Trip with Dad

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Last Saturday/Sunday Brian took JJ and Tessa up to the ranch for a quick trip to check on things. We got our new pivot going and the hay barns almost built. And I got some real gems texted to me in photos ;)

Is that a chetto mustache JJ or are you smelling them before consuming?

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Checking on the pivot. And look how that hay grass is growing!!

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They stopped at the tractor store  of course - and didn't really ever get out of the clothes they left in. 

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Tiny says "COWS!!!" She's obsessed. 

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Oh JJ ;) Heff said the carted around that bag all weekend. Never been happier. Or more orange. 

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Pleasure Park Rodeo

 

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What a fun Sunday at the rodeo!!! We were up early Sunday morning to check the baby chicks and get some ranch chores done before rodeo time. The Etna rodeo was AMAZING! We are used to the big Red Bluff rodeo with thousands of people and lots of Crown Royal girls ;) This was a small town, know everybody there kinda rodeo. We are so lucky we feel SO welcomed by the Fort Jones/Etna community and everyone was so accommodating to open their tailgates and coolers to us and to our kids.  We were there early after the parade for the kids events and stayed til 6pm. We met new people who introduced themselves (one nice lady said "ok you are talking to all the people I know - but I don't know YOU!?") and the girls mae fast friends with some kids their age and palled around hitting up the snow cone booth, the fancy jewelry booth and sliding down the big hill where the littles all congregated. I loved it so much I was bummed we were going to have to wait a whole year to do it again - but come to find out there is a JULY rodeo AND a rodeo at the August county fair - yessss. :)

Morning mist - love this image of Maisie looking out her window to see what this new day will bring. And yes they all sleep on that mattress on the floor. It's cozy. 

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A single line rainbow lingering on the Marble Mountains on the way to the parade

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downtown Etna parade route - this parade was awesome! It was sprinkling when we got there but the sun came out. They threw candy from every truck, tractor and float - girls loved that!

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I've seen some crazy things... But nuns on a miniature donkey cart!? and it had a flat tire.

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My All American girl MaryMarjorie.

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then after the parade we hit the fairgrounds for the RODEO! Everyone backs up their trucks to watch from above the stands - lots of food booths (gotta have a corn dog!), beer and so many nice people!

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back in the chutes to watch Dylan, their new buddy, Mutton Bust. She was one of the only girls!

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looking ready to mutton bust!!! GO Dylan!

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The girls agreed this rodeo was AWESOME! Small town, safe and so much fun.

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kids on tailgate trucks (stacked with hay bales for personal grandstands :) watching the bull riding and saddle cows

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sweet Emma looking good in Dad's hat

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hold on tight - Dylan about to go. Each kid gets a dollar coin for participating and winner gets a belt buckle. 

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great day at the rodeo  - time to head home with tired kids

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it got pretty chilly that night so we got home to cozy in the cabin by the fire. Maisie fell asleep in 3 minutes flat in her cozy Jannie knit blanket.

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and this one helped her big sisters check their baby chicks. Bungled up in handmedowns. 

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Good Morning from Sharps Gulch

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We came up to the ranch last night for a quick weekend escape and have been relaxing and hanging out up here all day - ranch life is the best!! Even worth the 6 hour drive up and back for less than 2 days :)

Maisie in the morning ready to hit the feed store

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lilacs in bloom all around the house (so glad we didn't tear them out when they were dormant and scraggly looking!)

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JJ practicing for her pony ;)

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and headed out on a mission with my girls on the backroads

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just the bigs while Tess was out on the ranch with Dad. 

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and we got.... Chickens!!

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21 little buggers! Feed store had 11 breeds in stock. #trouble

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girls are smitten. Tiny is not sure. JJ might be first to kill one. 

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Maisie and her favorite two. So far they named 6 of them after Little House on the Prairie characters

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and JJ is learning to be gentle. The girls love the story of two year old aunt Kat holding one too tight and brining it to Oma saying "peep peep go night night!" 

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doing their ranch chores to get the chicken coop ready

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we have them in an old shed thing behind the house for now. 

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Tiny substituting her favorite puppy for riding a pony. He will do. 

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then off on 4wheeler to greet the cows and calves that are moving on the upper pastures to graze for a few months. Yay for more animals, even if they aren't ours (wait that's even better ;) this is heff's office right now. 

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the girls ask to put their toes in the irrigation ditch stream and one minute later it's down to this. Every time! Heff surveys the ranch and tiny just wants to be big 

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this was minutes before ;)

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I love my husband and I love how happy he is out on the ranch farming and working hard. And yes we are wearing matching wranglers - I gave my sister full authority to make fun of me and told her I'm saving the sparkle butt ones for rodeo!

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sisters at the old hay barn. Trying to figure out just how many chickens we can cram in here 

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and what am I to do with this kid!? #JJstyle 

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later in the afternoon after Tiny napped and I read out on a blanket in the sun (so rare and so good) we went to a BBQ and met lots of new fort jones people (might be the nicest group of people we've ever met in one place!) We had Coors Light and kids - do you need anything else?

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Tiny loves a selfie. I pull out my phone and she says MORE MAMMA MORE! Ok tiny. 

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awesome BBQ on hay bales with lots of good new people to meet and lots of coolers. Pretty happy. 

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and happy kids making up games and playing on the seriously vintage swing set (inspiring me to get one like it and yarn bomb it;)

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fast friends with cute Dylan and Grady - love this photo of these happy kids!! Can't wait to keep the party going at rodeo tomorrow!

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Road Trip, Ranch Bound

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We left Friday afternoon for a quick weekend trip ranch bound!

Tiny the Monkey  - the girls are all pretty good travelers on long car rides but this one asks for "nacks, nacks!" (Snacks) allll day long 

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we stopped at Aunt Kat and Uncle Donald's for a BBQ to celebrate Lauren's 2nd birthday with some of the Heff cousins. Always fun. 

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happy birthday Lauren!

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it was a great stop to break up the trip and always fun when cousins are involved - another pet lizard was captured and subsequently lost a tail. Rough crowd!

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A Few More of Cousin Campout

I love that I get to keep reliving our awesome cousin campout weekend at the Ranch through Andrea's amazing photos! Here are a few more of the B&W series she shot of the kids. I love that our styles are so different - I capture half-baked mostly-iPhone attempts at documenting everything that happened and she expertly captures the spirits and soul of the kids and the weekend. Thank you Andrea!

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Easter on The Ranch

 

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We spent Easter Sunday on the ranch together with just our little family - a rare event coming from big families on both sides! We had intended to go to Easter mass in Fort Jones - even stopped by Saturday to check the time at the adorable little church in town! - but after a late night at the neighbors the girls were all sound asleep at 9am and seemed ambitious to get up, fed, dressed and have pleasant church goers ;)

but the Easter bunny still found us!

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and then we had an egg hunt up behind the house

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my Ukrainian egg attempts. Not winning any awards here ;)

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the girls found them and hid them all again 

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JJ in her finest Easter ranch wardrobe

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her curls are the best after she actually has a shampoo ;)

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and this kid made fast friends with a pet Lizard - carrying it around everywhere and insisted on bringing it home in a Tupperware habitat with straws for air holes. #sorrylizard

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and there were many lizard shows. JJ was Francie's loyal assistant (just don't ask her to hold the lizard)

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I love my view from the cozy couch in this little cabin :) happy Easter!

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and another reason to celebrate - the end of Lent means Heff and I can drink our road trip Diet Cokes again, woohoo! ;)

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Happy 5th Birthday Maisie!

 

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Maisie turned FIVE up at the ranch Friday April 18! We had a great day celebrating as a family. She's such a sweet girl and doesn't need much to make her happy. 

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presents and breakfast in the morning then hanging outside all day - sweet little five year old 

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snacks on the four wheeler headed out to the fields 

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and team work to get it done - Maisie on the wheel line with dad 

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they love their dad

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making lunch- egg salad of course!

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and a surprise for parade in the middle of the day!!

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and this was her present waiting for her from uncle jerry her godfather when we got home from the ranch. Good picks Jer!

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happy birthday sweet Maisie. We all love you!

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especially your sisters. You are always so kind to each one and thinking if them and their feelings. We are lucky to have you as a part of our family that's for sure!!

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Saturday at the Ranch

We had a fun day working and hanging out in Fort Jones Saturday! Our neighbors the Blacks son had a baseball hand in town at 11am so after our morning chores (moving water lines every 12 hours!) we went to the elementary school field to watch some little league. 

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the girls were enamored with Will and Bryce ;)

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but early that morning when we were watering Heff gave me the chore to go retrieve this giant wheel sprinkler from the other side of the fields. I tied it on with bailing twine best I could - not having high hopes this would work 

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but after a re-giger higher on the four wheeler and a mad dash through the pivot sprinkler I made it!

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girls walking the fields having sister talks

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tiny was super proud she got her dada glove on ;)

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way up in the air

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then Saturday night we went over to the blacks to dye eggs with them and another family. They had a serious egg dying set up! JJ was on cloud nine with her crush Bryce ("Brwyce you make really good eggs" "Brwyce wanna show me your bedroom?" !! Oh geez JJ )

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tiny getting in on the action 

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I brought our Ukrainian egg dyes. Always a hit for dark vibrant eggs. 

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and since we failed Friday night with a cake, the big girls and I made fun-fetti and brought it to sing happy birthday to Maisie!

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Ranch Weekend

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another weekend getaway to the ranch last weekend to work on our fields and get the water lines all working for summer- and celebrate Easter as a family. I love the ranch life ❤️

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stopped at the Jelly Belly factory since we had to convince Francie to miss Thursday and Friday at school. 

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arrival and immediately a Jelly Belly stand is open for business 

 

and a late afternoon run to move wheel lines. All girl selfie. 

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these two talking about trouble ;)

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sister pic

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waffles for dinner is ok right? We eat a lot more quick to make food at the ranch when there is so much to do! The kids will survive - and Heff and I live on beef jerky, almonds and bourbon 😉

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working wheel lines spreading water. A happy sight. 

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after dinner pedicure? I'll take it. 

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and Friday was Maisie's fifth birthday!!! We celebrated by going to see if the feed store had baby chicks. No such luck. But Francie did ask for a summer job 

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and then the big girls went fishing in our pond with dad, Maisie's birthday request! 

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the little girls and hung around the house and found two lizards stuck in the trough. So we made them a habitat. 

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complete with a skull playground and teepee

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tiny didn't want to nap in her closet crib so Heff drove her to the shop and back like this. Works every time. 

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dirt and sunshine. All they need. 

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And animals to torture. I mean pets to take care of  

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evening wheel line moving. Getting the hang of it! And had to overall up for this right!?

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growing new oats

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yay for Tiny the farmer!

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sunset rider. 

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hard working JJ 

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Cousin Campout - Year 2!

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We gathered up the troops to celebrate the spring birthdays again this year - at the ranch! Some of my favorite photos below but full post on the RANCH link! (still trying to figure out the best way to blog on this new one - I better get the hang of it soon :)

Happy kids after some fun in the mud - nothing like a tub bath!

Out on the creek with Uncle Mark - kids were clothes-less in 2 minutes

And lined up for sheep shearing!

After dinner camp fire for s'mores and sparklers

Sister-in-laws with sleeping babies hike

the best days ever.

some sassy girls on Heff's Troopy

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and one happy dad!

The Ranch!

Finally after 5 years of looking at ranches and dreaming of someday having our own property - we bought a ranch and couldn't be more excited. We have high hopes to raise our own all-natural pasture raised cattle. And if I can talk Heff into it - maybe chickens and hogs :) It's going to be a lot of work and a slow process to get an operation going but it's a great starting point for us. The ranch has pasture lands for cattle and lots of wide open space and wilderness to raise some free range kids!

hi here cows

the pasture

the Barn

the view of Marble Mountain Wilderness from the base of the hills

Someday we might build a house on the hills, but for now we will camp out in an 1868 old Victorian on the property- it was built without a kitchen, bathrooms or central heat! But a little kitchen and bathroom have been added to the back and there is a stove for heat. It's simple old 8 bedroom and ONE bath house and could sure use some love. It will be an adventure!

and this is the foreman's house - it used to be a creamery and has 1 foot thick cement walls. Stays cool in summer I bet. guessing there is a 50/50 chance the realtors photo shopped this rainbow in :)

The ranch is in a town called Fort Jones, CA and 5 miles up the road is a supermarket, coffee shop & deli, bike shop and community center. 20 miles north is the city of Yreka (that has a WalMart :) and 6 miles to the south is the town of Etna - good restaurants and Etna Brewing Company. So it's not terribly remote but still off the grid. (but TG for high speed internet in Fort Jones due to a federal grant - and 4 bars cell reception! WooHoo!)

Maisie went with Heff for 3 nights a couple weeks ago and was a trooper going to all the district farm and county offices with Dad. Stayed in the fancy Etna Motel too :)

first time on the ranch that we could call it ours. Oversized jackets for xmas, hoping they grow into them :)

JJ might never want to leave

Bundled up - snow still on the hills

that's a happy husband opening the gate for the first time - my Rancher husband!

dry pasture - needs some rain

we met with the former owners and lots of local neighbors who couldn't be nicer people - learned lots of ranch history! The family who sold it to us were only the second owners since 1850 - or as they say the fourth owners - The Indians, The government, the Sharps and themselves!

JJ riding in the back seat of the family size four wheeler

high fives by the river. First time I'd been down all the way to the river to see it - I see lots of summer picnics here!

pretty happy, can you tell ? :)

throwing rocks in the water - never gets old

the family showed us the old cabin site up in the gulch. There are old tin cans and mining equipment from the gold rush days.

Tiny in the snow - it was chilly!

sunset on the ranch - can't wait for this adventure!