Thursday, December 30, 2021

Tom and Jerry

Growing up Grandpa always made Tom and Jerry's for Christmas. We'd have them as kids and when we grew up we’d get to have the rum in them. Anyway, this Christmas I thought I'd try my hand at Grandpa's tradition. 


This is actually Grandpa's sister Mollie's recipe. They were German sugar beet farmers so I shouldn't be surprised that it called for 1.5 pounds of powdered sugar. Sure is sweet though. 


It's not too tough to make and is super good. To make the actual drink, I'd fill a quarter of the cup up with the batter, add a shot of rum, then fill the rest up with boiling water, stirring it up good. The nutmeg sprinkled on top is the final touch. I can still hear Grandpa yell across the kitchen to Grandma, Ruth, where are the givetz?(German for nutmeg, so we think) 


A perfect holiday drink for family and friends.

So fun. We've been celebrating hard this Christmas Octave. One more day to go in 2021. Might as well make the best of it. 


Too Full

Fast helps us think clearly.



 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Christmas Bales

One thing on my bucket list has always been to bale hay in December. Some people like to say they've water skied in December. I want to say that I've baled hay in December. Well, my dream came true during the Christmas Octave. 


The weather started off perfect. It has been unseasonably warm. So I borrowed Bill and Joanne Fields' baler and headed to our feed yard. 


She fit just right behind Johnny. 


The deal was to re-bale these big grass square bales. I just couldn't feed them efficiently. Little squares are more my style. 


It took a little playing, but what we found to work was to grab a bale with the bucket, flake it off with a pitchfork into a fluffy windrow, and then just craw along. It's amazing how much hay is in a 3x4x8.


Slowly but surely we'd kick them out. The 4570 Hesston didn't miss a lick. Out of each big bale we were able to get about 15 little bales.


Much better.

It probably would have been easier to just go buy new hay. But it wouldn't have been nearly as fun. I love all things ranch. Baling and feeding hay ranks right at the top. Our Lord became incarnate in the Christmas story. He loves humanity and so do I. Men were made to work. The more we live out of our human nature, the more we discover the hidden divine nature that Christ came to give us. 

 

Would it weren't So

 Holy Innocents, pray for us.




Sunday, December 19, 2021

10-24

Growing up Dad pumped oil and gas wells. And as a kid I often tagged along. Each well had a name, which was usually like 12-dash-32 or 26-dash-15. One of the great gifts of my corrals on Bell Creek is the pumping unit in the background. I have affectionally named her 10-24.


It was fun to hear her pumping away. She was no doubt on a timer because she'd come on and off at random intervals. 


I kind of felt like she was watching over me. Every time I looked south there she was.


Pumping units and cattle, so iconically Wyoming.


The circle of life.

    People often ask me if it's hard to shoot a cow. It's not, but sometimes I wonder why. I'm not a morbid guy. But there is something beautiful about ethically harvesting a critter. What better way to die then to give your life for a good cause. They become our food, and how grateful we are for their sacrifice. 
    10-24 reminds me that this dynamic has been going on for quite awhile. Fossil fuels come from decomposed plant and animal life buried millions of years ago. Our modern way of life is indebted to the sacrifice of such life form. It is not evil to receive such a gift. But it does come with great appreciation and responsibility. To whom much has been given much will be expected. 
    Stewardship should be our response and way forward. It is how we properly care for and use the animals, lands, and minerals entrusted to us. God gave us dominion over the earth. Not to exploit it for selfish reasons, but to care for it and use it for it's intended purposes. 
    Animals and plants serve our needs and we are called to do the same for them. We can also learn from their sacrifice. True love is about giving of one's self for the good of the other. Our Lord's coming in the flesh this Christmas is all about that. He was born to die. Out of love He gave His life for us. Out of love we are called to do the same.

Signs

Let's be open in faith to the signs God sends us. 





Friday, December 17, 2021

Speak Lord

It was my last day to feed the cows for the winter so I took my time heading to the corrals. It's amazing what you can see when you slow down. Creation will actually speak to you. 


Nothing like trying to keep water open in the winter.


Opening water holes has been a rancher reality since the first cow stepped foot in Wyoming. I knew guys who saddled up and rode daily to different reservoirs in the dead of winter just to give the cows a few hours of drink.


Nice little gift on my way out.

Running down Bell Cr. Road this year has been a super blessing. There's nothing like getting out on the prairie to clear a your mind. If a guy slows down and looks around, God will speak to you through the beauty of nature. 
 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

T-Bone

My favorite cut on a cow is the T-bone. It takes two nice pieces of meat that might be a little small on there own and combines them: the New York, which is at the tail end of the backstrap and the Tenderloin, which is inside the rib cage. 


Out of each cow I can get 12 1 1/4" steaks. The top left 4 are Porterhouses, which are the furthest back on the backstrap and have the biggest portion of the Tenderloin. The New York portions has the fat rind. If you quarter turn these steaks with the rind on top, that's how they'd sit on the cow. They butt up to each other and the spinal cord runs through them. 


It takes a steady hand, but I just cut them with my Sawzall. 


Ready for the grill.

We have only one cow to go out of the 12 we purchased this spring. No complaints. Ol' 32 will come home this weekend. 

The Good News

... comes in different colors.



 

Friday, December 10, 2021

Spring Fever

It's never too early to be talking about spring. Dad and I had tied up some continuous fence panels in Buffalo and Friday was the day to haul them home. Why not a little white fluff to add to the fun.  


Even though she's got 235k miles on her, White Horse doesn't quit. She was rarin' to go bright and early after we celebrated Mass. 


Bolinger Inc. in Buffalo supplied us with the 62 20' 5 bar panels. We were able to pick them up before the price of steel doubled. 


Kim Bolinger did an excellent job loading us up. I had full confidence that this load wasn't going anywhere. I look forward to doing business with them again. 


Someone suggested that I go around through Casper than over the mountain. I would rather brave Powder River Pass than the 100 mile stretch between Casper and Shoshoni. On a snowy day the ground blizzard over there is treacherous. The boys on the mountain, however, do an excellent job of keeping the pass open. White Horse did great. No power house, but slow and steady. 1st gear up and 1st gear down. 


I always love dropping off of Rattlesnake Ridge into the Big Horn Basin. This is home. 


Dad had his tractor fired up when I got there. You can't beat the blue skies of Worland. 


Pure potential. 62 panels of continuous fence and 68 joints of 2 7/8" tubing. God has been good to us. I can't wait till spring. 


After Mom fixed me up with some chilly we were on the road again. Smooth sailing back to Campbell County. Arrived just in time to see the Wright brothers take off. AMDG


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Feast Day

I love the feast days of the Church. Today we celebrated the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. No fasting here. It was all-out celebration. Of course the biggest party was the Mass. Outside of that, I think we were able to sufficiently signify the day.


No better way to start off a solemnity than with a Maverik Bonfire Burrito. Along with a cup of Bodacious Bean coffee and an OJ, the trip to Moorcroft for a sunrise Mass was delightful. 


Afterwards, Chad and I thought we'd keep the fun alive with a caramel roll from Donna's drive in. 


After a midmorning school Mass and a break for lunch, I booked it down to Wright for the granddaddy of them all. My right-Hand man and I scored a 94.5 ride from the judges in the pews.


No sense in letting the evening go to waste. The crew and I enjoyed a fine meal at the Open Range Steakhouse afterwards.

St. Teresa of Avila once said, When I fast I fast. When I partridge I partridge. In her day, evidently partridge was the steak of choice. Today, the menu may have changed, but the reasons for celebrating the triumphs of our faith haven't. The grace Mary received at her conception from the merits of Jesus Christ on the Cross is worth throwing a party for. After all, it's how the devil is defeated. No fear here. In her arms, life is a celebration. 

 

Enmity

 In Mary's arms the devil can't reach us.




Sunday, December 5, 2021

Winter Wonderland

Dad was saying yesterday how much he was able to get done outside. I told him I hope we get some moisture soon. Careful what you ask for.


The roads were pretty clear when I left Gillette at 6:00 this morning heading for Hulett. But about 10 miles outside of Moorcroft it turned it on. I like a good challenge, but visibility for a while there was pretty tough. It really drove home John the Baptist Sunday with a light shining in the darkness. 


On my way to celebrate Mass in Wright this afternoon, I swung by to feed all the critters. With good hay and a winter coat the horses will be fine. 


Cows are even tougher. With that black hide and the amount of fat they have under it, I've never seen weather so cold they couldn't handle. Like the horses, they have access to feed 24/7. 


What these pictures don't show is the wind. Every snow storm I've seen in CC comes in sideways. It was a full on ground blizzard heading south.


The smell of LB beef in the roaster was sure welcoming when we were able to finally call it a day.

I love it. I hardly need an excuse to go frolic in the snow anyway. But to feed the People of God and the horses and cows He's entrusted me with... Just try to stop me.  

Soul Searching

Let the light of Christ take you to the deeper recesses of your heart this Advent.




Saturday, December 4, 2021

Out on the Town

Who says Campbell County doesn't have culture? Saturday evening Doug and Daniela Gerard invited Sr. Carol and I out for a pre-Christmas dinner party. A good time was had by all.


I knew we were in for something special so I broke out my Carmelite coat. 


Every year the Gillette Chamber Singers put on a few day show at the Prime Rib. It was hard to tell what was better, the choir or the food. Both were excellent. 


They basically roamed around the rooms singing Christmas carols while we dined. 


My two favorite songs from among the ones I'd never hear before were Joseph had a Bundle of Straw and I want to Stare at my Phone with You.


But the Buffalo ribs and all the rest of the entrees were pdg too.

I've really enjoyed getting to know Doug and Daniela. We've had some great conversations over some good food. It's nice to be in an environment outside of Church that still keeps Christ in Christmas. Campbell County knows were their blessings come from and they aren't afraid to sing about it. 



 

Friday, December 3, 2021

The Catholic Cowboy Way

For the past couple years folks have been telling me about a cowboy priest in South Dakota that I need to meet. Try as I may, our paths never crossed. Finally he gave me a call and we made plans to hang out. No better way to get to know a guy then over skinning a cow.

  
Fr. Zane Pekron grew up on a ranch near Philip SD and went to seminary right after high school. He never quit wearing his hat though. 


I first heard about him from some mutual parishioners of ours who told me that their priest from Belle preg checked their cows for them. I knew from that moment on we'd get along.


This was also Johnny's debut. She did real well. Raised ole 40 up nice and high.


Tragedy struck though when I jumped out the back of my pickup. Rolled ole lefty pretty good.


Nothing that a cowboy cast can't fix though.

I love the Catholic Cowboy Way of life. Hanging with Zane just stoked my fire. Without a doubt the Church needs more cowboys. And furthermore, She could use a few more cowboy priests too!






Spurs

I've never been much of a spur guy. I know they look cool, but they've usually gotten me in more trouble than they've done me go...