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

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

Life Lately…

Just a little photo update on things around the Ponderosa lately.

We’ve had some beautiful sunsets.


First okra of the season!


Riley was in the US Army and is a war Veteran. My mom and sister found this United States Army flag so we’ve been finding a place for it to proudly wave.


A lady I work with saved 4 baby bunnies and brought them to work so she could feed them when needed. Made my day.


Riley celebrated his 30th birthday this past month!


Huck & Charlie have been playing a lot of fetch/keepaway .


That kind of sums up life lately! What have you all been up to this summer? 

As of lately…

Summer Nights

Happy Flowers

Ponga & OneCuteCowboy taking a siesta


Indian Blankets

Chief & Mott ready for supper


Huck acting unimpressed with my drill flowers


Just a few snapshot from my life lately. 

Happy Wednesday, friends! 

Worth It

I’m not the best at horseback riding, I’m not always the best help during branding season, or the toughest, but one thing I do know how to do is love and care for animals. Living on a ranch can be hard, and frustrating, and truly heart-breaking at times… but this right here, this is what makes this way of life worth it! This baby calf finally drinking from a bottle this morning! Let me tell you this little guy’s story.

This baby’s mama is crazy with a capital C! Her bag (utters) had swollen up and were too big for the baby to nurse when he was born, so Riley and Dad decided they needed to try to milk her. That was a fiasco within itself, because she not only didn’t want them near her or her baby, but she charged them both! Like I said, CRAZY. They were able to milk her, and used the milk to drench the calf so it would get it’s nourishment. For those of you who aren’t familiar with drenching, it’s a way to administer liquids to a calf through the mouth using a drench bottle. A drench bottle has a long tube on it and you have to guide the tube into the calf’s mouth, through the esophagus into the stomach. It takes skill and patience. It doesn’t hurt the calf in any way, but it’s much harder than just simply giving it a bottle.  After two days of driving out to the ranch and feeding the baby, hoping he’d nurse his mama, we realized it was time to bring him up to the house, so we could feed him more easily and more often since he didn’t seem to be nursing.

Now, let me tell you, when we went out to feed him, we were in one of Riley’s work pickups, a single cab, 90-something Chevy flatbed. We also had taken both girls with us, Ponga one of our Mini-Aussies, and Charlie our blue-heeler (they love running around at the ranch.) One can probably imagine my surprise when Riley said, “We’re going to take him back to the house with us…tonight.” “Tonight?” I said, trying to figure out if he was joking. “Tonight,” he said. Mind you, we do not have a trailer,and it’s a flatbed pickup, this could only mean one thing, that calf was riding shotgun!

We decided I should drive, so Riley could hold the calf, and the girls would just have to pile in and we’d hope for the best. Riley got the calf in, holding it across his lap, luckily at this point, the calf didn’t have real high energy, and was pretty docile, so he gladly laid there. Now here’s where it got tricky, though Ponga & Charlie have fun playfully chasing and barking at the cattle, they were in no hurry to get up-close and personal with this little fella in the tight corners of our single cab. We finally got Ponga in the seat and Riley gets her to sit down beside him, while holding her collar, then I got Charlie to jump in the floorboard and I got in as fast as I could behind her so she couldn’t jump back out as she had several attempts before that. About that time, the calf decides it’s time to…how do I put this…relieve himself a bit, and let me tell you, he had all four of us, rushing our noses to the open widows! Charlie was about in my lap trying to get her nose out the window, and Ponga was climbing behind my back, all while I was trying to drive to get this calf to it’s new pen at the house. Had it not been such a crazy situation, I would have tried to snap a picture of all the chaos. Definitely a moment I won’t forget! From that moment on we knew this calf’s name would be Pepé Le Pew.

We already have one bottle calf, Pete, so Pepé already had a friend to room with here at the Ponderosa. Pete was bigger when his mama died, and he was already drinking water out of a trough, so we just mix the milk and pour it in a trough for him and he’s good to go.

The next morning Pepé was still weak enough that he didn’t have the energy or know-how to take a bottle, so once again Riley had to drench the poor guy. This morning when I woke up, I was determined to help Pepé drink out of a bottle, I knew it’d be easier and more enjoyable for him to take his milk this way. I mixed 2 bottles and headed out to the calves. I was happy to see Pepé up when I got there, glad to see he was gaining energy. It took several tries, but I finally got the bottle in his mouth and pushed his little nose and chin together like he was sucking and in seconds he understood and drained the whole bottle! I was so happy I could’ve cried. The picture above is of success and pure happiness! Pete slurped at his trough, and Pepé finally learned to take a bottle. It made it all worth it.

A Rancher’s Wife

I’ve  been around horses my entire life. I’ve loved and brushed, and fed cake out of my hands to the beloved horses of our family for years. Some may read this as I’ve ridden horses my entire life…well, not quite. As I have, for many years ridden, I’ve always been more of a lover of the animal, then the rider. *insert my whole family nodding at this statement.* haha


As a kid, I was a bit, ahem, strong headed. I did a lot of things in my own time and in my own way. With this said, after being drug to what seemed like every rodeo in the country during the summertime for my two older sisters to compete, the last thing I wanted to do was start rodeoing  myself. So naturally I didn’t become as skilled a rider as my sisters. There was one horse, and I do only mean one horse that I would confidently ride by the name of Billy Anna. She was a sweet, gentle little roping horse that pretty much did whatever I wanted. Except for the one time I tried to run barrels on her, that she would not do! But she was a great horse, that I got along with and felt comfortable to ride. Once Billy Anna passed, it was hard for me to feel real confident on any other horse. I didn’t feel like I was in control like I did on her, so as the years have gone by, I’ve ridden less and less.

Then out of nowhere comes this irresistable cowboy that is the real deal. He ropes and rides, lives in boots and a hat, and can wear a pair of leather chaps like this girl didn’t know was possible. So as you might imagine, I’ve ridden a bit more in these past few years.

This is a picture I took the very first day Riley and I met.


Yesterday was one of those rare times I got to go with him and just simply ride through the cattle, and check to see if there are any to be doctored.                                                                           It was a cool, overcast day, ideal horseback riding in my books! We had 3 pastures of mamas and babies to check.

Boone and I looking at the cattle.


Riley loaded me up on his Red Roan, Boone, and he rode his little Sorrel mare, Mazie. This was my first time on Boone. He’s fairly gentle and likes to go slow, and so do I, so we were a good pair. 

We started to ride through the cattle, looking to see if all the calves looked healthy. We look for scours, calves with their heads looking “droopy” and just all in all making sure their mobility and all look okay. When one needs to be doctored, Riley has to rope the calf, and gives it a shot of medicine. A lot of times the mamas don’t really like for someone to be getting so close

to their babies, but it only lasts a matter of seconds and their

off again. 

You hear people talking about the “Great Wide Open” well, I live right smack in the middle of it. 

Riley doctoring a calf while its’s mother stands by.


It turned out to be a really good day. A day that I was thankful to get to go horseback for awhile and thankful to be a ranchers wife.

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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