Grandma’s Prayers

First time I read that, I cried. It hit home so deeply, tears literally just fell out of my eyes. My grandma was the most faithful “prayer warrior” I’ve ever known. Prayer was her answer to life. The good, the bad, the joyful, the sorrowful, the questions, and the answers–she prayed about it. But even more than that, she was a living prayer chain. She would have a list of people and things to pray for and on top of all of that, she kept a prayer going that my great-grandmother started. Every day she’d pray for every single person in the family. From her husband to her cousin’s daughter’s son, she prayed for them, by name. So when I read that quote from above, my whole being felt that prayer. The one she said for the 28 years she was with me. She wasn’t only praying for me in my everyday life, but she was also praying for my future self as well. It never occurred to me that her prayer was still being said over me. It was like a warm hug. God reminding me that my life has been so greatly blessed because someone out there was praying for me, diligently. Showing me a true example of faithfulness. She never questioned His faithfulness, she knew in His hands we were at our best, so she said a prayer for us, for me, to be blessed, to know Him, and to walk the path of righteousness.

Great is thy faithfulness…”

Seems like that’s been all over my radar lately. Faithfulness. I can’t help but think He is trying to tell me to let go of whatever it is that I’m holding on to, those parts of my life that I’m trying to control instead of letting Him handle it. Have faith in Him and His will for me.

“All that I’ve needed thy hand hath provided…”

I miss her greatly. She was and will always be one of my favorite people. I wish she could be here to hold this precocious little boy in my life, for I have no doubt, she once said a prayer for his life too.

*ASpottedHeart

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Life on the Ponderosa as of Lately

Last week I asked in my Instagram stories what ya’ll wanted to see more of in 2019. A lot of you answered with “all of it,” Ranch Life, DIY, Mom Life, Mood Boards… so with that I thought I’d start with an update on what One Cute Cowboy has been up to lately. ( If you don’t follow me over on Instagram, what are you waiting for?!)

Winter=Wheat pasture season for One Cute Cowboy. So he spends his days checking the different pastures, doctoring anything that’s not doing well, feeding, hauling water, fixing hot wire fence, and breaking ice. I talked all about wheat pasture cattle in last December’s Ponderosa Post. It always seems to me, like wheat pasture months are a really long Cowboy “season” but this year OCC didn’t take on quite as many cattle since Lil’ Cute Cowboy is in the picture, and it hasn’t seemed quite so bad.

The weather here on the Ponderosa has been one extreme to the other. One weekend we had an inch of snow with about 24hrs of light rain before it, and then turned around and had 50-60 degree weather the next weekend. Ya never know what you’re gonna get here in the Panhandle! But on those nice days, Little Bear and I try to do some outings with One Cute Cowboy.

Little Bear loves to go and look at and feed the cows with his dad. He gets excited to hear them “Moo” and to see them come running to the feed truck.

This past week we brought our first load of heifers in to start calving. Yesterday it officially began with the mama I had picked to calve first, did indeed, have the first calf of the season! Calving Season has officially begun!

That’s the latest here on the Ponderosa! Hope you’ve enjoyed the little update!

What would you like to hear more of? Leave me a comment below!

*ASpottedHeart

2018 to 2019:Starting the Year of Self-Care

It’s been a little quiet on here lately. 2018 was a big year for One Cute Cowboy and I. We welcomed into our world the cutest Lil’ Cowboy and our hearts swell with love and pride each passing month as we continue to grow and learn as a family of 3. I say with confidence, I’ve grown more mentally, emotionally, and spiritually this past year, than in any other year in my life. Becoming a mom has totally rocked my world, in a good way, but also in “everything’s changed” kind of way. Being a good parent comes with a multitude of changes and self-sacrifices. Some we welcomely make, and some we make gritting our teeth.

One thing that has been hard for me, has been making time for self-care and cultivating my relationships with others. It’s easy to be completely wrapped up in your new little one and forget about yourself and others. And don’t get me wrong, I 100% believe it’s okay to be wrapped up in your new little life, I think you should be engulfed in this new treasure…but I also believe it’s incredibly important to take care of your physical and mental self, your marriage, and your close relationships.

Now, I’ve never been big on the whole “New Years” racket. Making resolutions, making a big to-do about it being a new year and a new beginning, and so on and so forth. (Obviously, I’m just now getting around to posting this a week already, into the new year!) You all know what I’m talking about. There’s nothing wrong with any of it, it’s just never been that big a deal to me I suppose...But with that being said, I would like to state a few things I look forward to working towards this coming year (See what I did there 😉)

  • Enjoy Reading Again: 2018 might be one of my slowest reading years to date. I sadly only read a handful of books, and I’m afraid to report the ones I did read are hardly mentionable. So this year I want to take some time to read some good, enjoyable books! (If you have any good recommendations please send them my way!)
  • More Water, More Veggies: Since Little Bear was born I’ve only drank water. With a sip of coke here and there and I think I’ve had 1 or 2 glasses of iced tea. Other than that it’s been my daily (sometimes 2-3 times) hot tea and then it’s just been water. That being said, I still don’t feel like I drink what I should for my daily intake. Actually this is a goal of both One Cute Cowboy’s and mine- Drink more water! And while we’re at it, let’s throw in “to eat more veggies” too! I want Little Bear to grow up loving veggies and fruits, so in order for that to happen, mom and dad need to be intaking more as well.
  • Purge: Since having a new one, we realized just how much “stuff” we have in our home. For some reason I get a sentimental attachment to odd things. Therefore every nook and cranny seem to be filled in our little home. I plan on doing some serious purging in the next few months. I’ve just started reading about KonMari’s method of decluttering. I kinda dig it and I’m wiling to try it.
  • Quality Time: I’m as guilty as anyone about constantly looking at my phone. 🙄 I plan on being more conscientious of my time spent on my phone and taking breaks from social media to make sure I’m spending quality time with my ever-learning son, and my cute husband. 😉 That being said…
    Scheduled Posting: I want to be better this year in having more of a scheduled posting so y’all are aware of when new posts are coming and it’s not so hit and miss for all of you! I haven’t quite decided what that’s going to look like yet, once a week, bi-weekly, once a month? I’m not sure yet, what would y’all like to see?
    Self Care: Lastly, I want to spend this year being sure to take time for self-care. I have a few ways I plan on doing that, but my biggest way I want to work on that is spending more time in God’s word. I’ve lacked in my daily devotionals and prayer time it seems lately, and I can definitely tell when I do. That’s something I ( and I would say all of us) need to keep a healthy mentality and attitude. But I also plan on spending some self care reading, journaling again, and just some alone time to collect my thoughts, write down my goals, and have some quiet to reflect on and listen to God’s words.

2018 tested my patience, my marriage, my self-worth, my heart, my mind, my physical body, my organizational abilities, and my pocketbook. (If you think having a baby won’t test every single one of those aspects of life, then show me your guidebook! Haha!) But it’s also brought more love than I knew imaginable, more patience than I realized, a stronger love to my marriage, more love for myself for what my body and mind and spirit can endure, and more blessings than I knew were possible. God has favored me in this year, and I’m so grateful for His love and patience. I will continue to lean on His guidance and trust His timing and faithfulness. As I’ve been writing this and thinking about 2018, this hymn keeps coming to the surface,

“Great is thy faithfulness,

Great is thy faithfulness.

Morning by morning new mercies I see.

All I have needed thy hand has provided.

Great is thy faithfulness,

Lord unto me.”

I pray that in 2019 I never lose sight of His faithfulness, and to remember, all that I need, His hand will provide.

Happy New Year! May 2019 be full of blessings and new adventures and lots and lots of love. ❤️

Mom Moment

My Little Cute Cowboy is 7 months old. How exactly did that happen?! It feels like yesterday I was worried about keeping his head and neck propped up properly while I held him, now, he’s on my hip whipping his head left to right to see everything going on around us. Time slow down!

I’ve had several “Mom Moments.” You know the ones, those moment when it hits you square in the face that you’re a mom. That for the rest of your life you’ll hold the title, Mom. I’ve had many of these moments in these last 7 months. They’re a lot like “Ah-hah” moments. But today, today I realllly felt like a mom.

Little Bear and I made our first solo trip out of town for the day! It was a two hour drive to our destination, the furthest we’ve ever gone without a little assistance in the car with us. Usually One Cute Cowboy goes with us, but this was short notice, and had to be done so it was just the two of us!

The trip there was good, he did great! He slept most of the way which was a total win, and he was pretty happy and comfortable in the times he was awake. It poured down rain the entire trip, so I think they helped him sleep good the steady sound of raindrops. We went to our appointment, had a picnic of Chic-fil-a in the backseat of the pickup ( well I had Chic, he had a bottle) and then we decided to brave Target. Mind you, this is our first solo trip to a bigger city, and shopping is definitely something we haven’t done, so I was taking a pretty good gamble here.

I’m painstakingly aware of my surroundings. I’m talking if something doesn’t look right, I’m not stopping! I let my intuition guide me 99% of the time. Being by myself, handling a 7 month old, I was a bit nervous. Once we got from the pickup to the storefront in the pouring rain, we were golden! He did awesome! He sat in his carseat while I walked through the women’s clothes, and kids clothes, and then I got him out and he hung out on my hip the rest of the time, in complete awe of all the people and all the things there were to look at. Not to mention, it must have been Mom & Baby Day at Target. I bet I saw 4 or 5 other babies around his age, and then several younger, and a few toddler to about 7-8yo. I felt like there was a Mom Club meeting to meet up for and we were all just Mommin’ through our day like a bunch of bosses! Little Bear and I got our things and checked out,then braved the rain again back out to the pickup.

Once loaded and headed home, I thought to myself, “Man, I realllly felt like a mom today.” I know this may sound funny or strange, but it was just one of those moments (and small victories) for me and I thought I’d share. As I was walking through the aisles, I was that woman with the baby, I was that woman looking for new pajamas for my kiddo, I was the woman scanning the aisles with the baby on her hip…I’m still getting used to this Mom Life, and continuously learning and bettering myself because of it. Whoever said, “Mommin’ ain’t easy,” definitely had it right, but I wouldn’t trade a single day of it for any other kind of life.

*ASpottedHeart

What does your label read?

We are the generation of “label readers.” To me, this isn’t a bad thing. It just means we’ve become conscious of living the best and cleanest way we can. Whenever I see something new I want to try whether it be food, beauty products, or items for my household, I read the label. I want to know what it’s made up of, what ingredients are used, and how will those affect my family and I. I’m amazed at the things that are considered “safe” to use in some products, whether it be a minuscule amount or not. I read the other day the average woman puts 5lbs of harmful chemicals on her skin a year. Five. Pounds. That’s completely insane to me!!

When I became pregnant with Lil Cute Cowboy, I became incredibly aware of what I was putting on and in my body. Now that he’s here, I’m just as obsessive about what’s not only going on my body (since we snuggle up everyday and essentially what’s going on mine is going on his) but what I’m putting on his body as well. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “Okay, we get it ya ‘ol hippie! Go green…or whatever!” I’m not trying to necessarily convince anyone of anything, I just think as a whole, we can do so much better in this world. We can take care of ourselves and others better than what we have in the past. #KnowBetterDoBetter

This is, what I would I say, the era of “all natural” and “organic.” Seems like there’s an organic option for just about everything. I’m only going to lightly touch on this one, do I think organic is always the way to go?Not necessarily. We have the knowledge and the resources to know what is and isn’t harmful to our bodies and minds, so why not do the best we can? And Yes, you read that right, our minds. Do I think the moisturizer I put on my face of an evening could possibly affect my state of mine? Absolutely. Do I think that can of Coke OCC is drinking daily could possibly be affecting his mind? I think it’s quite possible. There are so many things out there that can change and modify the chemicals in our body, that it’s scary once you start reading the possible affect some ingredients can have on you.

One Cute Cowboy would tell you I’m a hippie at heart, because I’m always looking for a natural solution. Now, I know, the thought of trying to “go green” or completely change to organic or all natural or back to the “old ways” of doing things is a daunting task. I don’t want to give the wrong impression, One Cute Cowboy and I are pretty conscientious of the things we use on a daily basis and what we put into our bodies, but we definitely do not have it all figured out. We still eat Cheetos, use store bought shampoo, drink cokes (OCC gets to anyway) eat frozen meals, and don’t exercise like we should. Okay, maybe I don’t exercise like I should, OCC gets quite a bit of exercise daily. But my point is, we’re starting to take small steps to try and take out some harmful things in our daily lives and really strive to be the best we can, not just for ourselves but for our little bear. We want him to have a full life and be able to thrive.

Now, up there I said we use store bought shampoo, that’s a bit of a fib. We’re in the process of changing over our shampoo to a more natural, toxic-free option, along with our body soap, the cleaner in our house, and our laundry regiment. Most of you know, I’m an oily gal, and Young Living has come out with some amazing household and beauty products that are, you guessed it, toxic free! Young Living is a brand I fully trust because of their “Seed to Seal” promise. If you’d like to read more about what that means, you can go here.

We just recently got rid of all the toxic cleaners in our house, and replaced it with one, non-toxic cleaner. Thieves Household Cleaner. I do mean all the cleaners in my house.

Windows✔️Countertops✔️ Appliances✔️ Floors✔️ Bathtub/Shower✔️ Toilet✔️Baby Gadgets✔️

It covers all the bases and plus it helps boost your immune system while you clean! Whoop whoop!! We’re in the process of “ditch and switch” with several other things too.

One recent switch we’ve made is our sunscreen. One Cute Cowboy goes through a lot of sunscreen. He wears it just about 300 days a year since he’s in the sun so much! I hated the thought of him putting those chemicals on his body day in and day out (y’all your epidermis is your largest organ, take care of it!) Young Living came out with a mineral based sunscreen that not only works fantastically, but OCC and I can visually tell it’s been better for his skin. No more redness from his skin reacting to the chemicals in his old sunscreen.

So, my point being, make good choices for you and your family. Get interested in what you’re consuming,internally and externally. You may ask yourself, “does it really matter? If it’s only a little bit {of toxins} in (fill in the blank) is it really doing me any harm?” My answer will be, “YES! It matters because YOU matter.” If there’s just a “little bit of toxins” in 90% of the products you use, then think about what that’s building up in your body. I don’t know about you, but I know where I’m making my vote, and that’s with where I spend my money for better products for me and my family. Like I said above Know better, do better!

{steps off soapbox} ☺️

If any of y’all are interested in learning more about Young Living products or are ready to ditch and switch the products in your home, shoot me an email or go sign up here. Or if you’re interested to see just how harmful some of the products in your household are, download the “Think Dirty” app and look them up! It’s helped open my eyes a lot!

*ASpottedHeart

July on the Ponderosa

Lil’ Cute Cowboy coming nose-to-nose with his first bronc!

July has felt long and short all at once. Seems like just last week I was writing June’s Ponderosa post, but at the same time, there’s also been a lot of happenings this month.

One Cute Cowboy kicked off the month by completely replacing the floor in his stock trailer. This took a few days and evenings, and the finished product was well worth the time spent. It’s as good as new!

We celebrated the 4th of July with family and friends in the park of our small community. We had hamburgers and hotdogs and homecut French fries. Our local firefighters did all the cooking. It was delicious. We threw our big jean & fleece blanket on the ground and ate and listened to the live band. Bratcher wasn’t sure what to think of it all at first, but he warmed up to it. He even got to meet one of his future little classmates!

Guess what else One Cute Cowboy did this month. No guesses? Fixed and built more fence! Haha! As I’ve said before, it’s truly a never ending job. I guess it’s job security, because there’s always fence to be worked on somewhere. He finished up building the hot wire fence for the CRP cattle and got them all moved to their new pastures for the next couple months.

Along with CRP cattle, comes the job of hauling water. Most CRP pastures don’t have a water source, therefore the Cowboy’s have to haul the water to the cows every, single, day. The little rig above is new to the ranch, and has been pretty dang handy. The Cowboys haul water to 3 pastures everyday, and it takes around 2 hours from start to finish. I always like to go haul water, though I haven’t gotten to this year any. It’s always fun to see the cows come in for a fresh, cool drink of water.

It was unbearably hot here for about 2 weeks. It reached 106 for a high and we were over 100 for 6 days! Days like that make me so ready for fall to come around. It’s especially important on days like that to make sure every pasture has water and all windmills are working as they should. This month also consisted of a lot of water checking and more windmill oil checking.

The Cowboys rotated some of the cattle around to different “summer” pastures to give some of the land a break. As I talked about in June’s post, it’s just as important to take care of our land as much as the cattle. God made us to be good stewards of both, for they’re each a living thing and have been gifted to us.

As you may have gathered, One Cute Cowboy is a jack of many many trades! He is also a Superior Livestock representative. He spent part of the month contracting and selling cattle through Superior. July is a busy time because of the annual Superior sale that happens up in the Rockies. The first year we went it was up in Steamboat,CO. The last two years it’s been in Breckinridge, CO. We didn’t go this year but OCC and my dad watched a lot of the sale online on the Superior website. Each year OCC contracts calves for local producers that top the markets throughout the United States. We have some dang good cattle in this part of the country! Be sure and contact OCC if you have some cattle that need reppin’. 😉

OCC did quite a bit of maintenance work on machinery and trailers this month. As I’ve mentioned before, he likes to keep everything in tip-top shape!

He also cleaned out the pens here at the house a couple evenings. It’s important to keep your pens clean of old manure and hay. It helps the animal stay healthier and keeps their immune systems strong. As well as it cuts down on those pesky flies! It’s not just a healthier environment for them to live in, but a happier one!

Here on the homefront we had our first successful grocery shopping trip with Little Bear! Woohoo! This may not seem like a big feat for most, but it was for this little family! We also went to our first church service. He did completely awesome at both! He’s such a trooper!

Well, there are the happening for us in July here at the Ponderosa. Hope you had a good July, stay tuned this August for a special edition from the animals on the Ponderosa!

*ASpottedHeart

Lil’ Cute Cowboy’s Favorite Books at 4 Months Old

Growing up, I always loved stories. I loved being read to, I loved library day once I was in school, and when I got old enough I loved reading! My love started out with Clifford the Big Red Dog (Oddly enough I haven’t bought any of those for Little Bear yet) and then continued to grow the more I read and learned of other authors like Mercer Mayer, Bill Wallace, and Peggy Parish.

When I first brought Lil’ Cute Cowboy home from the hospital, I wasn’t really sure what to do when he was awake, so I’d read to him. Studies have shown that children that were read to as infants grow up with a larger vocabulary and more advanced mathematical skills. This also helps develop their language skills. Its great for their brains to see pictures and connect words with those pictures.

Needless to say, Little Bear gets read to every day, and at 4 months, these are his favorite books.

1. Disney Bunnies All Ears

He loves this book! His Aunt MiMi got this book for him for Easter and he’s just started really enjoying it. I think he loves Thumper’s big eyes and pliable ears! He always smiles when he sees I have this book to read.

2. The Brave Cowboy – by Joan Walsh Anglund

This is the cutest book! We were gifted this book and he loves when his daddy reads it to him. I have a feeling this will be a book we will be reading for many many more years! It’s also illustrated really fun; what’s really happening in the story is in black and white drawings, but his imagination is depicted in red. I’d recommend this to any little Cowboy!

3. Snuggle Bunny by Kate Dopirak

This is a book we’ve been reading since day one. I think what he enjoys most on this book is the pictures of all the different animals that come over to Snuggle Bunny’s house for Snuggle Bunny Day. When you read this one he just looks and looks at the pages. It’s a really cute and fun book.

4. There’s a Wocket in my Pocket by Dr. Seuss

This kid loves Dr. Seuss! You start reading this book and he starts jabbering like there’s no tomorrow! I think he likes the rhyming and rhythm. Dr. Seuss is so highly praised in the literary world (and by teachers everywhere) because rhyming helps children understand how language works. They learn to predict what’s coming next, which is another great learning tool to have in their toolbox. I think Little Bear also really enjoys the illustrations with the bright colors and funny looking creatures in Seuss world!

5. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb by Al Perkins

This is right up there with the Dr. Seuss books! The rhyming and rhythm of this book gets him talking and kicking and you can tell he really enjoys this book!

6. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr.

He loves this classic children’s book. It’s celebrating its 25th anniversary of being published this year! His eyes get big as he looks at the colors and shapes while you read. I look forward to continuing this book in hopes that it helps him learn his colors. You can’t go wrong with a classic.

And now for Lil’ Cute Cowboy’s favorite book right now:

7. Bedtime for Chickies by Janee Trasler

You guys, he absolutely loves this book! You start out with the opening line, “It’s bedtime for chickies, it’s bedtime for sheep…” and he starts kicking his legs, waving his hands, and jabbering like it’s the greatest thing in the world! This book always makes him smile. It’s a cute little story about some little chickies who just won’t go to bed! It’s a repetitive book, and I think that’s part of why he loves it so much, because he anticipates what’s coming next. Like when the chickies go “cheep cheep cheep!!” He Loves that! I definitely recommend this book if you have a little one. Really cute!

So there are Lil Cute Cowboy’s Favorite books at this age. I’m so thankful he enjoys story time, because Mama sure does too!

** I cant forget one of his favorites, his crinkly book shown above! Haha! Every baby needs a crinkle book, here’s a link to his: Penguin and Friends

Did you enjoy this post? Is this something ya’ll, my readers, would be interested in as a monthly thing? Maybe not 7, but 1 or 2?new children’s book recommendations a month? Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email aspottedheart@gmail.com

Thanks for reading!

*ASpottedHeart

June on the Ponderosa

Well, readers, I’m gonna be real honest with ya, One Cute Cowboy and I dropped the ball taking pictures around the Ponderosa this month. I have a camera roll full of ‘lil Cute Cowboy, but none of the ranch. OCC has been busy, and it totally slipped his mind to take pictures this month as well. So I’m gonna post some random ones from over the last few years while I talk about what all has been going on around the Ponderosa this month.

We started off June with our community’s annual Santa Fe Trail Daze celebration. This was Little Bear’s first parade to watch and he did okay until the sirens and the few semi-trucks that thought it was funny to blow their horns (insert annoyed face here). Poor guy didn’t like that at all, but the rest he was pretty interested in. I guess you could say this was his first “official”‘outing.

OCC finally finished up with all the branding crews, branding a little over 3,000 head in a short (or long, depending on who you’re asking!) 6 weeks.

One Cute Cowboy built a lot of fence in the month of June! He and our nephew spent several days building fence around CRP grass for our cattle to graze this summer. If you’re not familiar with CRP (Conservariin Reserve Program) I talked all about it in my October on the Ponderosa post, when we were taking cattle off CRP. In short, it’s the governments way to (1) “conserve soil, water quality, and provide wildlife habitats by establishing long-term cover on highly erodible land or land in need of conservation buffers that has previously been in row crop production.”

My husband is a bit obsessed with grass and grass quality, and taking proper care of the grass. He spends days figuring and refiguring numbers making sure he’s putting just enough cattle on a piece of land to get the best use out of grass for the cattle while still making sure the grass thrives and is in just as good of shape when the cattle leave the grass. Overgrazing absolutely kills him! He can’t stand to see land being misused and the poor cattle that are left with nothing else to do but overgraze. We must be good stewards of our land just as much as we are to our animals. He takes the ecosystem very seriously, and he’s sure to do his part to make sure this is a better place after we leave it. He’s a total land-lover.

But, back to the fence–they built close to 10 miles of fence…as I’ve said before, when people think of cowboys, I don’t think people take into consideration how much time isn’t spent on a horse. This was one of those months where being horseback was few and far between.

OCC spent a couple days up high on the windmills checking oil and doing maintenance where needed on each one. As one can imagine, this always makes me pretty nervous when I know he’s getting up on a windmill, luckily he has a safety harness he uses, which puts this gal’s mind at ease…somewhat.

The bulls were especially rambunctious this month. We’ve got a few ornery ones that kept getting out to visit the cows in the different pastures. So you know what that means? More fence was worked on! Haha! I’d say One Cute Cowboy wouldn’t consider it a laughing matter. But I say, the bulls get bored and just want to go visit their girlfriend(s) in the other pastures. He doesn’t think I’m funny.

The last week or so of the month One Cute Cowboy worked on different equipment around the ranch so everything stays up to par and runs smoothly when needed.

Somewhere in there, between the hustle and bustle, we took our first family vacation to Red River. I talked all about it in my last post.

That pretty much wraps up the month of June at the Ponderosa! Hope y’all enjoyed! Can’t believe the summer is already about halfway over.

*ASpottedHeart

(1): Conservation Reserve Program

First Trip as Family of 3

One Cute Cowboy and I both grew up taking trips to Red River, New Mexico with our families. In fact, we probably passed each other on the sidewalks of the small mountain town, when we were just 10 or 11 years old, and never knew we were within arms reach of our future spouse and soul mate. We both love Red River and have gone just about every summer since we started dating.

This year we made kind of an impromptu trip up there when I decided to take vacation at the last minute. This was our first vacation as s family of 3!

“Red River you say? Very interesting!”

We loaded up Lil’ Cute Cowboy and all 90 of the different supplies we thought we needed! Haha! I really should have gotten a picture of the way the pickup was packed. We might have overpacked a bit, not knowing what we would, and wouldn’t need for this little turkey.

I’ll admit, I was a bit nervous not knowing what he would do going to a place with higher elevation. We live at 4,167 ft. above sea level. Red River is another 4,500 ft. at 8,671 ft. above sea level. But he was a complete champ and did amazing on the drive up!

We stopped at our favorite little roadside stopping place in Gladstone, NM for a bottle break. There was a nice, cool breeze so we decided to have our bottle outside. It’s the cutest little rest stop this side of the Mississippi, and has out of this world baked goods, every day!! We never ever drive by without stopping. We always end up leaving with at least one bag of oatmeal raisin cookies (One Cute Cowboy ‘s) and one bag of chocolate chip cookies (mine!). Not to mention she has homemade loaves of bread. *Swoon* One Cute Cowboy grew up stopping and eating here often. As a young boy he’d day work for people around the area and got to know the owners well, so he especially likes to stop so he can be sure to say “hi!”

Since One Cute Cowboy and I have been together, we’ve never stayed in the same place twice at Red River. Always trying out new (to us) places to stay and trying to figure out where our “spot” will be in years to come. Well, this year, I think we’ve found it! Hotel Ryland! This is a place neither one of us had ever stayed. The newly renovated room was perfect for our small family of 3. It was definitely a smaller room, but worked out great for us. It was clean, updated, and cute. Upon arrival an older gentlemen led me up to our room and told me he was glad for us to be there. He was so nice and sweet and Riley enjoyed talking with him the next day before we left too. He was very welcoming and sincere, and that just made us feel good, and definitely made us want to come back and stay.

Once we unloaded our things we decided to go across the street to my favorite place in Red River–The Bobcat. This place has been my turquoise sanctuary since I was 9 years old! The A-frame building welcomes you in, with its wind chime lazily dancing in the breeze. You walk in and can feel the warmth of the owner, Sherri. We’ve gone for so many years she knows our faces when we walk through the door, and she immediately greets us with a warm smile and a “You’ve added to the family!” She came over to see Little Bear and quickly says, “I have a gift for you!” She went to the back, with her sweet dogs following her, and she came back with a beautiful sterling silver baby rattle that she said to use when he starts to teethe. She said to just stick it in the refrigerator and get it out once it’s cool to soothe his little gums. It was such a sweet, and beautiful gift.

Then she told her helper, a woman I’ve never seen before, to get out the pawn/antique stuff because she knows that’s what I’m there to see. She has the most beautiful and unique vintage turquoise, not to mention a slew of other different stones. We start out looking at the rings, then the squash blossoms, then the cuffs. Most handmade by Native Americans. I ended up with a “Fred Harvey” cuff and ring set. It’s hard for me to ever leave without getting something.

Lil’ Cute Cowboy was fascinated with everything in the shop and I was so proud of how well he did! After that we decided to stroll down Mainstreet.

It was a little warmer than usual, but there was still a nice mountain breeze that made it perfect. It was pretty quiet in town, being the middle of the week, there didn’t seem to be as many people as there usually are, which was really kind of nice. It felt like we had the place to ourselves.

Little Bear absolutely loved it! We’d stroll around and he’d just look at all there was to see, taking it all in. Then we’d stop and hang out for a little bit in the shade and he’d just hang out and listen to the birds or the wind chimes clinging around town. He’s a mountain kid for sure!

We worked up quite an appetite and decided to try the brand new brewery that opened in town just about a month before. We’d walked by earlier and it looked fun and the food they were serving looked delicious! When we got there we could tell the music was really loud but hoped maybe there was an area where it wouldn’t be so loud, but we walked in the doors and Little Bear had a look of terror on his face, seconds from a complete meltdown. We quickly walked back outside and decided we’d better try some place else. So we decided to go to the nice little Mexican food restaurant in town, The Sundance. It was Lil’ Cute Cowboys first time in a restaurant.

He did pretty good as long as he could see all that was going on. He was completely worn out by the time we got back to our room. He’d had a huge day!

The next day we ate at our favorite breakfast place, T-Bucks, and did some more walking around and visited our favorite little coffee place The Way Coffee. I ordered my go-to, a London Fog, and Riley ordered himself a latte. They were so delicious! We just sat and watched passerby’s for awhile and enjoyed our beverages and breathing in the mountain air. It was so relaxing and peaceful.

“Best Seat in the House” by Kenneth Wyatt

One of my favorite places to stop in Red River is Kenneth Wyatt’s art gallery. Photos on the internet cannot do his incredible paintings justice! This is one of my favorites of his. He is truly gifted and I always enjoy walking through his gallery to see what’s new and to see the ones I’ve seen 100 times over again. He’s currently 88 years old, has painted over 9,000 paintings, and paints every single day. Did I mention he didn’t even start painting until his 40’s?! If you ever go to Red River, do yourself a favor, and walk through his gallery.

We tried out the Smokehouse before we left, and parked beside this pretty little stream to eat our chopped beef sandwich. Little Bear loved to watch and hear the small stream. It was finally time to head home. We said goodbye to the mountains, and pointed our pickup east, back to the flatlands. It was such a nice trip and went great for our first mini-vacation!

Hope everyone had a great weekend! Check back in for the newest “Ranching on the Ponderosa” that will be up in the next few days!

*ASpottedHeart

May on the Ponderosa

Well, here we are starting into June. My oh my, how summer has rushed upon us! It’s been in the upper 80’s low 90’s the last couple weeks, which feels insane to be that warm already. But I will say, we’ve had some nice little thunderstorms! We’re always thankful for rain!!

This month has been full of more brandings for One Cute Cowboy. 2,900 calves in 21 days to be exact!

Started the month off with finishing up the branding at the ranch headquarters and has been gypsy jumping around from ranch to ranch “dayworking” (helping other ranches for a short time), all month!

This time of the year is tough on cowboys because not only are they working long hard days but they have to get their normal jobs completed and cows checked and problems dealt with on their own ranches after “dayworking” for the other ranches. Needless to say, they can turn into VERY long days! No one ever said being a Cowboy’s wife would be easy.

OCC had the yearly branding at my in-laws in New Mexico, just on the other side of Kenton, Oklahoma this month as well. Once again, Lil Cute Cowboy and I decided to stay home since it would be hot, windy, and dusty. This mama bear is still a little overly protective. ☺️

The brand on the calf pictured above is One Cute Cowboy’s great grandpa’s brand. It’s been in his family for 5 generations! Agriculture is all about tradition you know. It’s neat to know that the calves have received this same brand for all of these years.

The bulls of the ranch were finally happy to be placed out in their different pastures for the summer. It’s important to make sure and give the bulls and cows a break from one another. Some of the bulls will be gathered back up in July, and some will get to stay with the cows until October.

Speaking of bulls, we got all of our registered bulls delivered this month as well. It’s a good feeling to have them all placed at good ranches .

One Cute Cowboy and I have our own little herd that got vaccinated and branded this month too. Have I ever told you about Mama, the friendly cow? She’s an older cow that Riley and I got in our first herd right after we got married. She is such a sweetheart, she’ll come right up to eat cake out of your hand (she’s actually usually up in your business trying to see if you actually have any cake in your hands to snatch up!) She always throws us a good little bull calf each year, which we’re always happy to see! She’s talked one of the other mamas into coming up to us too. We call this ‘ol gal Sister.

One of the biggest changes this month on the Ponderosa is I went back to work at my 9 to 5. It’s been incredibly hard leaving Little Bear everyday, but we’re getting more of a routine down and learning and growing. I try to remind myself to just be in the moment and not to dwell on not being with him all day. It’s definitely hard on this mama!

This Lil Ranch Kid is growing like crazy and smiling and laughing and just so much dang fun! Our hearts are full here on the Ponderosa.

Happy June!

*ASpottedHeart