is best. (Many farm policies already have a rider for  ‘guests’) and other aspects of your new business.

 

Agri-Tourism is a very sustainable, viable income. The USDA also has grants and low cost loans available. Many communities have Micro-loan programs to help you on your way.  You can also list for FREE you great Agri-tourism place on many sites such as : http://www.agritourismworld.com/ that let’s you list by state.

Here are some great links to get you started:

http://www.uvm.edu/tourismresearch/agritourism/saregrant/getting_started_agritourism_cornellext.pdf

http://www.ndtourism.com/articles/north-dakota-agritourism#whatisagritourism

http://oklahomaagritourism.com/

 

~Katy~

 

 

 

 

I am “Country Woman” ~ hear me roar!

Every year Farm and Ranch Guide puts on a Country Woman of the Year contest.

People are supposed to write in why they think their woman should win…. But there are guidelines… Community involvement, Special deeds, Involvement with the daily operations etc.  ~  This implies all manner of things.DSCN5883

Most of the women nominated log long hours in real production in crops and livestock, they are active in church and volunteer for nearly everything, blah- blah- blah. All without a hair out of place. You know the types.

Don’t get me wrong~I am not disparaging them in any way. Many of the nominated women are my neighbors. Some of them have won. I admire these women.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I asked Hubby once WHY he didn’t nominate me. He said because I am none of those things, but am Everything to him. (and that he sucks at writing)

That being said- I AM a Country Woman of the Year… Day in and day out. Year after year.

I don’t need a contest to tell me so. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“I can bring home the Bacon…. Fry it up in a pan…….”  Remember that commercial? That about sums it up.

In my little world, I am the one who raises the kids and attends school functions, nurses the bottle babies (Calves and Kitties alike), bakes fresh bread every couple days, Cooks from scratch every meal, minds the garden, cans more goods than a grocery store, gate girl when it’s blizzarding and -30 out, sews and mends, shuffles hubby and vehicles from field to field, watches the markets, tracks the weather, brings him lunch in OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAthe field, never ever calls him when he’s out with the guys, works from home, goes to church, does the parts running, beer fairy,  handles correspondence and the usual round of maid chores too. I  put a good spin on things when they go awry and make hubby feel better about it.  I  am20140906_173647 constantly championing small business in rural communities, attend Downtowners Conferences on my own dime and time so I can better myself and my community, make a quilt every year to donate for raffle at charity, finds the humor in the dark times, mend broken hearts and bruised egos, teach the kids to dream, keeper of the memories and family stories, teaches others how to bake and sew, butchers chickens with the best of them, run a small business of my own, don’t complain when our plans are cancelled yet again 20141128_101658(1)because ‘We have to go to the field, NOW’, I know that  boots DO go with everything, and more. ~ I know that there are 3 big social functions (4 in a good year!) … Two farm shows and a Pheasants  4ever banquet (you can sub- cattlemans, DU or whatever)  If it’s a good year- a trip the fair gets tossed in. Otherwise my social engagements are solo.

Things I won’t or don’t do? I refuse to ever again “Hold that panel, damnit!” when the BULL is making a break for it nor do I drive his big boy toys.

I am proud to support my Hubby- an American Farmer-  behind the scenes in all these little ways.

~Katy~

A Summer to Remember

So my cousin Hannah has come for a month long visit to our farm. She is 9 years old.
At first I was “What am I supposed to DO with a GIRL?” We raised Boys!
~As it turns out, there was nothing to fear.~ We both speak SARCASM fluently.
She was (is) a self admitted “indoor” girl.Fashion-ista
Well- things have changed a smidge.. I am sure her Mama will have a few bad habits to break!
BOOTS go with everything. Hannah has worn her boots more that her sandals and hasn’t even touched tennis shoes yet. 🙂

Cookies for breakfast

Cookies for breakfast

COOKIES for breakfast are ok sometimes.
WALKS  are great for dream making… Hannah wishes to be an Artist or a Fashion Designer… I hope she follows her dreams, where ever they may lead.
Dirt won’t kill you… we have been in the garden daily. she has learned to simply rub things that fall in the dirt on her pants and keep on going…

She can DO ANYTHING. She has learned that with a little perseverance and cussing, all tasks are do-able!  So very proud of her!!

I Can Do it!

I Can Do it!

Coffee nearly BLACK… and a sweet tooth for French Vanilla flavoring.
POLKAand two-step are a must have in the dance repository if you want to be ‘social’ around these parts.

fun in the sun

fun in the sun

   HAY BALES are great fun. So is the quad and the dog. CHICKENS will follow you like the Pied Piper.

Well~ I gotta run. More on our adventures later…. sewing, baking, swimming, dancing and more!   We have MEMORIES  to go make!

~Katy~

Why Burlap??

 Why not?
It’s versatile, biodegradable, recyclable and more.
Hessian or Burlap as it is called in the US, is made from a tall, grass like plant called Jute. It is cut and woven.jute%20oogst

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  I use burlap in many of the projects I make at Buffalo Gals Mercantile. I love the rustic-ness of it. The graphics on the vintage bags are fabulous and truly speak of our Agricultural roots and early advertising.

Burlap is biodegradable- we actually use the scraps on the garden. It’s a natural soil enhancer and weed barrier. We just till it in at the end of the season.  “Post consumer burlap compost creates a constantly renewable product that increases soil fertility, rather than depleting it” -The Green Building Handbook

10256824_501759616595111_2700429621183935268_nBurlap is recyclable. –  Use old bags to make purses, chair covers, window treatments, accessories, table runners, stuffed animals, lamp shades … the ideas are limitless really.  Here’s a link to Pintrest  with fabulous ideas!

Did you know…. Statistics show that Burlap is quickly gaining  in popularity and  may surpass Cotton as the most used natural fiber?

Burlap is Eco-Friendly & Eco- Chic .   A great way to use it is as a market tote. No more plastic bags! And it’s quite the fashion statement as well.

~Katy~

 

 

 

And so it begins~

We are building a new house this spring. WE.. as in WE are doing ALL the finish work. We had the shell and rough plumbing contracted.

~Oh Joy.~OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Have you ever done anything important TOGETHER???    It is challenging.

Todays challenge was we had to take down several trees so the house could go up. Two were dead. Two were my favorite little apple trees. 40 year old apple trees!

Beautiful, droopy, cozy little apple trees.

I was OK with the first three. But I totally turned Tree Hugger on the last one!

We had hubby’s dad come over and run the chain saw. Hubby wasn’t ready to trust me with either the tractor (with the cable)  or the chainsaw.

There they are in the background (with my cousins!)

There they are in the background (with my cousins!)

I personally think it was because we live in old school “Man’s Country” and some things are simply “Men’s Work”.

PERIOD.

I can hear that old jingle from George of the Jungle… “George. George… George of the Jungle…watch out for that treeeeeeeeeeeee”

Stay Tuned…

Katy

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