Category Archives: Cattling Ranching

Dear Tom, she wanted to punch him in the face.

First, on the home front, I harvested the last of my potatoes today:


Colorful and yummy!

I cut back the asparagus. It’s time to prep the garden for winter- will do that this week. And maybe plant a couple rows of garlic.

So I just got back from Montana. Was a busy trip with loooooong weather delays in Seattle. Dang! That airport was like a bad movie. No joke.

On the way out my plane from Sacramento arrived twenty minutes early and then sat on the tarmac for two hours while we waited for a gate. As we sat there I watched my connection to Bozeman, (a little Bombardier), back up and take off. I begged the flight attendants to toss me out the door, but they refused. I spent nine grueling hours in the airport, but I did manage to get the last seat on the last flight to Bozeman. My wonderful daughter and son-in-law waited for me, waited for me so long we were forced to drive back to the ranch in The Crazies in a blizzard. In the dark. Pretty rough. Good thing my son-in-law is a kick ass driver and we were in a tank of a pickup truck. (I haven’t been on roads that bad since I lived in Iowa.)

I didn’t bother to take any photos this time around. The cold was bitter. But despite the cold, every visit to Montana is amazing. I am so grateful for my daughter and her husband. I love sharing their life, to the extent they are willing to share. 🙂 It’s my dream to live there. Cold doesn’t bother me, especially in Big Sky Country. Montana has really big skies.

That wasn’t the punching in the face part.

It was on the trip home that the punching nearly occurred. It wasn’t me, although I wanted to punch him too. I wanted to, in fact, pull him out of his seat and stomp on his head. It was my seat mate who said, “I want to punch him in the face.”

We boarded on time in Bozeman for the trip back to Seattle. I was seated in the back of the plane, just two rows from the rear exit. I had the aisle seat. A young woman with gorgeous eyelashes got the window seat. Across from me was an older white hippie dude with an iPhone and an iPad. Wearing lots of beads. I guessed that he’d come from the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The beads and his rank aroma and his congested cough and sniffles were a dead giveaway. Not that I cared– about the protest, I mean. He has a perfect right to protest.

What he does not have a right to do, if he values his health and well-being, and the health and well-being of the other passengers, is endanger and piss off every single person seated in the rear of the plane.

He refused to follow any instructions from the flight attendants because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

He refused to put his tray table in its upright and locked position because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

He refused to stop texting via both his iPhone and his iPad (texting multiple people- I could see every text and every recipient) because he’d “been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

When our plane’s engines cut out on the runway because the deicer people accidentally sprayed the generator and we lost all power and began to freeze in the subzero temperatures he announced to the plane that “we should be grateful we weren’t stranded at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest because he’d just been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest and it was way colder at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

And don’t forget about “the tribal elders…”

The tribal elders this…” and “The tribal elders that…”

My seatmate said, “If I have to hear about the tribal elders one more time I’m gonna punch him in the face.”

I wanted to shove him out the back of the plane.

As he lectured, we were towed back to the gate. The plane was plugged in to a generator and we had heat. Then we had to wait for maintenance to decide whether or not the plane could start up and was safe to fly. We really wanted to get out of there because the weather was getting so bad we knew there was a good chance that if it took maintenance too long to decide we’d be stranded at least overnight, maybe for another day or two.

All the while, he kept texting via both his devices, despite the fact that he’d been asked repeatedly by the flight crew to stop. He ignored them, because, you know… The Dakota Access Pipeline protest

And then, once the engines were restarted and we were on the runway for takeoff, he made a phone call. OMFG. He called ‘Judy’ as we were taking off. Left her a message.

“Hey, Judy, this is R. I know it’s been years, but I just left the Dakota Access Pipeline protest where I was protesting and I’m headed to Seattle. I’ve checked online and it seems my connecting flight has been cancelled. I’m wondering if I can camp on your couch. I’m sure it will be warmer than the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. I’ll have to get up at 5 a.m. to catch a 7 a.m. flight but I figure you won’t mind. That’s sure not as early as I had to get up at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. Listen, if you get this message, call me back. Again, this is R. Just so you know I’ve been at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest.”

If looks could kill. Everyone within earshot wanted to strangle the guy.

Since the rules didn’t apply to him, he texted and phoned his way through the flight. The flight attendants gave up trying to rein him in, they plied him with wine instead – six glasses of white wine. I think they hoped he would fall asleep, but he didn’t. Dammit.

This was the bad part. This was the really dangerous part. When we landed in Seattle, we hit a patch of ice. The plane skidded to the right, then to the left, then back to the right. It got real quiet because I think we were all praying the plane wouldn’t roll. On that first skid, since the idiot hadn’t put away his electronic devices nor placed his tray table into its upright and locked position, his iPhone and his iPad went flying across the aisle, right into another passenger.

Mr. Dakota Access Pipeline protest didn’t even apologize. Because he’s a special snowflake.

My seatmate, such a sweet pretty young lady, said, “I want to punch him in the face.”

I said, “Yup.”

So, Tom, to make a long story short, Judy never called him back because I saw him wandering around the Seattle airport five hours later. Still texting…

XOXO! Peace out. Julia





Dear Tom, I think all wars and international conflicts should be decided by a bull ride.

Specifically by riding on the rankest bulls. Air Time. Sweet Pro’s Long John. Who Dey. Percolator. Fire & Smoke. Margy Time. I’m A Gangster Too. Smooth Operator. Roy. Pound The Alarm. David’s Dream. Walk Off. Chocolate Thunder. Mr. Bull. DaNutso. Cooper Tires Brown Sugar–because he’s sooooo adorable!.  (Unfortunately Bushwacker and Asteroid have retired.)

Air Time is the most exciting athlete in the world right now:

I’d like to see men settle all military conflicts in the dirt arena. Stay on the back of that bull for eight seconds, winners take all. (I’m pretty sure Brazil would own the entire world.) But that’s okay because it takes more courage to be a bull rider than to participate in any other sport aside from jumping out of a plane without a chute. If anyone should know about that it would be you! 🙂

So enemies don’t get to attack each other. They ride a bull instead. Head to head. May the best man (bull) win.

(Women would be exempted because we ain’t stupid enough to get on the back of a rank bull.) Besides, I’m all about the bulls.

R.I.P. my favorite boy – Mick E Mouse. He was A Great Bull.

Love you, Tom! Go get me a Mick E Mouse autograph! XOXO! Julia

Dear Tom, Here’s Hank!

My little steer.

My little steer.

He’s so sweet! Now I have to figure out how to get him from Montana to California. I don’t want anyone eating him. And I can’t put him in my backyard because he’ll destroy my fake grass. And Oscar refuses to clean up the cow manure.

What’s wrong with him???

Everyone should be willing to clean up cow manure!

Hank’s sister was grafted onto a cow who lost her calf, but Hank got to stay with his mommy, the milk cow, Dolly. Plus Hank is just plain old nice. He’s a good kisser with his big old cow tongue. (No, I don’t eat lengua.) He likes to lick lotion off my legs.

I’m sorry you never got to come to Montana with us. Maybe one of these days I’ll get Ish and your kids and grandkids out there and put ’em on a horse. That would be fun!

Love you, Julia

Culture Shock, or My Bully Loves Me.

My Sweet Baboos.

My Sweet Baboos.

Oh how I miss them! My yearling bull calves. They are the most fun. You know, cows could be spies. You wonder how an animal that weighs over 1000 pounds (and some of these bulls grow to be a ton) can sneak up on you, but they can! If you turn your back to a herd of cows and then turn around, they’ll be closer to you. Turn your back again and then turn around and they’ll be even closer. Turn your back again and when you turn around they’ll be right up behind you and you won’t have heard a thing. It’s like some horror movie with cows. Except if you look at them they back off quick.

Except for the cow that tried to kill my daughter when we were out tagging. Now that was one serious cow. She also broke a gate and nearly killed her calf in her attempts to kill us. She makes great babies but she is a real problem. I doubt she’ll be on the ranch next year. Too dangerous.

My bully boys are so sweet! These are the new yearling bulls. Four more come next week. Pity I won’t be around. I love feeding them. Almost got close enough to pet them, but I had to settle for a big nose in my face. That was as close as they’d let me get. Of course when the cows are in heat it will be a different story. It’s not that bulls want to kill you, it’s that they are fighting over the cows and if you get in the way, well then, it’s kind of like Homer Simpson and his pie.

So… I got to ride my daughter’s cutting horse, Sissy, and we moved pairs into another pasture. I helped with a C-Section, which was sad because we lost the twins and nearly lost the cow, although by the time I left she was feeling better. We moved her to the medical pen near the house – I kept tabs on the two C-Sections and Dolly and her twins. Unfortunately, my calf, Bonnie, kept her distance. However her brother Hank is a love. I got calf kisses every morning.

Wish I lived there all the time. You live your work and work is your life. We get up in the morning, check the heifers, feed the bulls and the horses, grab coffee, check the older cows, feed everyone- including the steers way up the valley, vaccinate, tag, move pairs, check the cows again, pull out breech babies, check cows, grab lunch, feed the bulls once more, make a real supper, bring up the heifers, check cows and check cows and check cows. We ride through every pasture at 6 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 6 p.m., 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. And then there are fences to mend and sick babies to tend and hay fields to plow.

When this particular daughter was little, and she loved horses, (we had three), I always told her, “When you grow up marry a rancher.” And she did! The only time she ever, in her entire life, listened to me. Now she lives on 8000 acres at the foot of The Crazies– their property extends into the mountains. They have 500 head of cattle, more now with the babies, 18 bulls, 8 horses, a big garden– when the cows don’t break into the yard and eat her produce– and she lives an amazing life. Nobody locks a door. Nobody locks a car, in fact, nobody ever takes a key out of the ignition. Her dog has the best life a dog could ask for. Besides, I get to watch elk, antelope, deer, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, sand hill cranes, wolves and bears from her picture window.

Looking toward The Crazies from the back of the calving shed.

Looking toward The Crazies from the back of the calving shed.

Yep, if the hubs would go I’d sell our place and move in a heartbeat, no regrets. Who cares that I don’t have cell phone service? Now that was a real blessing!