"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein." Jeremiah 6:16

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Warming Up

Looks like we're in for a thaw up in the north and I ain't complaining, especially since I did get out'a a good chunk of real winter this time. House is warm tonight, easy to heat. Just came in cause I played sneak and went and caught a nice rooster after dark although I must admit they can see better in the dark than most folks give em credit for. Threw him with a couple of hens that reside in the old dairy barn living with all the barn cats. A feller needs a rooster with em otherwise they end up clucking on a bunch of dud eggs and I like seeing real chickens running around the place, whether in the south or north rancho. The other day I noticed our replacement heifers were starting to show. For folks that don't know the lingo, that means they are coming along very much pregnant. Again, ain't no money in duds so that made me happy. Have a fella looking at some meat goats for me, not that I need em, just have a nasty habit of having critters coming out'a every crack in the place.

With the thaw will probably come a lot of manure hauling which is OK with me. Its not the rush a fella has if its a late Spring and will be nice to have so much in order come Spring. And if this keeps up I'm expecting the first geese to show up any day now. They're always the earliest birds to arrive out here. Then it gets noisy! I'm looking forward to green grass and temperatures where a person doesn't have to dress up heavy. Winter does drag me down and that's one reason for setting our sights a few thousand miles south of here. The one thing I really miss is the fellowship down on the south rancho which is a hundred times greater than in the north. Everyone is always dropping in. The door is open so you never know who will just stroll in and visit. No invitations required. Don't have that in the north. Hardest thing up here is folks getting together. Folks have to look at their calendar book for an available moment. Ain't none of that down in the Wonderful Country.

Oh well, I'm in the north for now, but things are happening as I write down south and I hope the Lord gives me plenty of time to enjoy em yet. Much more of a cowboy lifestyle than in the north. Ranchera music constantly out in the countryside. Fellowship unmatched in the north. The other evening my better half and myself decided to drive twenty five miles to about the best Mexican restaurant in Minnesota and had us a feast although as we talked about later, the huge cost here would have been around five bucks down south for the same amount and no tip required. But anyway the place cleared out as we were finishing up our meal and the owner who was from Mexico, deep down, came over and we had us a conversation about ranching and related things. I have to say its hard to find folks that know more and take more interest in ranching than Mexicans. In the blood I figure. Closest thing to a conversation down south that I can get in the north. Talked about real rodeos, about Charros,  different cattle breeds, horses, you name it. Left their significantly broker, but enjoyed a real conversation with someone who knew what he was talking about.

So keep plugging here.  Just throwing on a few pictures of the south rancho.



Monday, February 8, 2016

The Wonderful Country

Been a bit since I wrote, I apologize if needed, been in a whirl so to speak. Just got back a couple days ago from a month in Honduras. It wasn't a real vacation as many consider vacations, more like living with the people. It wasn't a mission's trip although I preached in three different areas and did personal ministry also. It was a test of sorts for me to see how much I could take, do or die, and I guess I did make it. Lived the old time way the whole way through, no frills. Running water four hours every second night, then it was time to fill pails and barrels in order to make it till the next time. Very little meat eaten, mostly rice and beans or for a change of diet, beans and rice. Of course, corn tortillas with everything although being a northern cattleman I sought out flour tortillas and found four gals that do nothing but make flour tortillas every day of the weeks and sell em on a street corner. Them gals were amazing to say the least.

Lived in a simple house. It wouldn't even be considered a house in the north, but there it did good enough. Cooked on wood, including the coffee. Ate fresh fruit by the sack fulls. Worked the land, milked the cow, planted a few hundred more coffee plants plus a large assortment of other fruit and food bearing trees. Even planted a passel of cactus for a border along the foot path on the rancho, besides making a good border they are very edible, so times get tough there's food for man or beast. The only time I had a shower with hot water was weekends when we traveled to different towns to preach and stayed overnight in homes that had that huge luxury. The only electronic entertainment was a transistor radio I bought brand spanking new for $15 at a market and the evenings had ranchera music filling the humble brick home. No glass windows, but had heavy rustic wood shutters. Not to be a rustic place, just that's what it has.

One of the first jobs I did when arriving was make friends with the dogs on the place. Kinda important really cause they would tear a fella apart at night if they didn't know you. But making friends with dogs is no problem for me and within a couple days we had three of the dogs that lived there all sleeping on the door step and would be plum happy when I would open the door and great them. Dogs ain't pets there, they are the first line of defense in case of unwelcomed guests.

This was my final test, to see if I could make it. But not only did I make it living like this, I thrived. Instead of getting sick like so many gringos do I started feeling better and better until I was fit as a fiddle! Anyone can dream, but you have to do it to see if you can survive and thrive. Somewhat of a cowboy culture there, mixed with tending the land. A lot of Mexican influence, but a little different. God's country I figure. The people are the best and accept me totally. Might have something to do with me not afraid to get dirty working with em. Not looking down on them one bit but totally immersed in the life there.

Now I'm back in the north for a bit but I know where I belong.  A rugged land and beautiful people.










Saturday, November 7, 2015

Meandering

Well, a Saturday evening out here on the old rancho. Worked till after dark which this time of the year isn't really very late. Things have calmed down mucho with the cows and calves bellering after weaning em Tuesday. Pretty calm out here now except for all the shotgun blasts all day with the deer hunting opener around here. Plenty of noise from that and I figure that's good, having two vehicles here with dents in em from hitting deer of the roads. Thin em out I say! But I spent the Saturday cleaning cattle pens, taking advantage of the weather to have em totally cleaned so when ever winter does hit there isn't an excess of manure to get froze at the start. And hoping to bale up some corn stalks over the next few days to have an over abundance of bedding here in case the winter is tougher than normal, which is tough. But the jobs are falling by the wayside and when ever winter does hit it puts an end to most of them. Hopefully when winter grips tight instead of ice fishing I'll be at the lake down south a ways.



Bout the only thing that keeps me going here is the cattle, how I love raising them. The farming part is necessary so they can have feed to last through the long winters but the farming part never thrilled me much. I could never be a crop farmer, would be bored to death. Gotta have some critters to get mad at, that keeps me going. Never was much for materialistic living, just like simple. When the weekends come up here the folks are just flocking to the city to spend, me, I never go, unless its to the airport to get out'a here, which is coming up. Folks ask, "how can you keep going down there, doesn't that cost money?" I say, "I don't shop every durn weekend so I can go as often as I like and come out money ahead." There's a lot of truth to that. Folks sure can get addicted to running to town and wasting their money and then wonder what happened after the thrill of spending wears of. Oh well, let em live like that I figure, none of my business what folks do. Maybe I'm the one a few bubbles off but I could care less. I think one of the greatest gifts a person could ever have is to care less what folks think of em. Seriously. How many lives are just flat out miserable because of worrying what folks think. Then get caught in the rat race to try and "impress" folks. To be truthful, its a waste of life. Enjoyment is taken away and its just a joke, trying to impress folks. Must be the old cowboy in me, where I don't give a hoot what "dignified" folks think of me.

Must have been raising cattle too long, makes a fella a little independent. Not saying it in a bad way either. More so a person just doesn't give a hoot what others think. I have a nasty habit of judging folks, it a different way. I always wonder how they would size up in a tight situation with cattle. Most, and I mean most don't make the grade. Especially the bigmouths. Nope, its different doing this for a living. Below is a pic I lifted off the internet, cowboying South American style.




Tomorrow's Sunday. Feed cattle, check things out and worship the Lord. I'm throwing one last pic on here as I meander my way through a post on a Saturday night, plum tuckered out. Ain't my pic, again an internet pic, but I have seen things like this when down south of the border a ways. In fact you could consider it normal. The only way to be!



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Corn Is Done

Corn harvest is under the belt, dried the last load today that was combined yesterday. And this weather! Must'a been in the low seventies with basically light winds. Also weaned calves this morning so this evening its a tad bit noisy around the old rancho. Walking with a limp tonight, goes with the territory. I have plans of writing a few post about different old time home remedies and will be doing that right soon, as soon as I can find my old cowboy cookbook I've had here for pert near thirty years, I know its around, just seen it last year and proclaimed it untouchable, would never be thrown out and all that cause its one of the few things I like to hang onto. Remember back in the olden days when a fella didn't have a computer and for entertainment you subscribe to magazines of interest. Well, that's how I got the old cowboy cookbook, must'a been in a teeny classified ad in the back of some magazine, more than likely a cattle magazine, then go through the work of sending a note requesting the book, send a check and wait a few weeks and all of a sudden it appears in the mail box. Ah, the simple days. Got an old saddle repairing manual too from about the same time period and I know where that is, right down on the shelf in my office. Written by an oldtimer cowboy who got too stove up to do the work of a cowboy and he repaired saddles. Its a gem and I'm taking that one down south with me to the south rancho just in case I pick up a slightly worn saddle. Back to the cookbook. It will be found and when I get that, plus having some old time remedies from my amigo Pilgrim from south of the border, I'll start compiling that. Probably help for the weather to turn sour too, cause then I sit down and put more effort into things that interest me. My plan is to post em in regular posts, plus put the exact same article into a page here on the blog. You wouldn't believe the "hits" I have on a couple of my old pages from years ago that still get heavy traffic today. But they say that we will have at least one more day of this really nice weather and I have to take advantage of it on the north rancho. Winter is long enough and it will take care of itself.






So, thought I'd throw a picture up of at absolute ground zero in Honduras. The house we live in is just a few feet behind the nephew's back, the house on the photo is the father in law's. Horses, cattle, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dawgs and more dawgs, and what ever else is hanging around. Down there or up here, that's the only life for me.


Friday, October 30, 2015

Late October Day

October pert near under the belt here in the northland. Was pretty tame as far as weather goes, I've seen many worse. No winter in sight yet on the ten day so just keep on keeping on. There's fields to work, heck, I still have a few acres of corn to combine, just a few hours worth and hope to get that done pronto early next week when I have a little bit of help, which is rare nowadays. But this place is way ahead of last year at this time and I won't have to bale many cornstalks if any. The oats crop gave a huge amount of straw, plus I baled some corn stalks this past Spring and still have them on hand. All is well. Today I hopped in the big ol' pig tractor, named it Chancho Grande, a tractor I bought a couple years ago for less than a new riding lawnmower at John Deere. Just an old 4620 and that old clunk can pull, give it credit for that. Shake, rattle and roll is the name of the game with that thing. Hooked up the offset disk and decided I needed a day off and would sit my butt in the tractor and have me a vacation, and I did. Worked till dark, (I don't trust the lights on that old pig), and now came home and am settling in. Did a little research in the Bible cause I was asked to give a little talk during the church service this Sunday, not a full blown sermon, just a five minute thingy. Them are harder than a big sermon, especially when you're used to preaching for an hour or more. So I guess this will be what you would call the Cambell's Soup version, it'll be condensed. Just add Holy Ghost. Now out in the fields in this neck of the woods in late October and November when a fella is doing fall tillage it seems to always attract seagulls coming from way up north and heading south. Hmm, them birds ain't stupid. But today with my trusty cheap phone I snapped a picture of my visitors as I was driving old Chancho.






Click on the pic to make it bigger and folks will see the seagulls in flight much better. Things were making me dizzy at times, flying around the outside of the cab, always movement out'a the corner of my eyes. But I survived. Hopefully those gulls stuffed their gizzards and will have a happy journey south. I'll wave at em later as I overshoot em and head further south. But that old offset disk can really work up a field good. Conditions are perfect for it with the moister we have been receiving as of late. 






Keep on pluggin', that's the name of the game. Hoping freeze up holds off a few weeks yet, but will make do no matter what it does. Life is what you make it. It can be miserable or it can be good. And when a person has that faith that we are just passing through, not worried about tomorrow or what the world is heading into, life becomes grand. This is just a flash in the pan compared to eternity, and I could not imagine life without faith in Jesus Christ and what He has done for me. God is GOOD!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Snowing Out

Well, its snowing out as I write. No, I ain't all happy and excited and putting out the Christmas tree. Pain in the butt is all it is. Ain't a permanent one by the looks of things and if it could hold off till March, have one snow and then Spring I would be more than satisfied. Work around here is going slow, but things are getting done. It should be wrapped up before real winter gets here. Dug out my winter gear, hooded thick jacket and insulated coveralls. Found one in the two stall garage and another on the floor in another building. Found em where they came off last Spring. Emptied the pockets, a smart thing to do cause there's more than one bullet in each of em, brought em in and washed em and now they are hanging to dry. Prayed that they would hold together in the washing cause  when a person is a man of the land, new clothes are a rare thing. Wear em till there ain't nothing left. Similar to farm and ranch pickups, drive till there is nothing left, never have to worry about trade in value. When scrap iron prices go back up, I'll be rich just cleaning up around this place. Hoping the weather kinda calms down by tomorrow cause I would like to wean the calves, then maybe Friday combine the remaining corn, only about three hours left if the combine holds together. That's kinda in the same shape as my jacket, coveralls and trucks. Anytime it starts up it warrants a prayer meeting. But I wouldn't have er any other way. Have some farmers around here with all the fancy stuff, but they are slaves till they are dead and well beyond. I can have adventures, they can't. Oh, they might be able to head down to Mexico for a week on some beach where all the American lemmings go, thinking they have arrived, overly inflated prices catering to stupid people and that's all fine and dandy with me if they do. Then they send back pictures on social media showing the other lemmings what a grand time they are having on some beach stacked with hotels, but knowing when they hit ground on the return they had better get to the bank and talk with the banker so they can try and keep going. Down in Honduras I try and avoid the north coast as much as possible, the prices are Americanized, drive a simple man like me broke pronto. Plus you lose a lot of quality, because like I say, you ain't catering to the regular folks, your catering to people who don't know any other better. Naw, I'll just stay up in the mountains where the scenery is staggering, the people are real and the towns are old colonial. The expensive meals in high class places average about $4 and down. A scrap pickup can go a long way purchasing vittles down there. But that's only special occasions, otherwise its regular food cooked over wood, and coffee........






Of course I do get to all the high class places, like the photo above. That's Las Vegas, yep, it sure nuff is. Honduras that is. That's about twenty minutes from home base. Ain't got the gambling there, unless you want to rustle up a chicken fight, and prices ain't inflated. Sometimes folks in the north turn their noses up at good old chicken fighting and that's OK, but abort pert near 60 million babies and that's OK. I'll take the babies and let the chickens fight, figure that's civilized, unlike the barbarians to the north. There's a lot of things upside down in the north and there ain't no doubt. I sometimes wonder if it can ever be saved and am highly doubtful. Folks are too far gone as a general rule and see nothing wrong with evil. You talk against evil and your labeled a nutcase or worse. Preachers buzz on social media Sunday afternoons about football, narry a Bible verse to be found. Preachers putting up pictures of themselves on them Mexican beaches getting their well deserved rest. Tell em about the poor folk beyond the beaches and they can't figure out what your talking about so I just avoid stupid. Oh well, better not rant just because its snowing eh? The pic below is on the gravel road heading to the south rancho. That's my better half on the right, my nephew in the middle who is my most trusted friend down there and second in command of southern operations, and my brother in law who is my nephew's daddy. Walking past fields of coffee heading for the hills. The fence ain't to keep anything in, its to keep cows and horses out, open range applies there but they, (the livestock), do figure out how to open gates sometimes, cause livestock is smarter down there than in the north.


 
The ten day forecast ain't all that bad at all, and I'm hoping to pick up the pace starting tomorrow again. Just be muddy is all. The cattle need food and so do I, so keep on going. Ain't trying to set the world on fire, just enjoy what I do and live peacefully.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Soup Night

Sunday evening out on the north rancho, and its winding down. Start the work week tomorrow morning and keep trying to get things done before winter decides to hit up in these parts. Tonight though I am thinking further south and the good grub that comes with it. And there is grub that is hard to beat and I'm serious. A staple is soups, and they ain't some little can of Cambells either, these things can keep a fella working with the cattle, or chopping weeds and brush with a machete for hours and hours. Ol' Pilgrim who is a regular here and resides far south of the Rio Grande, or Panama Canal as far as that goes sent me some pictures of the Sunday vittles they were making and eating down his way today. Of course when you talk that kinda food I go into a dead sweat cause I know how good it is. Trouble is I can't do justice with me writing the post but maybe that can be fixed in comments later. I'll start with a quote so I don't have to figure out how to do it so much justice.


"the Mrs. was up art 6 to start a fire, boil up some soup for brunch. About 20 gallons worth; it's a hominy and beef foot soup called "patasca". Now we don't have 20 gallons worth of cow's feet so chunks of a cow we butchered last week (she didn't make it through her calving) are going in as well"


Anyone who ever raised livestock hates to see a good animal go to waste and salvage what a person can. No different up here in the north, (except for finicky folks who turn their nose up at this then run to McDonalds for more civilized food.) Egad, I wouldn't even feed my dogs left overs from there, but that's besides the point of this post. We're talking good vittles not slop from the north. So we start with ground zero, the cookin' spot and as you can see it can be done anywhere that nothing else will catch on fire. Material list: left over fence boards for heat and used bricks for a stove platform. Nothing goes to waste down there as nothing goes to waste in the majority of the world, only in gluttonous societies that are on the down swing, (my personal opinion injected). Got some cow's feet laying around handy? Time to make soup that'll stick to the ribs. But any other part works well to so a reader doesn't feel left out lacking some good cow's feet. Just we want to start with the best in this post.


 The tire in the picture is an important part, not for the cooking but for everyday life. An all around waterer for the yard critters. Again I will use a quote:


"In the photos of the soup on the fire in the background you'll notice half a tire. I left that in on purpose for your gringo audience as an example of recycling at it's finest. 

It's a multi-animal water trough, i.e. chickens, ducks, dawgs and wildlife...."



 I tell you, soups are different south of the Rio Grande and beyond, they are real food and I pert near live on them when down there and I ain't kidding. Truthfully, for a visiting gringo they are extremely safe too, being cooked so much that there ain't a germ in there that'll getcha. Montezuma's revenge done got boiled out along with other things. Now I hope this is OK, but I'll just copy and paste from the e-mail the basic recipe, cause I can't do justice to such a work myself.

"Besides the beef, feet, and hominy she threw in a little salt, to her taste, and a couple bunches of cilantro (culantro down here, don't know why). The whole mess boiled down from plus/minus twenty gallons to around five before she added the cilantro and hauled 'er off the fire. Then she ladled about a gallon into another pot and served from there. Top 'er with that chili sauce and it was some mighty fine eatin' let me tell you. Knocked me out for a couple hour siesta. You could throw in some onions and garlic if you're so moved, won't hurt at all. Don't know what she put in that chili sauce except for the "charapita" and "ayuyu" chili peppers and onions. Told her she should start bottlin' it and sell it up north."








 Man oh man, does this look familiar! Good eating vittles! Keep a fella working for a long spell!







I really wanted to document this, for myself if anyone. I have people in the north that can't even imagine how good things are down south. The food sticks to the ribs, energy food. Simplicity as the pictures show and taste beyond compare. This can be adjusted to the north, the foods we have available here, especially those living on farms, ranches or homesteads. Waste not, want not. I am so thankful for the input and pray it continues.  I thank Pilgrim so much for this!

1 Timothy 6:8

And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.