Animals on the Ponderosa

This month I decided to do something a little different. I thought I’d let you in on what the animals, here on the Ponderosa, have been up to lately.

As you can see from the picture, the dogs all make pretty dang good babysitters. 😉 They’ve all become a little more interested in the Lil Cowboy scootin’ around, (except for Huck of course, because he’s only interested in Huck.) Lil Cute Cowboy is also starting to take a bigger interest in them as well.

I couldn’t get him to look up because he was too engrossed in what Charlie was doing!

He likes to watch them run around and growl and wrestle with each other. He thinks it’s funny when they bark, which is pretty cute. Huck has pretty much become an outside dog. Huck was our only exclusively indoor dog, the only time he really spent outside was when we were outside as well. It was so hard keeping his hair off of things in the house once we brought Little Bear home, that we made the decision to transition him into an outside dog. It was a little rough at first, but now he loves to be outside with the others and bark and play. He still gets to come in on occasion, but for the most part, he’s happy being outside. He’ll be 8 this coming November.I’m pretty sure Hershey imprinted on Little Bear. Where my Twilight readers at? But really, she loves to be wherever he is; if he’s in bed, she lays in the room, if one of us is holding him she lays at our feet, outside she’s not far from his stroller, she really loves him. Even though she doesn’t really get up in his business or anything, she’ll let him pet her (read as: pull her fur) and sometimes sneaks a lick in on him. She’s still our gentle giant (unless you’re a stranger, then she’s just a growling giant 😬) and we’re still so thankful we’ve had the opportunity to be her family.Bumper has been her usual self. She’s head Queen, and all the dogs are mere peasants, and the other cats just don’t exist in her world. She’s spent most of her summer days laying in the garage on top of the deep freeze. Ha! She loves it there. She comes out in the evenings to boss around the dogs, and see what bugs she can play with. She’ll sit outside all night and jump and bat at the bugs that dance around the mercury light. She’s starting to put her fall/winter coat back on as the evenings get cooler.

It’s just about impossible to get a picture of PongaGirl! She’s always on the go, and hunting every chance she gets. Especially those noisy locust! She’ll hunt those down to make them stop their buzzing! If she’s not off hunting she’s begging for your undivided attention, as shown above.Izzy has been at the homestead the last month hanging out with Sunny & Rooster. She said it’s not like hanging out with Tex, but they’ll do. She likes to come to the fence to ask for cake and try to nibble at Lil Cowboy’s curious hands.

Sinatra still wants “pets” 24/7 and likes to talk to you the whole time you’re in the pens. He likes to roam from barn to barn and lounge wherever it’s cool.This is our sweet pup, Poppy. She’s from Ponga’s litter last Fall. She never found a good home to go to. She makes 5 puppers on the Ponderosa. We’d really like for her to go to a good home where she has plenty of room to roam and others dogs to play with. She loves to play and roam around with the others every chance she gets. She’s very lovable and full of life!Olive or “Quonset-Kitty” as we call her. She loves to hang out with One Cute Cowboy and see what all he’s up to. She’s our sweet kitty, but she doesn’t let the dogs get away with anything, that’s for sure! Fur-cat’s favorite place to be is still in the Tac house. We have to be sure and kick her out because it gets so dang hot in there. She likes to prowl around the pens and see whatever vermin she can scrounge up. Through the summer months she likes to stay cool by napping in the hay bales.

And lastly, Charlie’s favorite place to be is anywhere she can snuggle up, inside. You can guarantee this pup will make herself scarce if it means she can be inside. Though the puppers haven’t been in much, she still tries just about everyday. Outside though, she can always find a ball for you to throw! Though she loves to chase the cats, none of them really put up with it.

I’ve got two cowboys wanting to add to the madness on the Ponderosa, but I think we’ll wait. ☺️ we do love our “cheep cheeps” though, so I bet next spring we’ll be running chickens and ducks! Haha!

Hope you’ve enjoyed this little update from the fur-family on the Ponderosa. Happy Fall all! I’m so glad it’s finally September!

*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

The 4-leggers

I haven’t shared much about the 4-leggers on the Ponderosa lately. They’ve been begging me to have their own series here on A Spotted Heart, so we’ll see. For now, here’s a little update on the crew.

All the way back in September Ponga-Girl had 5 little Auggie (half Mini Aussie- half Corgie) puppies! FIVE! We couldn’t believe it. She’s such a small dog, we were shocked she packed away that many. They were so fun to watch start to grow and one by one they’ve found their homes, with only my little red “Poppy” left, whom still needs a good home.

It’s incredibly hard to let these cute pups go, but I know they’ve all gone to good, loving homes.

Since the pups were born, Charlie is pretty sure she’s been in Heaven. She’s been getting to sleep inside so she wouldn’t disrupt Ponga and her puppies, so now, naturally, she thinks she’s an “inside” dog. She takes over any blanket you leave out, as if you left it just for her.

Bumper still thinks she’s the Queen B. She spends most of her days avoiding Poppy and sunning in her catbox by the window. She roams around and goes hunting a couple hours before sunset, then she’s ready to go to bed for the night.

These two alley cats spend as much time as One Cute Cowboy will let them, in the tac house. They definitely earn their room & board by keeping the tac house completely rodent free. They’re sweet little barn kitties that are always happy to see you.

Huck of course still thinks he’s the only one who deserves any of my attention. As far as he’s concerned, the others are all One Cute Cowboy’s, and he’s all mine (and me all his!) He’s the one I worry about most once Baby Pup comes, just because he’s such a mama’s dog, it’ll be a big change for him (and me!)

Ponga is always going. She likes to run through the trees and hunt up whatever she can find. It’s hard to get a picture of her because she’s constantly on the go, but will always stop to bask in your attention. She was such a good mama to her pups, but I think is happy to be puppy-free again.

Si & Olive are my elusive felines. These are older photos. Olive has become quite the traveler this winter and made a trip to the ranch two different times! Let’s just say One Cute Cowboy and my dad have gotten in the habit of checking vehicles before they leave. Si spends as much time as she can in the well-house where it stays nice and toasty warm. She’s not a cold weather cat.

And as for Hershey, she’s just happy to be a ranch dog! You can always count on her to greet you with a big grin.

They’re all staying warm and happy through the winter. I’ve been asked if I think any of them sense that I’m pregnant, and I’d have to say I think Charlie especially did in the beginning, but I think Huck and Hershey sense it more now, always wanting to stay close, and for other not to be close. Animals are interesting beings, I can’t imagine a life without my 4-leggers.

Hope you’re all having a good week! Do you enjoy hearing about the animals on the Ponderosa? Should I let them have their own series? Let me know what you think in the comments, or email me! aspottedheart@gmail.com

*ASpottedHeart

November on the Ponderosa

Wheat pasture month. This is the beginning of once again, a busy season. (It’s all one big busy season really…) This month we started moving some of our cattle to wheat pasture. But not only our cattle, One Cute Cowboy also takes care of a couple of ranchers cattle for them on wheat in the winter time. Usually they want to put their smaller cattle on the wheat pasture, 400-550lb calves, this way some of the smaller cattle are gaining good, healthy weight, and the rancher doesn’t have to take care of them in the winter months.

This guy is ready for the winter, he’s got it figured out–Cow house! Haha!

Most ranchers will have wheat pasture cattle from November through March. So for the next 4 months, OCC will be checking pastures, doctoring sick cattle, checking water, feeding cattle on wheat, and feeding the cows on grass and corn stalks.

One thing a lot of people don’t think about when it comes to ranching is the time it takes to do upkeep on our fences. One thing One Cute Cowboy has done a lot of this month (and will continue to do) is fix fence, build fence, and continue upkeep on fence. What I mean by that is constantly making sure the fence stays hot enough to keep the cattle in, and that means taking a new battery out to the charger every day depending on the fence. A battery will keep its charge for 3 to 4 days. You have to think about keeping your batteries charged when they’re not on the fence as well.

This month we’ve also shipped calves, along with getting some cattle shipped in (to go on wheat pasture and corn stalks.) These are a few of the good-looking steers we got from eastern Oklahoma to go on wheat pasture. One Cute Cowboy and my dad also raise registered bulls, so our little bulls also went to wheat pasture for the winter where they’ll get big for the spring.

We also had a really nice Thanksgiving at my parents. All my dad’s side of the family got together, which doesn’t happen very often. There was lots of food eaten, dominos played, and my personal favorite Scattegories! We played 13 rounds of it, it was so much fun!

My favorite part of Thanksgiving, the cranberry salad. Yum! We are incredibly blessed to live the life we do. One of our biggest blessings this year will be out baby boy in March! We had so much to be thankful for this year!

Hope you all have had a blessed November and I hope you’ve enjoyed November on the Ponderosa!

Happy December!

*ASpottedHeart

Fall works on the Ponderosa


In case you’re not used to cowboy slang, “Fall Works” is when it’s time to work/wean cattle in the Fall. One Cute Cowboy and the rest of the cowboys have spent the last couple months prepping for Fall works. Getting fence fixed, built, and making sure the mamas and calves are ready for weaning season. Docotoring anything that seems to need it, and making sure all is healthy enough to happen.

One Cute Cowboy roped a cow that needed doctoring.

One Cute Cowboy welding on some pens.


One Cute Cowboy had the idea a few weeks ago about a new monthly series I could try. I’m going to start a monthly ranching series where at the end of each month I’ll talk about what’s been going on on the ranch (or the Ponderosa as I like to call it.) I’ll still be doing my mood boards here and there, but starting at the end of this month, I’ll kick it off with October on the Ponderosa. So be looking for it towards the end of the month! I hope this is something y’all enjoy!

Happy Columbus Day!

*ASpottedHeart

Hershey Kisses

I’ve shared with you guys before my love for animals and my passion for helping and caring for animals. I had a friend call me three or four weeks ago, asking if I knew of anyone who would consider temporarily fostering a dog. One of our local doctors (actually the man that delivered me and gave me my first stitches) had had back surgery for the second time and was still in rehabilitation. His dog, Hershey, had to be taken out to the vet to board until he was well enough to go home. She’d been out there since May. (That’s the exact point my heart broke, knowing that poor pup had been living in a cement kennel for the last 3 months.) I quickly called One Cute Cowboy and told him what was going on, he immediately said, “Just tell them we’ll take her!” I was pleasantly surprised and excited to be able to help this dog out.


She’s a 5 year-old Lab (and I think) either Border Collie or Husky mix. She’s always been an inside dog, except for when she got to go on her leash or cable outside, since Dr. B doesn’t have a fenced in yard. Naturally I was worried being so out in the open here at our house that we’d have trouble with her running off. We have a nice size pen for her to stay in, but worried about just letting her out. 


For the first few days I’d put her leash on her when I’d let her out and I’d walk her around the yard, walk her with me while I watered, and finally got to the point where I’d just drop the leash and she’d follow me dragging the leash behind her. Finally I thought, this is silly, she’s fine! So we did away with the leash completely and she runs and plays and has so much fun having open spaces to run around. She’s never once tried to run off or hasn’t listened when to come back. She happily hangs out in her outdoor pen while we’re gone and runs around and sleeps on the back porch while we’re home.


She’s one of the sweetest, most loving dogs I think I’ve ever been around. She’s smart and obedient and does her best to get along with everyone and be a good dog. I’m so happy to have had this chance to foster such a loving dog soul. I think she’s truly happy and is enjoying life! She’s a sweet Hershey kiss and it makes me happy to see her happy! 🐶😊


*ASpottedHeart

Branding Season

I’m a few weeks late on this and I apologize. Hope you enjoy!


Let me be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of branding season. When I was a kid, being the youngest, I guess you’d say I had….ahem…certain privileges. Ha! I didn’t have to go out in the early morning when the rest of the crew went out, I was able to go stay with my Grandma Smith, and help her get lunch ready to take to the crew at noon. 

I loved to watch her pack her pretty picnic basket with homemade sweet pickles, homemade ground beef sandwiches, chips, and always some kind of yummy dessert, homemade of course. We’d go out and they’d gather around sitting on buckets, barrels, and tailgates ready for lunch. That was always fun to me, sitting in the shade, eating lunch with everyone.

After everyone was done eating, it was time to continue branding. Grandma always wanted to stay and “watch them brand a few.” Much to my dismay, we’d watch them brand for a little while. 

 As I got older I was enlisted to help. I did things like drive the feed pick up to help gather, fill the shots with medicine, and every now and then try to give the shots. 

As most of you are aware, I’m an animal lover, and it’s more than just an “oh I love how cute and fun animals are,” I almost feel like it’s a sort of calling. My depth of compassion for four legged creatures is deep. So you can probably imagine that branding isn’t always the easiest road for me.  There’s a lot of calves bawling, sometimes blood, and a pretty terrible smell to top it off! But branding  involves a lot more than that. There’s of course branding and tagging the cattle but also making sure they have their vaccinations and it also gives the chance to look over each animal to make sure their over-all being is doing well. The vaccinations we give helps fight disease and bacteria in each calf. It helps boost their immune systems and helps them stay healthy. In all reality, it’s one of the best things we could do for our cattle; making sure they’re at their best and none of them need any special attention. 


These days I usually end up giving part of the shots and helping make sure the syringes stay full of medicine. On occasions I get to stay at the Ponderosa making lunch and taking it out just like Grandma used to. 


Something occurred to me this year at our branding– I end up physically touching every single one of our calves during this yearly occurrence, why not try to say a quick prayer of well-being over each calf as I quickly lay my hands upon them? These animals are a vital part of our daily lives, so why not?

As I’ve grown older I’ve realized branding isn’t just something we go through the motions of each year. There’s a reason why One Cute Cowboy gets so excited when branding season rolls around, it’s because it’s a time of gathering together and all pitching in to help. It’s a time for family and friends and working hard and laughing and making traditions while practicing the old ones. It’s living out our heritages. For centuries cowboys have gathered together to do this very same thing. So it is amazing to think we’re just doing what our great-great-great-great grandfathers and grandmothers did before us. It’s pretty cool to think about being a part of something big like that. 

Maybe I’ve found some silver lining in branding season after all. 
*ASpottedHeart

In Like a Lion, Out Like A Lamb: March Mood Board

Some may make the argument that it’s the middle of March, so here’s what’s inspired me so far and is my vision for the remainder. Always lots of greens in mind when it comes to March. Enjoy!

***you can click through the pictures to find the origins. Thanks for reading! 

 

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Frozen Pisco Sours from A Beautiful Mess

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What’s inspiring YOU this month?

 

 

 

Home,Home on the Range

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I come from a long lineage of cattle ranchers. Cowboys and cowgirls on both sides, fill up my family history and  family stories, so naturally, I married One Cute Cowboy and decided to carry on the tradition.

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Last weekend, after spending the winter on corn stalks, our 70 head of black Angus cows  finally headed back to the homestead. A ranch that has been in my family for 4 generations.

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My husband and dad are cattle partners. Luckily they make a pretty good team.

For me, it’s always nice to see the cattle back at the ranch, enjoying “Home.” Of course, I know it’s good to give the land a break, and we’re very thankful for the farmers that let us lease their fields for the winters, but it’s just nice to see them in the House Pasture once again where soon we will have little babies running around of which we will enjoy and the generations of cattle on the Smith Ranch will carry on!

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St. Francis

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a love and passion for animals. As I was growing up we always had some kind of animal around. I’ve had dogs,cats, horses, a raccoon, a sugar glider, a ferret, a wolf, rabbits, and goats. You name it and I’d take it home to care and nurture it like it was my main job in life. 20 year later and I’m still doing the same thing. I have 3 dogs, 12 cats, a precious baby (read as: practically full grown) bottle calf, a slew of cattle and a handful of horses.

My husband claims that I have some kind of strange relationship and ability to communicate  with animals. In fact he’s gone as far to say I can’t be “too close” to his horses, for I might put some kind of hypnotic spell on them and they’d be too tame and only ever like me. Ha! Maybe I should be offended, but I can’t help but take it as a compliment. This is where St. Francis comes in to play.

When I was in the 5th grade I had one of the most incredible preacher’s any kid could wish for! He had a part wolf-dog, and wolves were the very animal that set my heart on fire…and to be honest they still do. My parents and I were at the parsonage one evening and I noticed on our preacher’s mantel was a wooden sculpture of a  man, who looked like a monk, with his arms outstretched and his head turned towards the heavens and he had small birds resting on each arm and a wolf at his feet. When I asked our preacher, “who is that on your mantel?” and he eagerly replied, ” That’s St. Francis, preacher to the animals and birds.” That image has stuck with me for years. I’m not Catholic and don’t really delve into the different Saints, but I can’t help to feel a special connection to St. Francis. He was said to have believed that nature itself was the mirror of God, referring to all creatures as his brothers and sisters. He was my kind of people. He wrote a lovely song called The Canticle of the Creatures that I think is worth a read when you have a chance.

So below is a picture of my Christmas St. Francis. I look forward to displaying it every year, to reflect my own heart, and long-living compassion for all living creatures.

 

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