Happy National Ag Day!

In honor of America’s greatest industry, I am going to do what most people in Ag do on their birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, and days off… work. This morning will include moving pair of mama cows when their brand new coal black baby calves to their respective new pastures. The sun is out, the house is a mess and I couldn’t care less.


As you go through your day, please take a second ro reflect on how Agriculture has affected your life. Be grateful, I know that I am. 

Calving front lines

Calving season is upon us here on the little island under the Crazies. Although technically we are due to start calving until next week, we welcomed our first baby calf weeks ago and have been getting a handful of calves almost everyday for a week now, translation: let the craziness begin.
In previous years, I would sympathetically night check for Cowboy occasionally on a weekend, only to go back to my regular sleeping schedule all week. It was “fun” and “something different” for me. Unlike my desk jockeying, night calving allowed me to relate and help my man when he needed the most. I could really relate
to his job, might as well be.nominated for best wife of the year award. Ha! Only now that I am night calving for Cowboy full time can I appreciate calving better. Eight hours of solitude has allowed me lots of clarity about calving:
1. I’ve been told night calving is supposed to prepare me to have a baby of my own. If so, thank you Mom. A lot.
2. Last Saturday night, I thought back to last year. Instead of driving around shining a spotlight on the hind ends of cows in cowshit covered overalls, I was partying in the box suite of Dallas Cowboy stadium. Margarita in my hand, Old Gringos on my feet. Who says ranch wife life isn’t glamourous?
3. A cow with tag 13 Orange lost her calf. Cowboy is pretty sure he was born dead and had a “problem”, which is pretty sad. We hate losing calves but it does happen. I was not prepared to deal with the fact that 13 Orange did not leave the spot were her calf had last been for 4 days, including during a snow storm that caused all the other cows to seek shelter. Driving by and checking, seeing her laying in the same spot in case her baby showed back up, I literally had to swallow back a sob every time. Cowboy rolled his eyes at me when I told him that.
4. Turns out that I can stay in my sweats all day and night. And not cute sweats either. I bet Cowboy just loves this part of calving too.
5. God created DVR for calving season because there is nothing but infomercials on between 2 & 6 in the morning. I don’t really mind this part because now I can watch the Kardashians in peace. And Mob Wives. And Smash.
6. The first couple of nights it
appears as though everything is acting suspicious, about to calve any minute. Yeah, they don’t calve for another 2 weeks and the one that didn’t even look at you calves by the next check. Two hours later.

That’s it for now, I am taking some horses back to Bozeman this morning after 3 hours of sleep. I wonder if I can get the horse trailer through the Starbucks drive through…

The Montana Cowgirl — Girls Night Out

Picture 11

Miss Me Jeans with a little bit of flash, red Lane boots and a white tank with a sweater… that’s what Montana Cowgirl dreams are made of. Thinking of what I would like to an engagement shoot followed by drinks with Marmalade boots… and this is what comes to mind.

Guest Blog: Marmalade Boots, Sixteen Things This California City Girl Has Learned About Country Living


MC Note: Because sometimes it takes fresh perspective to appreciate the very true and very funny aspects of this crazy, wonderful life. And great friends too, thanks lady. Enjoy, commiserate, laugh out loud (I did all of these).

  • Regardless of how slow they may be driving, don’t even think about tailgating anyone within a 30-mile radius of your home. Chances are they know who you are and where you live.  It makes for awkward encounters down the road.
  • Figure out where the hell your cardinal points lie or forever doom yourself to a lifetime of incredulous looks when you ask “which way is North?” Something I am still working on.
  • The sun rises and sets behind the wheels of a cattle truck. Who knew?
  • It is possible to feel compassion and respect towards an animal and also have strong urges to eat it.
  • Get yourself a good dog. It will be the best thing that has ever happened to you. This one goes for city folk too.
  • It is really fun to say the phrase “city folk”. Just rolls off the tongue.
  • Despite preconceived notions of being an animal rights supporter, when a rabbit eats your carefully cultivated sweet peas or a skunk sprays your dog, bloodlust will take hold.
  • Calf nuts taste like McDonalds’ chicken nuggets. I’m not sure if this bodes well for calf nuts or poorly for McDonalds.
  • When a bull chases you, you better run. FAST.
  • Driving 30 minutes to the nearest town, population 1500, is known as “going to town”. Driving 2 hours to Bozeman, population 40,000, is known as “the big city”.
  • When spring arrives, expect to get bucked off your horse at least three times. I await this coming April with stoic trepidation. Skittles, bring it.
  • Learn to operate a tractor or forever be uncool.
  • When it’s -20 below outside your nostrils stick together. It’s a weird sensation.
  • Learn to make your own indian, thai, mexican, chinese, ethiopian, italian and japanese food, cuz you ain’t gettin’ any otherwise. Add thin crust pizza to the list also.
  • Watch the animals. They know how to live.
  • Have a friend like Sophi. Someone who keeps you connected, spirited, and sane. Right back at you lady!


Ranch Wives and the Super Bowl

wpid-IMAG0542-1-1.jpgI stumbled across this post draft that I started back in June (yes, I am that far behind). I thought it was good to bring it out today as the Dodge Super Bowl commercial has been on my mind, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and almost every conversation in the last two days. For those that missed it, please feel to check it out on Facebook or YouTube.

June 23, 2012

Since the beginning of time, or at very least the beginning of agriculture, there have been men and women ranching. Raising stock and crops, acting as caretaker of the land and the wildlife, the rancher (and farmer) has been one of the single most important driving forces behind civilization. Without providing a full history, let me make my point: Ranching is important. Somehow, mainstream media and culture has pigeon-holed all farmers and ranchers into the category of “Marborlo Man”-esque cowboys or “Old McDonald” farmers. The truth is that ranching and farming is far more that riding horses and driving tractors, though those are certainly a large part of the equation. Truth is, agriculture is both an art and a science. It is equal parts passion and luck, hard work and good timing. The unheralded hero in this equation is the rancher’s wife. Women in general are wired to be social creatures, pack animals if you will. Men are sight and action oriented animals while women have superior verbal and social communication skills, hence a world of women talking at men and men ignoring them. That said, imagine the sacrifice moving from your family with your husband out West, to a sparse patch of ground, and your nearest neighbor is days away. No phone, no internet, no Skype! All you have to talk to is a man… A modern day rancher’s wife has it way better, in ways. Neighbors are only a drive away (5 minutes to a couple of hours), phones lines are usually available, and if you are lucky, there is decent internet, though I suffered for a year with only dial-up internet. In fact it must be said that since we decided to get satellite internet, this rancher’s wife is much happier.

Imagine my glee to see the American rancher featured and downright glamorized by Dodge in a well-made commercial on the biggest stage in mainstream media marketing, the Super Bowl. The best part of the commercial, other than the nod to FFA and God, was that a woman was also shown in a industry often dominated by men. And she looked authentic, not too made up and wearing the a silk scarf. Made you proud to be a western woman, rancher and cowgirl. Turns out that Montana families were featured in the commercial, which honestly makes it even better for me. Below is a snip of the article by MTN News:

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These folks are a great example of the humble people most farmers and ranchers are. My favorite line is “I told him there is nothing romantic about what we are doing today, it’s just our normal work” — how true is that for so many farmers and ranchers? We forget that this life is foreign to most, even though they interact with the products we produce everyday when they eat. I think that my goal with this blog, as small as it is, is to show that farming and ranching can be romantic and is vitally important to our past and the future . There is a deep and serious love for the land, livestock, and the work. It takes a special breed “So God made a farmer”.

The Montana Cowgirl — Glammed up

The Montana Cowgirl -- Glammed up
Sometimes a girl just cannot stand another day of jeans, sweatshirts and Muck boots. I realized this morning while I was contemplating whether or not I actually need to change out of my yoga pants that I had not put on makeup for 3 1/2 weeks. Horrified and satisfied at the same time, I switched favorite yoga pants for some cute jeans and a form fitting blouse and a sassy pair of Old Gringos. After a sad attempt at doing my hair and a quick makeup application (complete with eyeshadow and lipstick, which is a big accomplishment these days) I headed to town for some epic shopping. All I managed to come home with was a great pair of… yep, yoga pants. Ah, this is a pretty great problem to have.



Today was a super productive day, in a destructive kind of way. Lessons learned:
1. Do not leave the mare pasture gate open while feeding.
2. Yelling will not bring those bi#$%&s back. A bucket of grain will.
3. When driving through a tight gate, don’t attempt to tap it open with the bucket of the tractor, this will end badly for you and especially the gate.
4. Calling your Cowboy husband to confess your gate incident while he is in a meeting at the neighbor’s is not a true gauge of his reaction once he sees the magnitude of destruction.
5. Oatmeal chip cookies will help improve his mood a little…
6. Until you tell him that you used coconut oil and honey. He will leave mumbling about how he married a hippy health freak, even though you let the diesel tractor warm up while frying his eggs in bacon grease
7. Even a rough day on the ranch is better than a great day in board room.

– MC


2013 Catch Up

Since I have changed up damn near everything in my life at least once in the last year, it’s time to do a little recap followed by a look forward:

  1. In November 2011, Cowboy and I left our little island under the Crazies in favor of a spread an hour south in Springdale, Montana. The new ranch is 50,000 acres with 1200-1500 head of cattle, depending on the time of year. The new place stretches from the Yellowstone River to the Crazy Mountains and is quite possibly the windiest place on Earth. And there are rattlesnakes, lots of them. IMG_3385
  2. In mid-December 2012, I left my corporate job in order to come back to the ranch full time. I am so grateful for the opportunities I had while working for Montana, but I had to take advantage of the opportunity to work with Cowboy and to pursue other independent projects. More on that some other time…181009_549981471466_1781838270_n
  3. Cowboy and I purchased our first herd of personal cows to run on the ranch. Buying cows is exciting and scary but worth it so we are thrilled. Cowboy tells me that this means that I am going to have to actually learn about cows now, so that will be interesting.

And the to-do’s…

  1. Get home office painted and set-up, finally
  2. Get 10 rides on Sugar before calving starts in March… 1 down, 9 to go
  3. Take a photo and make a post everyday
  4. Get those vision boards going
  5. Trade in TV time for reading time

What are your great (or small) to-do’s?

The life of a ranch dog


Our ranch dogs really do have an amazing life. Whether they’re chasing the tractor, moving cows or just watching cowboy work in the shop you can tell these dogs love their life and why wouldn’t they? Take Bailey for example, the Australian Shepherd that I got my senior year of college. Instead of taking her and putting her on the ranch, she went to Arizona with me for grad school. Given that we were living in a tiny 2 bedroom condo in downtown Tempe, the highlight of my day, and hers, was either going for a run or going to the dog park. She was my connection to home while in Arizona, a happy reminder that I had a life Montana and that’s where I wanted to be. Not to say that living in apartment in Arizona suited her either. Thanks to boredom and stress, she did end up getting into trouble while I was at school or work. Once she ate an entire pound of butter and a big pack of pork chops, resulting in dog puke all over that fancy little apartment. She also caught kennel cough from the dog park and got really sick. Stupid dog park. I don’t know who Cowboy was happier to see once we returned from Arizona, me or his little black dog.