Just The Beginning

Thanksgiving 2015 was a “messy” one for much of the state of Kansas.  Rain, turned sleet, turned ice.

Ice EditedWe were fortunate to be able to travel for one of our Thanksgiving feasts before the weather turned bad.  But, by Friday morning… It. Was. Nasty!!!!

Freezing rain, icy roads and cold animals that needed fed.  Ranchers and farmers don’t get bad weather days.  That’s when they’re needed the most.  The animals rely on us to take care of them when Mother Nature gets ugly.

The weather kept unloading through the weekend.  By Saturday, cabin fever had set in our house. I was going to lose my mind if the kids and I didn’t bust out.

We all bundled up and climbed in the feed truck to help Daddy feed the cows.

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Some of us were still a little sour because it was too slick to be able to get out of the truck.

Ice 3

While we’re not normally feeding hay this early in the winter months, when the ice sets on like this the cows need the hay since they can’t feed on the ice covered grass.  These girls eat a LOT of hay.  This bale would be gone by morning.

Ice 1  They were so happy to see us.

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Ice Cow

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Happy, happy girls.

Hopefully, storms like this are seldom this winter.  But…. on the chance that we ARE blasted again, our girls will be well taken care of!!!



Peace, love and ICE cream!!!!


I Don’t Even Know What to Say

Truthfully….  this is exactly how I feel.  I. Don’t. Know. What. To. Say.

A part of me feels as though I need to explain away the past 10 months and why I’ve been absent.  Another part of me feels that its not important.  Life happened, is happening and that’s the long and short of it.

A part of me has greatly enjoyed this long break from my daily sharing and yet, another part has greatly missed it.

Regardless of how I’ve felt, the truth boils down to time.  I haven’t had it, not have I felt that I could squeeze it in.  I don’t want to apologize for my absence because that would be false.  I’m sure all of you can relate to the need for a change.

Change…. THAT is the reason that I’m able to come back to you at this point in time.  My, how things have changed.

Three and a half months ago we made a HUGE life decision.  We took on a new adventure that would change our lives.  We were scared.  We were nervous.  Most of all, we were EXCITED.  We uprooted out kids, left my husband’s hometown of 38 years and moved an hour away for an incredible ranch job in the heart of Kansas.  Due to the nature of the calling we felt very strongly that this was a blessing from God.  It has always been our dream to manage a ranch and raise our children the way we were raised.  After years of prayers, trials and tribulations we were given this amazing opportunity.

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Now, I’m a stay at home mom/ranch hand.

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Ranch Life 2

Grady is learning the ropes under the current ranch manager with the title being passed on to him within a year.

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Tucker is in an amazing school district full of country kids just like him.  He goes to school four days a week, which means he gets to work alongside his parents every Friday.

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We have been blessed with AMAZING friends in such a short period of time.  Arms have been open, welcoming us to this community.

Don’t get me wrong.  There have been adjustments.  Being a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) was never something I desired.  I love working.  Being at home with Monkey has proven to be a challenge for both of us at times.  I think we’ve finally fallen into a good routine.  Mornings are spent at home and afternoons are spent on the ranch working, unless, of course, we’re needed for the whole day.

The best part…. my EXTREMELY happy cowboy!  He is on cloud nine.  This has been his calling.  He was born to do this.  Seeing him (US) get to do exactly what he (WE) loves/(LOVE), day in and day out, brings great joy to me.  …and we get to work as a team.  I know… this isn’t every couple’s desire, but we do a pretty great job.

So, there you have it.  Our current life in a nutshell.  I hope to be able to keep you updated with fun stories of life on the ranch.

Peace, love and country living.

The Next Big Thing

With Tucker’s summer adventures with Reggie and Papa over until next year, Grady and I felt it very important to keep his skills sharp and the learning on task.  We only had one slight dilemma… Reggie is an hour away and hauling him back and forth to local events could/would get quite pricey.

Papa and I, both, had said that Grady’s trusty steed, Wimpy, might work for the kid.  We just needed to give a try.  Grady has never been too keen on this idea, because Wimpy is an interesting character.  He’s kind of a big turd.  While he’s gentle and sweet and a great horse, he has one small flaw.

He likes to buck on occasion.  If he’s feeling his oats and in a certain frame of mind and thinks he can “take you” he’s going to give it a shot.  Wimpy has been in the family for quite a long time.  There’s been a long standing rule with him.  Said rule is that he has to be warmed up for about 10 minutes before getting down to business.

This small flaw is the reason behind Grady’s reservations for putting his son on him.


But…. it is also known in the horse world that these large gentle giants that can sometimes cause heartburn for their adult riders can and will protect a child at any cost.  ….and Wimpy falls into this category.

He passed the test one afternoon a little over a month ago.  Grady warmed him up in the arena and cautiously gave Tucker his turn.  Around and around they went in the small round pen.  All was well.  Then it was out to the big arena.

Those two were peas in a pod.  Not an ounce of buck in his system.  Gentle, sweet and smooth.  You would have thought they had been partners all summer.  Tucker was full of smiles and confidence.  We knew we had a good horse for Tucker to compete on.  His riding skills and learning could continue on the home front.

Now, it was time to get down to business.  Our local rodeo association would be hosting two separate ranch horse competitions on back to back weekends.  These are competitions in which cowboys showcase their horse’s agility and their training techniques, involving reining patterns, cattle work and roping.  Each show offers a Pee-Wee class for the youngsters.  This class is a reining pattern only, meaning they aren’t required to work a steer in the arena or rope.  It’s a great start for the youngest of cowboys/cowgirls to get their feet wet and to help with their horse handling skills.  Tucker showed interest in learning and we knew this would be a great opportunity for him to work on those skills.

DSC_0292 copyIn the weeks to come we practiced the pattern and how to ride properly keeping his body “quiet” and in his seat.

(I will throw myself under the bus and admit that on THIS particular day Wimpy got the best of this momma and tossed me as I tried to work with him myself.  This was even AFTER Grady had warmed him up.  No worries.  I didn’t let him get the best of me.  We worked out our differences with me IN the saddle.)

DSC_0297 copyMy misfortune is the perfect example of what I was telling you.  These two have always been in harmony regardless of the steed’s occasional ill-manner with grown-ups.

Tuck worked hard over those weeks and his first competition came last weekend.  It was a small turn out of competitors, overall, with him being the only kid to show that day.  As much as I would have loved to have our friends there competing with him it was good for him to do it all alone.  He had 100% focus that day.

DSC_0307 copyHis turn came to enter the arena.  His daddy gave him a few words of encouragement and then it was time for him to show his stuff.

DSC_0323 copyIt wasn’t perfect.  He had flaws.  He has much to improve and work on.

…but, he completed his pattern.  He carried himself well.  He had great control.  As he finished his ride and exited the arena he was shown incredible encouragement by all the cowboys and spectators with a round of applause.  It was an amazing confidence booster and motivator for this guy to keep working and give it another try at the next show.

…and give it another try was EXACTLY what he did.

Yesterday he competed again.  This time he had competition in his class.  His closest friends, Pax and Piper, were there to ride as well.

DSC_0355 copyHaving known each of these turkeys since their days in diapers and to see them grow up together in the saddle is a heartwarming feeling.  It’s exactly what we’ve hoped and dreamed for them.

DSC_0357 copyTuck and Piper had the job of working through the cattle before the show to calm them and get them acquainted with the arena and commotion.  It brought a smile to my face watching him walk through them, moving them around using knowledge and techniques that I was all too familiar with, knowing he learned them from his Papa this summer.

DSC_0359 copyThen it was time for the show to start.  When it was time for his class to show he waited quietly, watching the competitor before him.  He took it all in.

…and then it was his turn.

DSC_0364 copyDSC_0373 copyDSC_0375 copy…and like that, he was done.

DSC_0377 copyYesterday’s run wasn’t as good as the week before.  He knew he made mistakes.  He knew it wasn’t as good.  He knew what he needed to work on.  With all of that said, he placed third in his class, right where he should have been.

Now, to prepare for a whole new type of competition next weekend, an open youth rodeo.  Calf riding.  Goat flanking.  Pole bending.  Barrels.

This one should definitely result in some interesting pictures.


Peace, love and broncs!!!


DSC_0156 copyThis big, sorrel guy has played a HUGE part of our summer.  Not only did he, successfully, help teach Tucker his way around the pasture and cattle, he shared another “first” with his “human”.

This was Tucker’s first year in 4-H.  To keep it simple we enrolled in the horse project and leather project.  Both were things I did in my own years in the program and were projects that would be comfortable for him.  When we started this whole journey the plan was to use Daddy’s horse, Wimpy.  We had several practices with Wimpy.  Tuck was learning the ins and outs of showmanship and showing his horse at halter.  During his time with Nana and Papa he would practice with HIS trusted steed, Reggie.  The week before the fair arrived and Nana and Papa told us that they thought Tuck would be more comfortable showing Reggie than Wimpy.  It made perfect sense.  These two had been together 3 days a week for several months.  They were practically inseparable.

DSC_0157 copyShow day arrived and while I pushed hard for accuracy and as much “perfection” as I could get from a first year eight-year-old, more than anything I wanted him to have fun and do his best.

DSC_0160 copyTo merely say that I was pleased with their performance would be an understatement.  Don’t get me wrong, they both have LOTS to learn and milestones to reach before I would ever anticipate awards to be won for showmanship.  …but, I was very proud of Tucker.  He kept his calm when Reggie wasn’t cooperating in the arena.  He was confident and well poised and most important, REMEMBERED the pattern.  He was cool as a cucumber even though I know he was a ball of nerves on the inside.  He walked out of the arena with a goal reached.

Then it was time for the Aged Gelding class.  This is a class in which the judge “grades” the horses in the class and their build/muscular makeup and places them according to his/her liking.  We had no expectations.  All we wanted was for Tuck to gain a little more experience.

To our surprise and his Papa’s great delight this was the result.

DSC_0187 copyTuck and Reggie WON his class!!!!  We knew Reggie was a champ in our own hearts, but we were overjoyed when we found out the judge thought so, too.

DSC_0194 copyTo say that this boy’s heart and pride were a little swollen that evening would be an understatement.  I’m pretty certain they were bursting at the seams!

Tuck isn’t the only one who has gotten a few firsts with Mr. Reggie.

DSC_0240 copy 2Monkey got to have her very first “big girl” ride last weekend.  “Big girl/kid” riding equals riding solo in the saddle with Mommy or Daddy (or some appointed adult) in control of the reins/lead rope.  It’s the way all youngsters of this age learn to ride.

She proved, again, to be my fearless girl.

Daddy&EllaThe deep belly giggles from her were priceless.  Her daddy’s heart melted taking this first ride with her.  Her mommy’s heart bubbled over watching and taking it all in.

Without a doubt, Reggie has found his place with these kiddos.  He will be greatly loved as he greatly loves these two and carries them through many more adventures.



Peace, love and trophies!!!!!


Meet Reginold

Passing down our family heritages to our children is perhaps, at the very top of the “Important Things To Teach Our Kids” list for Grady and I. Ranching and the cowboy way of life aren’t skills that can simply be taught in a trade school after high school graduation. They’re teachings that are handed down from the older generations to the next. They are codes of life and work that our youth learn by watching and mimicking their mentors. Grady and I, both, deeply value and respect the way we were raised in this lifestyle and want the same for our children.

At this juncture in our life story we’re not able to provide the ranching lifestyle, but our extended family is.

A few weeks ago we visited my parents for the afternoon. My father had something up his sleeve. He’d made a few “suspect” phone calls earlier in the week requesting measurement information for Tucker. Knowing my father and his innocent “sneakiness” we gave the information and made bets on what he was up to. I was fairly certain I knew, but kept my excitement hushed.

To no surprise, during our visit, Tucker and Papa disappeared for an hour or so and Nana had her guilty grin all over her face. I KNEW I was right. Upon their return Tucker’s face was shining with excitement. I knew my boy… Papa had rebuilt the kid saddle I learned to ride in and had taken Tuck to “test drive” a new horse. My father decided it was time for Tucker to learn to ride, to learn the trade and learn to handle cattle. Upon their return there were big conversations between the two about commitment and dedication to learning. After much reassurance from Tucker, Papa made arrangements for the horse and Tucker to become permanent buddies the following week.

Meet Reginold.

Don’t laugh too hard.  He came with that name.  We find it rather amusing.

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DSC_0175 copyMiss Monkey is already laying claim to the 16 hand gentle giant.  Her day will come soon enough.

My boy spent three days with Nana and Papa getting acquainted with his new steed.  Under strict instructions, Nana documented his accomplishments.

06-05-14 8Getting on is no easy task, especially when your horse is on the HUGE scale.  But… it was always instilled in my siblings and I that if we couldn’t get on by ourselves we couldn’t ride.  It may sound cruel, but if you’re forced to get off your horse in the middle of the pasture and don’t have someone around to give you a boost it’s a REALLY long walk back to the house.  Sooo… with much coaching and encouragement he learned how to climb up the side Reginold using what he had around him.  Resourcefulness…. key lesson.

06-05-14 2I knew he was in good hands and would learn great things.

06-05-14 3 06-05-14 506-05-14 406-05-14 606-05-14 1When I picked him up he had grown up in a matter of days. He held his chest high with pride for what he’d accomplished.

06-05-14 7He was becoming a cowboy.

What he didn’t know was that he has always been a cowboy. Now he has the tools and means to live it.

This is just the beginning of his cowboy adventures this summer. He’ll spend time with Papa and Reginold every week learning, riding, laughing and… making mistakes to learn from.  No doubt, he will come home each time taller, stronger, smarter and with a confidence to carry him many miles.

The joy and pride that his journey brings to his father and I is immeasurable.  Whatever path he chooses in life, the lessons he’s being taught right now will serve him well.



Peace, love and deep roots.

Angels in the Field

Yesterday was a rough day for the Gibb house.

Grady had an extremely close call while helping with the wheat harvest.  It was one of those experiences when you KNOW that your guardian angels were watching over you and there’s no other explanation for coming out unscathed.

tractorGrady sent me this picture yesterday afternoon with the words below, “Just about died.”

At first glance I really didn’t know what was going on.  I thought he was about to dump the grain cart he was pulling behind him which would have been a wreck of wrecks within itself.

Then I saw the electrical pole down behind the tractor.  I still wasn’t too concerned because it didn’t dawn on me what REALLY happened.

What you can’t seen in this picture is that the electrical line (which is one with some of the highest possible voltage running through it) is lying ON the tractor.  ON the tractor door to be exact.

Having, unintentionally, left the arm of the grain cart down he was coming out of the field by the pole.  Not remembering that the arm was down he didn’t take into consideration that he needed clearance room for it and as he passed the pole it caught and brought the pole and electrical lines down on him.  He told me that all he could hear was the loud buzzing of electricity as it jumped and sparked with life.  The current passed through the tractor and cart coming out of one of the cart tires, blowing the tire and resulting in a fire.  Fortunately, the farmer he’s helping was right there witnessing the whole event.  He grabbed his fire extinguisher and instinctively wanted to start spraying.

This is where I am SO very thankful for Grady’s 18+ years of experience and training on the volunteer fire department.  He immediately yelled at Marty to not SPRAY the fire because the current would come right back at him, but use short bursts to extinguish it.

What we’re most thankful for is that Grady wasn’t killed when he made the snap decision to crawl out the back window of the tractor and jump as far from it all as he could.  He was extremely lucky that he landed safely and far enough away to not be another conductor of the electricity.

When the electric company showed up to assess and repair the damages they told him he was lucky to be alive.  A man in our community was critically injured not long ago in a situation all too similar to this one.  When he made the decision to get out of his tractor he was too close to the electrical line and tractor and became the connection between the two and was almost killed.

I’m not sharing this story for sympathies, but because I think there’s an incredibly valuable lesson to be learned by everyone in this experience.  Anyone who may find themself in a situation where vehicles and electrical lines are concerned needs to know to STAY IN THE VEHICLE and call 911 IMMEDIATELY.  It truly is the safest place to be.

When Grady told me what happened he was shaken to the point of not being able to tell me the full story in one sitting.  He wasn’t even able to finish sentences.  His emotions were getting the best of him by the time he was on the phone with me.  Needless to say, last night was filled with an abundance of hugs, kisses and tearful thanks to the Lord for sending his angels to watch over and protect him yesterday.  It could, easily, have been the worst day of our lives.

Peace, love and angels!!!

Home Boys

If you haven’t had the opportunity to see this yet you HAVE to watch it!  These home-grown Kansas boys did a bang up job of putting an entertaining twist on the value of the occupation of a rancher and farmer.  Simply put… they feed the world.


So next time you grill that burger or steak or pour your bowl of cereal remember that without these hard-working men and women your meal might be a lot less tasty.

Sorry I couldn’t get the actual video to post.  It was giving me heartburn.  GO. WATCH. IT!  If for nothing other than pure entertainment…  It’ll make you smile.

Peace, love and corn-fed boys!!!