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!