When running a ranch business, there always seems to be a million things that need to be done and the list never gets smaller. Add being a homeschooling mom and secretary/treasurer for a regional cattlemen’s association and the list keeps climbing.
One way that I keep track of my long list is by using the Todoist app. We live in a small house so minimizing paper and clutter is of up most importance. I try to do as much as possible without paper so that I am not always filing through and moving paper around the house. Todoist always me to sync across my laptop, iPad and iPhone so that I always have access to my list, even when I am outside.
I use Todoist for grocery lists, household chores and cleaning tasks, Christmas idea lists, and of course my To Do lists, all itemized by project. I can’t possibly remember everything so this app does it for me!
You can itemize the tasks by project and sub-projects and you can add one of four task priority levels.
The deadlines that you add can be recurring so that you don’t need to enter the tasks more than once.
Todoist minimizes the countless lists you have around the house, without costing anything. If you chose, you can upgrade to the Todoist Premium or Todoist Business for more features. To find out more, go to www.todoist.com
Over the next few months, I will go into more detail on my other paperless techniques and home organization that help me with my roles of a homeschool mom and rancher.
I feel very fortunate to have grown up on my family’s cattle ranch and my children are now enjoying that privilege. There are so many things that a child can learn from our ranching lifestyle, all of which will benefit them greatly into adulthood. Here are some of the things that ranch kids get to experience at an early age.
1 Ranch kids learn to love the outdoors, in all types of weather! They also want to wear warm clothes with very few arguments when going out the door in the winter.
2. They get to watch the miracle of life, starting from an early age. Calving season never gets old on a ranch, and learning to wake up in the middle of the night to check cows teaches responsibilty and compassion.
3. Their siblings become their best friends while they work and play together. Even if that involves pretending to vaccinate the “cow” in their parents living room using a coffee table as a cattle squeeze, each other as the “cow” and a plastic straw as a syringe.
4. Television is a novelty, as they are seldom in the house long enough to watch an entire show. Except for Sunday nights, as Heartland is never missed in our household!
5.They get to help make business decisions and learn problem solving skills alongside their parents, starting from the time they can walk. 4-H projects become their own “business” at the age of 9, or sometimes even earlier.
Earlier this week, I explained how our bred heifers were on pasture but we moved them home so that we can more closely monitor them. Our cowherd is currently grazing above our home ranch on our top hayfields.
One of the biggest factors to watch for when the cows are grazing late into the fall is that they maintain or even increase their condition as it is very difficult and very costly to make up any lose of condition over the winter when feeding hay. Depending on the condition of the grass, some years we will purchase protein tubs to help supplement the grass. The protein tubs that we use are a tub full of minerals, vitamins and extra protein that the cows can lick.
This year we were very fortunate to receive a significant amount of rain in the summer and fall. Therefore, our hayfields have quite a bit of rich regrowth so we haven’t had to feed protein tubs yet. We continue to closely monitor the cows and the quality and quantity of grass.
Below is a photo of one of our haystacks ready for winter feeding. It is always such a nice feeling for a rancher when their haystacks are full, ready for the winter. The cows also know that when the snow arrives, this is the stack to wait by! Cows are creatures of routine!
I will leave you with this view…. have a great weekend!
Our kids love when they can work outside and then come in the house and do the same chores with their toys. Our children spend countless hours imitating our chores around the ranch. With Christmas just around the corner, here are our 5 suggestions for gifts that our children enjoy. Hopefully this will help to make your Christmas shopping a little easier this year.
I started to use Project Life in 2012 as I was looking for an easy scrapbooking system to help document our life on the ranch. Becky Higgins has developed a convenient method to scrapbook while on the go. There is a physical album system for photo pages and journal cards. There is also a Project Life app, where you can document on your phone or tablet. I absolutely love being able to document our life quickly and easily so that we can remember the little moments of each day. When we travel, I can easily document our trip as we travel so that we we get home we have a great keepsake. I have even scrapbooked and journaled while waiting for a cow to calve and while waiting to load cows.
Along with writing about our life on the ranch, I will also update you on my Project Life pages and albums on this blog. I would love to hear from you about your scrapbooking experiences and your suggestions on what you would like to read about on this blog.
When the first snowfall arrives, life of our ranch begins to change for the winter season. After looking at the forecast this morning as the snow was falling, we decided to bring home our bred heifers. One of the best parts of our job is that each day’s tasks are not only determined by the animals but also by the weather.
The bred heifers will be 2 years old in the spring, and they will be having their first calf at that time. It is important that they get the sufficient nutrition over the winter to continue growing and develop a calf inside them. Therefore, we feed the bred heifers separate from our cow herd so we can monitor their condition more closely. We have had them on a grass pasture close to home, so when the snow arrived today we wanted to bring them home so that they can also be fed hay to keep their body condition up.
We just had to push them a short distance down the road and into a corral to load them.
The snow was falling heavy and it made for a gorgeous walk.
We work our cattle on foot and sometimes with horses, depending on the location and situation. Our lead cow, AKTU 19R, led the way for the heifers. We put an older cow with our heifers on pasture as the older cow is more “sensible” to work with and keeps the heifers calm. Sometimes, we call the bred heifers our “teenagers” as they haven’t matured into motherhood yet!
We like to halter break all of our bull calves and show calves, but we have also halter broke our heifer calves at times in the past. This year we started to use the Weaver Leather Stierwalt Breaking Halter
It has been absolutely wonderful!
We start by putting the calves in the cattle squeeze so that we can put the halter on them. We try to work with them for about 1o minutes in the squeeze so that they start to become more comfortable with the halter and with us. This gets them used to the halter prior to them being asked to walk.
The next day, we do the same thing. By this point, the calf is starting to calm down. We sometimes use a scotch comb and brush them as well, especially for the show calves as this will become a daily task.
By the third day, we let them out of the squeeze and walk them down the alleyway. For the next few days days, we only lead them a short distance, each time walking a bit further. It allows them to get used to the halter and start to develop more trust. It is always important to end the session on a positive tone with the calf, as it helps to develop the relationship.
After 5 -7 sessions of walking, the calf should be pulling less and will start to follow you.
When working the calf, it is extremely important to remain calm and quiet at all times. Talking to the calf in a quiet voice will sometimes help to relax him/her.
I usually tie the calf to a post after 5 -7 days, depending on how well he/she is responding to pressure on the lead rope.
This is an overview of the halter breaking process. Please contact me if you have any questions.
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