Made Of Dirt And Proud Of It

Farmgirls know that while ‘love makes the world go round’, it is actually dirt that literally makes the world. Dirt settles on the ocean floor and is created deep in the fiery furnace of our planet. Without fertile soil, we’d starve. The word ‘earth’ has two meanings. It is a name and it is dirt! Dirt is where much of life begins. Even we originated via a handful of dirt in the Almighty’s loving hands. Lately, I’ve been getting pretty darn dirty. Ranching is a dirty lifestyle, but, like many of you I’m also a gardener. Nowwww, we’re talking dirt! Farmgirls like the smell of earth. Good, clean dirt has a sweet and musky fragrance. When someone refers to another someone as ‘down to earth’, it is a deep compliment. So, lets get dirty, shall we?

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  1. Nanette says:

    Thanks Shery for bringing back some springtime memories. I haven’t helped "work cattle" for many years, but from about the age 10 and up my jobs were to help with the sorting, and tally the heifers and bulls for Dad as they were branded and whatnot. My sister gave vaccinations, and still does at their own farm.
    We used tractors and later 3 & 4 wheelers instead of horses. Dad was thrown and severely injured when he was about 22, and wouldn’t have a horse on the farm. I hated/loved the sorting. I was always stuck at the gate where the calves were separated from their mothers. Those cows were alot bigger than I was. I never got hurt, but sure did get scared.
    I loved branding season because it got me out of the house. Mom ran the kitchen on those days and us kids earned our lunch and a sip of beer at Noon.
    But even better was moving the herd up to the North Pasture (roughly 6 miles of gravel roads) for summer pasturing. I always, always had to ride with Dad in the front as he would call his "Come boss, come boss" to get the procession started. My job was to jump out of the pickup and hold back those bossies (in the ditch) who were in a hurry to get to greener grasses, letting the stragglers catch up. It was another scary job, but I did it, sometimes having to run out into a new stand of wheat or oats to bring a stray back to the herd. Sounds like a bigger job than it was, and I did have help. As we got closer to the pasture,if I was already a ways from the pickup, I got to go to the tail end and keep the little ones moving along. Usually I just walked behind, but sometimes my brothers would let me steer the tractors or pickup – whichever was bringing up the rear.
    For a time after I married and became a city slicker, my husband & I still helped with the spring activity. It took many years and a family of my own to lessen the tug back to those times. Now I can think of them with fond memories and realize I can’t do that type of work anymore.
    It was a wonderful idea asking those kids to help out. They will have stories to tell, and bruises to brag about for a long time. N

  2. Laynee TR says:

    Love the bed in the stock tank turned out miraculous! I envy your creativity!

  3. meredith says:

    Hi Shery – I loved your pic’s today! Those kids were having a hardworking blast of a good time!
    I have to tell you how proud I was of MY daughter today- she just turned 13, mind you, and today one of her heifers was having a bit of trouble delivering her first calf. She called her dad who listened to what she was seeing and advised her to help the mama with the ob chains, which she has seen him use plenty of times before. She could see foot #1 but #2 was still just inside. Knowing the calf was properly positioned, she dove right in (literally) and found #2, got the chains on, and with a little help from me, had that calf on the ground and the mama on her feet in 5 minutes. The calf had been a bit stuck (big head!) but all is well with mama and baby this evening. What a handsome bull he is going to make!
    I am so proud of this child for taking the situation in hand and fixing it, and what a huge blessing to be living this kind of life!
    Cant wait to see the rest of your photos, and hope you all have a fantastic summer!


    You SHOULD be proud. It is scarey to watch with worry when an animal is in distress. She took responsibility and made a difference for that baby. She’ll benefit all the days of her life from the confidence built in the life you’ve made possible for her.   shery

  4. Joan says:

    AHHH this was super great – haven’t done a branding in many a year but you brought it all back to me – thanks. Hope you have had some rain by now and all is looking good. God Bless

  5. Jan says:

    Just be thankful that in your neck of the woods the young folks still want to do manual labor! So refreshing to see…I’m not sure that I could even FIND a teen to help me mow the lawn, let alone brand some cattle! Hats off to all of them!
    Love to see how your garden is coming along. I used a more ‘horsey’ theme on my garden patio this year (my husband built a patio on the end of our garden shed). I hung my ‘horses for sale’ sign that I got at a garage sale a few years back (hand painted!) and surrounded it with old tack, my spurs from back in the day, etc.
    Does anyone have any ideas for the large leather-covered horse collars? I rescued mine from a client’s garbage. They were from his family’s draft horses on the farm! I couldn’t bear seeing them thrown away. One man’s trash is another woman’s treasure!!
    Can’t wait to see the planted part of your garden project!


    Hi Jan,  Hey, I saw old collars dressed up as WREATHES. Just assume it IS a wreath and dress it accordingly…for fall, christmas, patriotic etc etc. Twist a ‘tie-wire’ loop on the back to hang it with and it will be wonderful looking. Gosh yea, I couldn’t bear to let those old goodies go to the dump either.  Love your equine decor theme.   Enjoy your new patio!   shery

  6. Debbie says:

    Hey Sister Shery! So much fun and work going on in and around your ranch! Your garden yard is just wonderful! You really made some fun and funky ( in a good way ) planters and yard art! Raised beds are a great way to go and the fence for protection from the wind and a little privacy is great too!
    And those dressed up water jugs you featured in this months cluck were overflowing with cuteness!!! Made the one in my last Beach blog post look so naked!!! Ha!
    Glad you are getting out and able to play in your garden yard! Take good care!
    xo your sis from the East!

  7. Joan says:

    Hi Shery, thanks for another wonderful time at the ranch garden. Love all that you have done and it so inspires me. Now to get out and DO in my garden. Take care from the plains of CO.

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Unfinished Business

Here I am, working in my picturesque garden-yard. Birds are singing, butterflies flutter by and bees work as if they know they’ll never get ahead of their to-do list. They are at peace with that knowing. Oh, to be a bee.

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  1. Kelly says:

    Oh how I know the feeling. A dear, wise friend says it is because it is spring after a long winter of not being able to do outside work, that we end up frustrated with such long to-do lists. And in our world, trying to fit the yard projects in around everything else is challenging to say the least. But when we walk around the yard and say "We built that fence, and that fence, planted those trees, built those retaining walls, made those rock/shrub beds," it does actually feel like we are accomplishing something. And so are you. Enjoy!

    You’re right! It pays to go back and revisit the results of things checked off of the to-do list. That’ll make me feel better :o)  shery

  2. MaryJane says:

    Well my dear, you’ve certainly NAILED "writer." What a fine piece you’ve treated us to this morning. And your photos always make my heart just ACHE they’re so beautiful.


    Our fearless leader!! Thank you kindly Ma’am. I don’t know HOW you manage to do all that you do. I think you’d drag me death!  ;o)    shery

  3. Denise says:

    I make "to do lists" for each weekend so that by the end of the weekend I hopefully have crossed off many if not all items. Then I start another list for the next weekend! It makes me feel better by having one list down and not YET thinking about the next one I need to write out. Loved what you said at the end, SO TRUE! I love reading your blog!

  4. Gwen says:

    Omg’s and here I thought I was the only one with a todo list that never gets finished nor stops growing. So many projects, so little energy, time and me. My guilt at all the false starts is almost as overwhelming as the to do lists. And there is the big issue of where I can create or work on small projects. Started in a closet, untill we needed the storage area back. Then onto a corner of a bedroom, then a adult child came home, bye bye corner. Then I thought I dont like the basement, but as the beggar I’ll not be picky. Now I have some stuff here and some stuff there and little more over there….I dont know where any thing is. And yet the garden is calling as is the never ending household work. Seriously need to go for that walk untill sundown TODAY.
    Thanks so much for sharing with us, you did this heart good and I feel less lonely or guilty.


    Let us take a glass of wine on that walk. Oh, I assumed I could go. S’ok? :o) shery

  5. Roxanne says:

    Yes the to-do lists are a catch-22. The anxiety of getting to each item on the long list BUT also the awh… after it dwindles and has checked off marks.
    Your photos are so beauitful!!

  6. Terces says:

    Hi Shery,

    …and another one of your "wins" is this blog! I wait for it and am always thrilled when I see it arrive. So often you speak for me, as you did once again this month. Your contribution I can only imagine is reaching into some far corners of the earth where other women are also working to make a difference, to live closely to the land and to return to values that matter to them. I thank you.


    Oh Terces, thank you so very much for taking the time to share such kind thoughts. We may never meet in this life, but I felt that hug as if you were right next to me.   shery

  7. Judy says:

    You inspire me to do more . . . although my hubby and I are quite DYI’ers and built our place up from the ground a few years ago . . . it is still in progress (you understand) but we are better gardeners now and work the tractor with more success. When I hit 55 I decided to stop and smell "MY" roses every day, watch the lambs and make planters out of "junk". Although I get weary at times, I love my age and this time in my life. Thanks for your insight into your day and heart.


    Oh Judy, I second your statement about liking the age. the body … welllll, not so much, but the state of mind at this age is the best. My father said he liked his 50s the best too. I get it now. :o)   shery

  8. Diann says:

    Oh gosh, how I empathize. We have a working ranch and a house that is 113 years old. It was uninhabitable when we moved in 10 years ago and I promise it is habitable now but geez oh peez, it is always needin’ something done. We had to rehabilitate everything, trees, gardens, barns, pens…EVERYTHING. And what a joy it has been. You bet my list is gargantuan (spelling may be wrong, but you get the idea!) and for sure never ending. But still…..this ole dame is enjoying the accomplishments and lookin’ forward to more….besides! I’ve got girls to carry on the work! lololololol Glorious summer days to all!

  9. bonnie ellis says:

    Shery: What a blessing to HAVE a to-do list! So many people have no interests and nothing to do or physically can’t do anything. I’ve got a great suggestion for all of us: Make the to do list and then add at the top the thing that bugs you the most. It may not be on your list but I could almost guarantee that if you did that the rest will fall into place. Also, put a time and date on when you are going to do each thing. It gives you a mini deadline and you are more apt to do it. We’re all in the same boat girl, I just prefer to take a rest once and awhile. Good luck and never stop dreamin’

  10. rachel says:

    Hi Shery-
    Great post. My to do lists continue to get bigger and my pace more frantic. I think im going to take your advise and worry over them less and just get to it more. i am a gardening gal and I was going to mention to you that I usually put the spent hyacinth bulbs in the ground. They like a well drained soil and not too much moisture. They’ll come up next spring and be beautiful. i plant them around daylilies. When they finish blooming the daylily foliage hide the yellowing hyacinth leaves. They make nice partners.
    Thanks for the beautiful post. I enjoy hearing about your life on the high plains

  11. Grace~katmom says:

    OMG! If I ever see another ‘post’ or mix another batch of concrete… it will be way to soon! We just dug/poured & set 81 4×6 posts for the new corral and Thank goodness for Augurs & pnuematic nail guns,,,for setting the rails!
    But on the plus side, what glorious weather for playing in our Garden of weedin’ not to mention perfect days for Glamping in our wee trailers & sitting around the ‘glampfire’ with great gal~pals.
    hugz & Happy trails.


    81 posts…in concrete???? YIKES!!!   Oh! I have a new campy term to use…’glampfire’…I’m so stealing it. :o)  MY wee trailer is slated to go on her first glamping trip sometime in June …our maiden journey together. There ought to be at least 2 other farmgirls to hang with and our HORSES. Thanks for stopping in Grace!   shery

  12. Debbie says:

    My dear friend Shery, You’ve done it again. As I read each word I could see myself so vividly… starting right at the top with turning 50 and feeling that sense of urgency to start, finish and ENJOY! And, just like you I’ve stopped spending so much time thinking and dreaming up things to do and just doing them ( as I can afford and time allows ). My back, legs and arms sure do have my attention as I work to get my latest farmgirl dream off the ground and running… That’s ME in your top photo right now!!! This flower farmgirl is running herself ragged at the moment. I came in for a break and a cool drink to find your beautiful blog this morning! Once again, I loved every darned word of it…I think you need a change of scenery!!! Why don’t you hop a plane and come see all of my unfinished business here at home and at the cottage! We’d have loads of fun and it would make you feel better too! big farmgirl hugs!!!
    Keep at it, but enjoy the ride… we only have today…:)
    Much love your farmgirl sis from the east! Deb


    DEARest D-BOZ, I would lovelovelove to come visit, BUT, I have tooooo many darn things to do!! Thats my problem — a pleasant variety of misery. But, one of these days … ONE of these days!!! Trust me, that is not an empty threat. ;o) Looking forward to seeing your flower market. Yes, I know you’ve been working your buns off.  Ya, know that has never worked for me though. Does ANYone really know ANYbody who has lost their buns via work?   shery

  13. Debbie says:

    PS. I share that same pleasant variety of misery with you! For the record, I still have every bit of my buns attached to a very tight, stiff lower backside! I also wanted to tell you how much I LOVED your Painting the West article! Great job!!!

  14. Janice says:

    You are not alone…and I am glad to know that I am not alone!

  15. Ann says:

    I just got back from Oklahoma so a I know a little about the wind. But, my, how I covet your junque! Wish I could find some down here in the piney woods of east Texas. I feel for you with your short growing season. I have already harvested asparagus, onions, potatoes and the tomatoes are about ready. My growing season is too long!! I love reading your blog because I am a farm girl at heart too.

  16. Ann says:

    Dear Sheri – truer words were never spoken about to do lists and ambitions for women of a certain age. I always have to remind myself of my age as my projects and plans always get ahead of my physical, not mental energy. Love your words of wisdom and gorgeous photos. Good luck with your gardening plans. Ann

  17. Betty Benesi says:

    Shery: I am working on this, but realized it a few years ago. I was getting ready for Christmas which many times is centered at our home. It is the most convenient for all family members. I work full time as well as take care of the financial aspects for a company my husband and I both own. I was getting very frustrated that things wouldn’t be ready in time. One evening while I was ranting and getting more upset about getting ready for Christmas, my husband looked at me and said " You know Christmas is gonna come anyway." As sour as I was at the time, I realized that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if I was cranky. I loosened my hold and things went much better. You know this from riding. I am the queen of to do lists, but I just turned 60 this year and I am learning that maybe, just maybe our job is to learn when to be satisfied. For just a moment, be still and grateful!

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Creature Comforts

We all have a list of favorite things that comfort us. I’m referring to little everyday things that my put a smile on your face, refresh your soul or simply polish the shine on your sense of well-being. My list is too long to record here. There are so many things that have the potential to lift us up. And, new ones get added all of the time. Right? There were several that qualified as comforters for me this past week.

How about you? How were you blessed with different flavors of comfort in recent days? Sometimes, we get so caught up in the daily hub-bub of life that we forget to take time to count our blessings. That, in and of itself, is a comforting habit well worth developing.

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  1. Karen says:

    Shery, what a lovely comforting relaxing message. After an extremely hard day with some life changing decisions ahead, you brought me back to the things I love most. Family, beauty all around us and love of life. I look at all these other things and wonder how and why I have let problems that I can control into my life. Beauty is all around us and life is too precious not to grab every minute.
    Thanks for the inspiration……..

  2. Colleen says:

    The tablecloth in your camper is made from the same fabric I have as the curtains in my window above my desk. We have great taste! Love your pictures, love your blog. Thanks so much!

  3. Shery, Everything looks so beautiful, I miss my home in La when I lived between a dairy farmer and beef cattle farmer, (Father and Son) and every spring I would see the new colts and baby calfs romping around all frisky and happy. And I had my own little section of woods so there were always plenty of other baby critters as well. I remember waking up one night to see a family of raccoons sitting around my patio table like they were having dinner. HA! I love love love your glamper and cant wait to get me another one. We are looking at an airstream bambi and I am praying things will go my way and I will soon have one to fix up in the 50era decor.
    Love your blogs, Be Blessed Neta


    An Airstream?……Wowwwwww. They’re the cream!!  shery

  4. Treese says:

    I don’t know about your cattle, but our bucking stock cows have a real social circle. One cow is chosen to babysit for a few hours and this goes on all day as they take turns(except nursing time). We have an old barren cow I couldn’t bear to send to the rail because she is such a good sitter. I laugh when I look across to the pasture and see one cow chewing her cud and keeping her eye on the calves.

    Yes, the little chicks like to peck and dive. I have to be careful as I have a herd of Bloodhounds (my breed of choice as I grew up with them and they were my babysitter’s) and one likes to go after them. I think he would kill them if he had a chance. Now, my baby girl Miss Scarlett O’Hara (all 141 pounds of her) is terrified of chicks after one pecked her nose when she was a pup. LOL!

    Boy, that little camper is a cutie.

    Hi Treese, Yes, on the babysitter thing. I think all cattle do that. I can remember asking my Grandad about it when I was very young.   shery


  5. Debbie says:

    Howdy Shery! Oh, I do feel relaxed! Your words today reminded me of so many comforts I am grateful for…like you, too many to list. And I agree; it’s so important to push away the crazy, hurried world and let comfort do it’s magic! One of my favorite comfort spots is also laying in the grass and gazing up at the bright blue sky… so thanks for makin’ room! Loved your post. As always it’s a bright spot and a comfort in my day!
    much love,
    your beachy farmgirl sister!


    SOMEday, I want to give the beach a try! Your cottage is the thing dreams are made of.   Thanks D-Boz for stopping in. You’re always a bright spot for ME.  shery

  6. Grace~katmom says:

    Hey Shery, so true, "making girls out of women"…. & "we have more fun than anyone"…our 2 favorite Sisters on the Fly mottos.
    I have my little Serro Scotty parked out and ready for a lazy day of relaxin’ and napping,,, now if only the weather would cooperate! lol!
    Enjoy your trailer and Get Glampin’ :>)

  7. Ange says:

    Good morning,
    What a peaceful picture you and Deb paint for me each time I read. I too find comfort spots and though I live in the mountains, I grew up on the beach and can still remember walking the ocean beach and finding a spot in the early morning without people and sitting quietly with my cup of tea and watching the sun come up over the water. Besides restful and comforting it is healthy to take just 10 to 15 minutes for spirit rejuvenation. But now I can sit on the side of the mountain and look out over miles of green lush fields in the valley and think of the farms and farm families that have been up for hours nurturing their animals and working so hard and making my view one of peace and tranquility before I too have to "get to it". But sometimes only 10 or 15 minutes to say "Thank you" is enough to last the whole day long. (Love the Airstream)

  8. cora jo says:

    Shery, Spring IS a time for reflecting on new and rebirthed ideas and a time to take in the multitude of blessings we have been given. This weekend I got to visit my new grand-kids. There are 9 of them…oh, they truly ARE kids…baby goats. Dwarf Nigerians. My personal fav is "Rodeo" who is a little billy smaller than the tom cat! He spends most of his awake time springing straight up in the air on all four legs and boinging around the yard. This being a farm, I know some of these little cuties will end up on the table. But, same with the calves and chicks. I also find such blessing in the flowers coming to life around our place right now. Almost as beautiful as my granddaughter who modeled her dress for the upcoming semi-formal dance at her school…When did THAT happen, her being old enough to go to a semi-formal dance! Great job, again, Sheri, I do so love sharing your life out there. keep it coming! cora jo


    Thanks Cora!  There is nothing cuter and more joyful than a baby goat hopping around like popcorn!! :o)  Yes, this is prom season in these parts also. It tickels me to watch young gals teetering around as they try to manage walking in heels ;o)  I shouldn’t laugh — I’d fall down nowadays. No, I couldn’t wear them more than about 10 minutes before my feet began SCREAMing OWWWwwwwwwww!!  shery

  9. bobbie calgaro says:

    Loved your blog today. I have many places that are comforts to me but here at school, I go outside every day and eat lunch in the court yard. Its quiet and gets me away from the fray. Just me and my lunch and a book. Then I’m ready to go back and face the rest of the day.

  10. May Lund says:

    I felt such a connection when I first read MaryJanes farm first book but when I saw and read your part in her magazine, that clenched the connection for me. #l, you are a ranch girl and #2,you have a Morgan, the best darn horse ever. I have wanted to write a note to you as I know we would have such fun corresponding. My children have tried to encourage me to write of all my life experiences on the ranch and of course we never make the time but…. wow…you are doing such a wonderful thing in sharing your life with everyone, you truly inspire me to think of this seriously. You have such an incredible gift of making us feel like we are right there with you, thank you. I would love to share some moments with you, so if you ever find the time please respond. We ranched for many years in the interior of B.C. canada and I had 4 magnificent Morgans, they ranged from the Jalopy, the Chevy, the Ford and then I was blessed with a Mercedes as well..!!!! Everytime I get a chance to read your blog I step back in time and am once again lying out in a field under the aspens in complete bliss. Remembering the hours riding,exploring, laughing and sharing the day with my daughter as we chased the darn cows is something no one can ever take away from you and I have been so blessed with my way of life…I feel that I can write these words and you know what I am saying. Have a wonderful day and I truly hope that we can cross paths. Thank you again for your wonderful blog..Sincerely, May Lund

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