Thursday, December 20, 2012

I have sure thought a lot about the horrible school shooting in Connecticut. My heart goes out to the victims, the families, law enforcement, medical personel and everyone involved. Some of you know i write a little cowboy poetry and i had a few minutes yesterday to put some thoughts on paper. I would like to share with you my poem i call "Senseless". Please join with our family in keeping those folks in your thoughts and prayers.


It’s a miserable, bleak, cold, desert day
And my soul is worn and shredded.

The world has gone plumb crazy lately,
And I’m afraid of where we’re headed.

Evil has always been around,
It’s not new to have tragedy strike.

But when 20 kids are shot to death,
I kinda wonder what happened to right?

My mind can’t wrap itself around
What could make a person do that?

And why those kids had to suffer,
While, I am safe, here where I’m at.

I wish’d I could’a been there, maybe
done something to stop the death.

Anything, to just try to save those kids,
They can even have my breath.

But I’m out here on the desert
And my eyes are red and wet.

My heart, it aches, my head, it hurts
And I don’t want’a feel better yet!

Cause I’m mad as hell that it happened
And fed-up with the reasons I hear,

I don’t care about guns, I care about kids
Growing up without worry or fear.

A kid shouldn’t feel anything but safe,
In their school or in their home.

But today, a parent buries their child
Because their killer was distant and alone?

I don’t know what all the answers are,
But I hope God will show us the way.

As we try to heal from the horror,
That happened just the other day.

I pray he will comfort the families.
And bless the lives that are lost.

And help us all to love more and hate less
Protect kids, regardless the cost.

Evil will only triumph, if good people
Let it exist.

Somehow we have to destroy it
And we can’t use a sword or
A fist.

We have to get God back in our lives.
We can’t do it any other way.

Alone, we will only keep failing
But with Him we can save the day.

Connecticut is a ways from this desk where I write,
But I sure feel close right now.

My thoughts and prayers are back east
And I hope that they help, somehow.

Darrell Holden
December 2012

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

25 things kids should know

I found this list of 25 things every ranch kid should know while surfing the web and visiting with ranch folks like myself. I loved it and wanted to share it with you all. These are important things any kid needs to hear and experience and learn from. Good advice for us adults as well!

1. You have chores, because we love you. They seem tedious, but they are the building blocks for your future. Responsibility, accountability, and basic life skills begin with sweeping the floor, scrubbing the toilet, and feeding pets and livestock. We love you, we want you to find success in life. Success comes from preparation, so we give you chores.
2. Boredom is a choice. Don’t let me hear you say you are bored. Boredom is a choice, when your backyard is the whole outdoors, there are chores to be done, and books to be read. If you can’t entertain yourself with a stick and a bucket full of calf nuts, we’re doing something wrong.
3. There is magic in watching the sunrise. Early mornings are hard, we don’t rise as early and as easily as Dad. Do it anyway. The beauty you will witness with the awakening of the world is worth sleepy eyes and cold fingers.
4. A pet is more than a companion. You’re cats, dogs, calves, and ponies are more than friends and playmates. They are lessons in empathy, responsibility, love, and letting go.
5. Grow your own food. Our world is increasingly rife with poor food choices, the easiest response to unhealthy options is to grow your own food. I don’t care it’s a single tomato plant or a garden large enough to feed 10 families, cultivate an appreciation for fresh, whole food.
6. Be open to learning. In horsemanship and life, you will never know it all, never assume that you do. A humble open, attitude towards learning will lead to new skills and experiences.
7. Dress appropriately for the occasion. A cowboy’s uniform, hat, long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and boots, evolved out of necessity. Protect yourself from the sun, wind and weather with the proper clothing. I nag and question your clothing choices, because you are precious to me.
8. There is a time and a place for bad language. Sometimes you just need to cuss; spew anger and frustration in one grand verbal barrage. Smash your thumb with your shoeing hammer/fencing pliers, massive runback at the gate, ringy heifer won’t take her calf? Yes. At the dinner table, the classroom, in front of your grandmother? No.
9. Feed your help. Neighbors, friends, or hired men? It doesn’t matter, sometimes the best way to show your gratitude for a long day of hard work is a lovingly prepared hot meal and cold drink.
10. Don’t judge, but if you do, judge them by their abilities, attitudes, actions not appearances. Buckaroo or cowboy, flat or taco, slick or rubber? In some circles these comparisons can lead to heated debates, more often than not based strongly in personal opinion, rather than rooted in truth. This is true outside of the ranching world, as well. Words have power to create divisiveness, do not use them to speak against yourself or gossip about others.
11. Stewardship. Dad and I choose to be responsible for landscapes and livestock, this lifestyle defines who we are. Sometimes that means ballgames are trumped by pasture rotations and dinner time is delayed by cesarean sections, it does not mean we love you any less. I hope you approach the world with a sense of respect and connectedness.
12. Fake it till you make it. You don’t have to be confident in everything you do, but taking a deep breath and acting like you are helps you get through it. This can be applied in the arena, the sorting alley, to horses or people, and life as a whole. Stand up straight and look the challenge in the eye, as you gain experience confidence will catch up with you.
13. That said, don’t mistake arrogance for confidence. No one likes a swaggering braggart, even if he is a competent swaggering braggart. There is honor in being unheralded, if you enjoy your work.
14. Low-stress is best. . . . . .for you and for livestock. Don’t let it defeat your spirit and energy. Don’t let it impact your livestock health.
15. The only dumb question is the unasked question. Where is the gate? Which calf? Can you help me? Ask questions, no one will think less of you. Clear communication helps prevent misunderstandings.
16. Always do your best. There are days when your best is better than others, recognize that. Avoid self-judgement, abuse, and regret and enjoy the process.
17. “There comes a time when you’re gonna get bucked and you’re gonna need to know what to do so you don’t get stepped on.“ -Betsy Swain, 1875 Do not let fear of pain or disappointment stand in the way of new experiences. What I regret most in my life are opportunities missed out of fear. Pain and disappointment are a part of living, learn to take them in stride and keep moving forward.
18. Be polite and kind. Enough said.
19. But, don’t be a pushover. Stand up for yourself.
20. Develop a sense of place. Wherever you may live, learn the names of plants, rocks, and animals, visit old homesteads (or neighborhoods) and educate yourself about Indigenous cultures. In doing so, you gain roots, a sense of belonging that will lend you stability in all that you do.
21. Break a sweat everyday. Pound a steel post or take a jog, whatever you do, break a sweat daily. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
22. Be present. If you are mindful of the moment, it is easier to catch a mistake before it happens, redirect a broncy horse before wreck, and have better relationships. It might surprise you, what you observe and what you achieve when you are fully in the moment.
23. Unplug. Go to cow camp. Leave the computer screen, TV, and cell phones behind. Watch the chipmunks and rock dogs, read a book, or share a conversation with your family.
24. Sometimes the hard decisions are the right ones. We cannot rationalize suffering and pain to animals. Sometimes the best decision is the hardest one to make, know when to let them go.
25. You do not have to maintain this lifestyle, but please appreciate it. I don’t expect you to grow up and follow in our footsteps, the long hours and low pay aren’t for everyone. Carry these early horseback mornings in your heart.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We are excited to announce we just bought some semen from a great ranch in Colorado to use in our artificial insemenation program. Coleman Herefords from Westcliffe, Colorado raises fine Hereford cattle. We are going to breed some of our good Angus cows to a great Hereford bull from Coleman's. GB L1 DOMINO 175E is a long, fleshy, good looking bull that should make some great daughters when crossed on our cows. It will be a long wait til' next spring to see the calves, but it will be worth it for sure! Angus+Hereford cattle are perfect for our operation. They are thrifty, easy going cows that will produce great calves each fall. The steer calves will be tender and delicious as beef and the heifers will add to the foundation of our cowherd as we continue to grow our ranch. Thanks to Ken and Suzanne Coleman for your help and your awesome operation! Check out their website which can be found on a link under our friends & favorites. 2012 will be an eventful and exciting year for us. Thanks for sharing in our ranch and thanks for your business!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Setting the record STRAIGHT!!!

Lately the beef industry has been attacked by a smear campaign. Anti-beef radicals started the "pink slime" avalanche and the clueless media was spoon-fed their FACT- LESS propaganda! Instead of praising a company for finding ways to use as much good beef as possible by using new technology and being super efficient, they tried to cheap shot them and run them out of business. The words "pink slime" were purposely thrown out in order to panic folks. In fact, "lean Beef trimmings" are 94-97% lean beef! Don't fall for anti-meat propaganda folks! When they get done destroying Beef Products, Inc- the company that makes lean beef trimmings, they will attack another part of our industry. Please take the time to learn the facts about everything you eat! Don't get buffaloed by groups with an agenda that won't be happy until we are all FORCED into becoming vegans! I raise and sell some of the best beef in the world. And so do many, many thousands of ranchers throughout America. Find out the facts and don't get spooked by scare tactics! For instance, when you have a great cheeseburger made with tasty BEEF that contains lean beef trimmings, the meat only contains 200 ppm ammonium hydroxide. Ammonium hydroxide is found naturally in all proteins we eat, plant or animal! One of its main roles is to stop dangerous bacteria from forming. The cheese on your burger contains 813 ppm, the bun 440 ppm and the condiments have 400 ppm ammonium hydroxide. Why haven't we banned cheese and bread and ketchup? Feel free to contact me with any concerns you might have regardless of where you buy your beef. I am proud to be an American rancher, proud to be part of a safe, efficient, sustainable, growing industry! And I will always stand up when radical elements of our society attack my livelihood and try to limit the choices I have to feed my family! There are many websites where you can find CORRECT information in regards to Lean Beef Trimmings. And I would love to hear from you if I can answer any question about tasty, healthy, safe, wonderful BEEF!

Monday, April 2, 2012

We are back!!!

After a computer meltdown, we are finally back in business. Unlike our congress, we follow a budget and can't spend money we don't have. So after a little work fencing for a neighboring ranch we were able to upgrade and get back to updating our blog. The family is growing like weeds. Our ranch is growing too. We are almost done calving for 2012 and it has been a banner year. We even had our first set of twins! Thanks for your interest in our ranch, our cattle and our family! Check in soon for more updates.