Growing Babies

Growing Babies

I just wanted to pop on and share one of our growing babies. If you’ve followed me on Instagram, you know that we decided to jump into the registered part of raising long horns last year and this is our very first registered baby we’ve raised. We have some big goals and plans for our growing herd and are excited to explore this part within TLBAA with our girls. This little bull calf is such a neat little dude and is already sold. He will be going to his new home in November.

Mulberry is such a great mama and I’m excited for more babies out of her. We pick up a new heifer and bull this fall and I’ll be sure to update you when we unload them on the ranch.

Hayfield Wife Hacks

Hayfield Wife Hacks

I’ve had a lot of questions come in about transporting food, meals, favorite products, etc. Today I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks regarding Hayfield Meals and will probably end up extending this to a two part post on down the road. For now, here are some tried and true things that I do to make hay season a little easier.

We all know the feeling of our vehicles being the mobile kitchen table, water wagons, and what have you. The entire back half of mine is usually dedicated to storing my “feed bag”, ice chest, and whatever food I’m delivering that day.

  • Get an ice chest that YOU can carry but will also fit your meals or whatever you need to keep cold. Most of the guys already have their own ice chests or backpacks in their tractors so it’s rare that I ever bring drinks. I love this one I purchased. It’s perfect size, I leave it in my suburban (which has also proved handy when going to the grocery store and needing to run errands-keeping my items cold) and it doesn’t take up a ton of space. You can deck it out and grab some pretty cool stickers from my shop too.
  • Another hack, The IceMule. You won’t regret getting him one and these easily fit in the tractor when a lot of ice chests don’t. It’s easy to carry and keeps them from having to stop to get drinks. I shared more about it on our Hayfield Meals Instagram page.
  • Have a bag ready with all of your supplies so you aren’t constantly having to gather every meal. I try not to be wasteful but it’s also a pain to cart ceramic dishes, glasses, and silverware to the fields and bring them back to wash. I have my plastic plates, cutlery, a roll of paper towels for napkins, a dish I leave in for left overs, a box of zip lock baggies, a pack of wipes, salt and pepper, a roll of trash bags, and a roll of aluminum foil.
  • Cookie sheets. I learned this one from my mom but they are awesome to cart and keep things together. I use this item more than I ever thought I would for transporting rather than baking.
  • Buy in bulk. It saves A LOT when I can get all of my paper and plastic (and even ingredients) from a place like Sam’s. Usually I only have to go once in the summer and I’m good until next season. Invest in a membership.
  • Make breakfasts ahead of time that you can freeze and reheat and bag up snacks when you meal prep. This is super helpful for them to throw in their cooler and go and all I have to worry about is bringing a hot dinner.
  • There’s nothing wrong with a good old fashioned sandwich. Add extra fixings, a good sauce, and they will still be happy campers. But it’s also nice to bring some garden fresh fried okra, barbeque chicken, sweet corn and homemade mashed potatoes. They appreciate the hearty meals after a long day.
  • If taking sandwiches for several, wrap them in a paper towel and restack them in the bag the bread came in. It keeps the fillings from falling out and is much easier to cart.
  • Make more than needed. We love leftovers around our house and it keeps me from spending more at the grocery store. It’s also nice to be able to have plenty to feed any extra help that shows up and not worry about making an additional meal for lunch or dinner.

I feel like each year I learn something new, change a routine, or figure out how to work smarter not harder. As summer is a season of slowing down for many, its quite opposite for us so whatever I can do to make things easier for our family to better function, I’ll do it.

I hope this list helps! As I keep making notes of things, I’ll share another post soon of more tips and tricks.

From the Rafter PS to you, Happy haying!

Haykid Summer

Haykid Summer

Summer is for hay. When Dad is out in the field, we try to have some fun when we visit and take a meal. I love that the girls get to experience this life and see that every part of farming and ranching is important.

On this particular day, he just finished up with a job and started stacking the bales in rows for a client to pick up. The girls got to hop on the tractor with him and help him for a bit and LOVED it. They will be out there in no time.

Afterwards we let them run across the rows for awhile and it brought back a lot of memories of my cousins and I doing the same at that age. I mean, are you even a Farm/Ranch kid if you’ve never done that?

Long live summer and unplugged, rural childhoods.

Texas Longhorn Education | Part 1

Texas Longhorn Education | Part 1

Mulberry……as you know, I love my Longhorns. It’s not my family’s first choice of cattle or what the Rafter PS Ranch has the majority of. My herd is small, but growing. I hope one day to have several and need another piece of land to raise them all.

I love what they embody, their hardiness, and let’s face it, they are pretty cool to look at. The inspiration behind my store branding came from my first girl, Rose.

I’ve wanted to share a little education on my blog for some time about the breed, why I like them, and what I hope to gain from starting a registered herd from the ground up. So here’s post one of many and I will tag the source of my info below.

“The Texas Longhorn became the foundation of the American cattle industry by claiming first rights in the untamed, newly discovered Americas more than 500 years ago. In 1690, the first herd of cattle was driven north from Mexico to land that would eventually become Texas. By the Civil War, millions of Longhorns ranged between the mesquite-dotted sandy banks of the Rio Bravo to the sand beds of the Sabine. Most of the Longhorns were unbranded, survivors of Indian raids, scattered by stampedes and weather, escaped from missions or abandoned after ranch failures.

Less than 40 years later, the Longhorn was closer to extinction than the buffalo. In 1927, the Federal government stepped in to help preserve the Texas Longhorn and a great part of our American heritage. Congress assigned forest service rangers, Will C. Barnes and John H. Hatton, to the task and these two men put the first herd together for Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. Gradually, more breeders started raising private stock, recognizing the value of Texas Longhorns.” – Texas Longhorn Breeders Association

The Barn Project

The Barn Project

We spent the weekend helping my parents fix up the old barn at the cattle lots on the ranch. This beauty is old but I love the character and the stories it could tell. The horse stalls at the other barn just aren’t functional and quite a ways from where the arena will be. This area provides a lot more cover and will be handy to have everything in one spot.

The north side is now opened up and three stalls were built, each with a run for the horses to get some sun and graze.

Does anyone remember my old mason jar lights that hung in my store on main? Each stall will have a fixture. They are all LED and I might have changed two bulbs the entire 6 years they hung in my store. The pitch is super high so we won’t have an issue with a horse touching them and they will give the stalls some fun character. I plan to stain all of the wood to give it a more rustic feel.

We still have to run electric, level the ground, hang fans in the stalls, set up a hitching post + cross tie area, repair some damage and beams, pour concrete in the back space where we will store square hay, and a few other things but I love how it’s coming together. We will probably enclose more of it in the fall and prepare it for winter but for now, it’s perfect.

I’m going to add some fun touches like horse shoe hooks at each door for their halters, our brand on the front of the barn, and maybe some speakers for music. I can’t wait to spend hours down here!

Zack and Scout started disking up the arena – we still have to finish that up but shouldn’t take us too much longer.

Mulberry was eating treats from Paisley’s hand this weekend too. She’s pretty sweet and a great mama.

More barn updates coming soon! I can’t wait to see the lights installed.