Monday, March 11, 2013

A Ranch Mom - Kay & Cliff

Please welcome Kay and Cliff as they share with us what it's like to live and work on cattle in Wyoming! 

Howdy folks! I'm Kay, from A Ranch Mom. I live with my husband and our 4 kids on a ranch in SE Wyoming. The ranch is located along Horse Creek. We run Black Angus cow/calf pairs. We are about 25 miles from the nearest town, so I've learned how to keep milk in the fridge! But we enjoy living out here, away from the city. We are too busy to get bored! My husband (Cliff) and I both grew up primarily in the Midwest. We had been married 5 years when we loaded up our horse trailer with a few household items and one horse, and moved to Pueblo, CO, where we learned to do care on yearling cattle. We moved to WY 6 years ago, and really enjoy life here.

I home school our children - they love to finish early and go play outside! They spend a lot of time playing down by the creek or riding their bikes. They are also great helpers with the chores, and they enjoy riding with their dad when he moves cattle. We believe that ranch life is a great way to raise kids - they learn hard work, responsibility, neighborliness, and so much more.

We usually calve out heifers in late winter. We keep them in corrals close to the calving barn, so they can be taken inside during the brutal winter storms we get here. The heifers get checked every 2 hours around the clock. That takes a lot of time, as you might imagine! Sometimes they have some trouble, and then Cliff has to pull the calf. After the heifers are done calving, the main herd of mama cows start calving in early spring. We just leave them in the fields, but keep them close to the ranch headquarters. They get fed hay and 'cake', which is cow feed in the form of large, pressed pellets. They generally have easy births, and take care of their babies, unlike the first-time heifers, who sometimes don't know what to do with their babies.

After calving is spring branding. This is my favorite part of ranch life! There is a lot of ranches around here, and whenever we have a branding, there's plenty of neighbors to help out. Even so, it takes 3 days of branding to get them all done. Then we go help the neighbors when it's their turn to brand. I don't help a lot with the branding - I'm too busy cooking for the cowboys and taking photos. Summer is haying time...or at least it was until the drought hit last year. Summers here are quite lovely - temps don't top 90 too often, and there's usually a breeze. I enjoy gardening, and working in the yard in the summer. In the fall we gather the cattle, process them, and sell the calves.

Cliff and I own a small leather business, CK Custom Leather, which we do on the side. Cliff makes custom saddles, tack, and chaps. I weave traditional mohair cinchas. We do have a Facebook page for our business.

Most people don't realize how committed you need to be when you live and work on a ranch. The cows don't stop eating, drinking or getting sick on weekends. They never heard of holidays, either! You have to enjoy this lifestyle to put in the time and energy that it takes. But watching a new baby calf begin to breathe after a rough start, or watching the sunrise through the trees, or roping a steer - makes it
all worthwhile.

Thanks so much for the great feature Kay! Be sure to follow along with Kay and her ranch life over on her blog - A Ranch Mom. You can also check out the page for their custom leather shop - CK Custom Leather

Remember - if you or someone you know would like to help spread awareness about agriculture and the real people behind the cows and combines (and everything else as well!), please contact us today to learn how! YOU could be the next Face of Agriculture! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

The Fuhriman's

Today we welcome Emily Fuhriman. Emily and her husband live in Utah. This hard working couple enjoy life on the ranch; tending the cattle, horses and the land!

We live in Grouse Creek, Utah. It's in the upper most north west corner of Utah. It is an hour every direction from cell service and paved roads. Our nearest neighbor is over the border in Nevada about 8 miles away. We live so far out that they just barely got a phone line and internet ran in here last year.

My husband and I both work for Simplot Livestock in Grouse Creek, Utah. We run about 1500 head of cattle, mostly Angus, Brangus, and Charolais cross cattle. During the spring, summer and into the fall our cattle run on private and BLM ground in the mountains near Grouse Creek and during the late fall and through the winter they winter out on the desert in Pilot Valley near Montello, Nevada. So our job is brand, doctor, gather cattle and trail to different feed areas, fence, and so on.

We use to have a full time horse training business in Idaho. When the economy caused the horse market to slow down we started day working more and taking other jobs that would let us stay horseback. Then we found out about a ranch job with Simplot last year we decided that sounded like a nice change. It's a great job, in an awesome location and we get to work together everyday still.

A typical spring day for us would be gathering pairs off the spring pasture, branding calves and turning them out on the summer range. Summer days are salting, pushing cattle out of a grubbed out area into an area with more feed. All fall is gathering the summer range, weaning and shipping calves, preging and culling cows then trailing cows to the winter range in Nevada. Normally during the winter all of our cows are turned out on a winter range and calve out there. This winter, because we had such a dry summer last year, only 500 head went to the winter range and we kept about 700 in Grouse Creek to feed hay to through the winter. This worked in our favor because we have a couple work horse teams, so we hook a wagon or sleigh everyday and feed our cows by hand and then saddle a horse to ride through and check the new calves.

Our favorite part about the lifestyle we have is getting to work together everyday, living in a remote area, and being able to make a living horseback. We can still train a few outside horses and in the summer we get time go show our horses and pick up at rodeos. We are very lucky and neither one of us could ever imagine doing any different.

One of the things that people don't understand about working and living on a ranch is that, yes we get to ride our horses everyday, live in the mountains, but it's a hard life. It doesn't pay much, we live a long ways out, you can't just run to the store for a gallon of milk, summers are hot, winters are cold, you may not see another person for a week, if you run your truck off the road in the winter, there is a good chance another truck won't come by till the next day, and sometimes you have to be here everyday for weeks or months to take care of the animals that you are responsible for. Not to many vacations. Sometimes ranch jobs are short term, you never know when you have to pack up the whole house the next day and move.

Thank you Emily for this great feature! You can follow the Fuhriman's on their blog.

Are you passionate about your way of life? Do you enjoy working with the land and animals? Then we need your story! No blog required - all are welcome to be the next FOA feature!! Contact us at!