5 days ’til Christmas

We are closing in on the big goal!  Every hour is mapped out between now and Christmas Eve at noon; if all goes as planned, every PV calf will be weaned and processed by then, and every PV cow pregged.  (Most of the cows will still need to be moved to winter pastures after Christmas, but that’s a project for another year!)

Today the crew pregged 420 cows at South Butte Creek.  My mom, the kids and I hauled lunch out to them.  A few pics I got:


This is how most of my cooking days begin — with kids in jammies with unkempt hair longing to put their hands into whatever I’m fixing.




The cowboys left home to gather the cows in the South Butte pasture about 6 a.m.; we got there with lunch about 1 p.m.  They had already pregged most of the cows by then.




For lunch:  sloppy joes with pickles and chips, and for dessert…

Ranchy Recipe for Dr Pepper Cake

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease a 9×13.  In a large bowl, whisk together 2 . flour, 2 c. sugar, 1 t. soda, and 1/2 t. salt.  In a small saucepan, combine a 12-ounce can of Dr Pepper with 1 c. butter and 1/4 c. baking cocoa.  Bring just a boil.  Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.

In a small bowl whisk 2 eggs, 1/2 c. buttermilk, and 1 t. vanilla.  Add to flour mixture and whisk until smooth.  Pour batter into pan and bake 25-30 minutes.

About 15 minutes before the cake is done, prepare the glaze:  In the small saucepan, bring a 12-ounce can of Dr Pepper to a boil and cook 12-15 minutes, until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup.  Stir in 1/2 c. butter and 1/4 c. baking cocoa until butter is melted.  Add 4 c. powdered sugar and whisk until smooth.  Pour glaze over hot cake.

Beau is probably the biggest Dr Pepper fan ever, and in my experience not many cowboys will turn down a hunk of gooey chocolate cake.  This was my first time making this recipe, and it’s definitely going in my keeper file.




Beau and I have tall hopes for this little guy named High.




These awesome sandrocks are just a hop, skip, and jump away from the South Butte corrals.  I played here when I was a kid; Asher makes a beeline for the sandrocks each time we haul lunch out.  (He has a treasure buried somewhere out here, which he digs up and checks and/or adds to each time we go.  I am choosing to believe he hasn’t buried anything that I will one day miss.)




Love this picture of Grandma and Asher and Em.




Beau.  How he is still moving I’m not sure.  Not only is he gone from dark thirty to dark thirty every day, working outside in the cold, but often he has to rise early or stay up late to finish office work when he’s home.  Bills and payroll were due early this period (because, we joke, the entire corporate office in Bozeman will probably be shutting down next week for Christmas), and health insurance enrollment just finished today.  Our coworker at the VX suffered a badly broken leg when a horse fell with him a couple weeks ago, so that’s been a worry too.  There are lots of balls to keep in the air, and I have to say, Beau is doing a great job with them.




Ha ha!  Chute-side with Dr. Cunningham — a creative use for plastic sleeves.




Muggins at the ready with his hot-shot.  All of our kids have felt it necessary to pack a hot-shot at a young age.  (We almost always ascertain any hot-shots they play with do not have batteries in them.)




Muggins is almost 23 months now.  He is a mess, and I mean that in a big picture way.  Look at the Cheetos powder smeared all over his face.  Look at the bruise on his cheek.  The bigger bruise on his forehead.  His crazy yellow hair.  The hot-shot in his hand.  He’s yet to sleep through the night in his young life, and now he officially can get out of his crib all by himself… usually at 1 a.m.  I’m getting too old for this craziness!  As I often remind Muggins, it’s sure a good thing he’s cute.  As Beau often reminds him, there’s a reason some animals eat their young.

Just kidding!  We’re not going to eat him.

But I sure would like to sleep.

Maybe after the fall work is finished?

© Tami Blake

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