The other day, I walked through the door and was hit by a flood of amazing smells from the kitchen. When suddenly I was whisked away to a memory from my childhood. My step grandma Debbie was an incredible cook, she always cooked amazing meals that were passed down from the generations of her Italian family or that she had just dreamed up.
If you want to make your head explode, think about all the things in life that are uncertain. As someone who has anxious tendancies, I can tell you, that it hurts. Physically hurts. (Excuse me while I exercise some breathing techniques my therapist taught me for dealing with anxiety) Because it’s endless. Your head will burst before you run out of things…In fact, it’s much harder to find something, ANY ONE THING, that is certain. I’ll give you a second to try if you don’t believe me. I’m right, huh? You guys, I’m not telling you this to bum you out. It’s just the truth.
More than 4 years ago, Nate & I were doing everything we could to create a secure lifestyle for our family. We bought a house, we put money into investments, we started college funds & wedding funds for our daughters, he worked 48 hours every week bringing home “the bacon” and I spent all of my time, every day, worrying over how to be the best mama. We took our girls to events we thought were important to include them in, we kept track of their physical and intellectual growth like clock work, and we had our family pictures taken annually. Every thing we did, we thought was the right thing to do as a family to protect this idea that we would certainly deliver a bright future for ourselves and our daughters. One thing we did not do… was take risks.
This morning I was reading about how “our openness to taking risks directly correlates with our potential for fortune and possibility…” in the book, Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop and it reminded me of what happened in our life four years ago when we stopped living our life based on certainty. First of all, it’s true guys - NOTHING is certain, except uncertainty. We thought we were creating a “secure” future, and in many ways, we were but it wasn’t true to who we authentically were, Nate & myself.
I remember the day we stepped out of our maroon GMC Yukon and set foot onto our 160 acres in Eastern Oregon full of fear of the uncertainty of it all, and excited for it, too. I also remember Olivia “didn’t want to be a cowgirl” at the age of five, and Millaney hated the dirt so much she didn’t want to be put down. You see? They fought against uncertainty, too. It was outside of their comfort zone. If you know my kids now you wouldn’t believe that to be true of them, but we evolve into who we are authentically when we no longer live according to how we think we should, and start living authentically to what our bodies and hearts call for.
Nothing about leaving a “normal” life for this new lifestyle was certain. But we began to fall in love with it. We still have investments, and savings accounts, and we still make sure to include our girls in opportunities that we believe in. We haven’t had family pictures done for years, although we have thousands of pictures of our family together. We sold the maroon Yukon and bought a more practical “ranch” rig, and the girls are disapointed that the pickup truck doesn’t have a movie player in it, but they’ve learned some fun road games over the years and have overcome. I believe Nate works more than 48 hours a week these days, but he doesn’t keep track because he loves it too much to keep score. I still worry about my girls, and read books about parenting, but it comes from a place of love instead of fear. THAT is the difference these days, in fact. The way we live our life embraces what we love about living without being fearful of it “making sense” in the end. We weren’t hoping to find fortune in the form of matieral things or money. We were hoping to find fortune in the form of living authentically. And that was worth taking the risk to leave our city life and become Right Lane Ranch four years ago.
Stay tuned for more of the story of how we started Right Lane Ranch, how we chose Grass-fed meats to be our mission, and what life has been like living in the right lane in our next blog post, coming soon.
As always, we want to make sure that you understand it means the world to us and fills our hearts that there are people out there like you who actually want to read this story, and support our journey. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible. Thank you!
Julie told me the other night that the Lottery broke over $1 Billion, I had absolutely no idea, 0. I still don’t know if anyone won or even when the drawing is. When I think about that statement I needed to take a step back and reflect. My life has changed so many ways over the past decade and I feel like things are just beginning for me.
As she told me about all her friends saying that the didn’t win the lottery, I asked myself. What would I do the money if I won... I was shocked by my internal answer. I told myself without any hesitation, I wouldn’t want to win, not because I have seen the stories of how people go and loose it all or that everyone they know comes knocking down their door. I didn’t want to win because I care about my legacy! The lessons in life we go through are not suddenly washed away because we hit a jackpot, often times they are compounded because so many of us have a poor relationship with money.
Over the past few months I have taken an approach to my life that will forever change the person who I am. This has led me to many self realizations, the one that I feel led me to this quick internal response about the lottery was my relationship with money.
Growing up my parents both worked in significant jobs either full time or part time they were very responsible with money. Always keeping us in the “middle class.” We didn’t talk about budgeting or finances very much but we didn’t have extravagant things and made due with many things in life. I don’t remember fights about finances nor negative feelings toward purchases.
I think many people my age struggle with financial fears, because our grandparents lived through the Great Depression. There are no shortcuts in life and every choice we make should come from a place of personal strength. My thinking that I need to win a lottery only serves me well if used that money to create a foundation or charity or used it for good. Then kept living my life the way I am today. If you hit the jackpot what would you do?
PS I recently read that the odds of being born you are 400 Trillion to One, so maybe that’s why I don’t want to win the lottery. I Already Have.
Over the weekend our family said goodbye to Kenworth. He was an amazing part of our family and we have so many amazing memories of him that we will cherish forever. He had an amazing fashion sense, was always the protector of our family and was one of the happiest creatures I’ve ever met.
When the girls were little they spent so much time with him and he taught them so many amazing things like how to drink water out of a dog dish. Kenworth was about one when I met him and I quickly helped him make the transition from sharing a bed and living an indoor life to being the guard dog outside and sleeping in a dog house. Throughout all the good times and the hard times the one constant was Kenworth, it wasn’t the harsh life of living on a ranch that did him in as we expected when we left the life in the city. It was just old age and what the vet told us was an aggressive cancer.
He loved being outside and chasing things, especially the young calves who came under the electric fence and got close enough for him to chase. He absolutely loved the river and everything about swimming, diving for rocks and being with his family. He spent his last day with us at the river chasing rocks and swimming.
It’s often difficult for us to deal with the loss of someone human or pet who has been a significant part of our life. With Kenworth we are so grateful that he was there for so many of the amazing memories that we had and how much he loved our family. Julie and I started dating and not long after we became a couple my work moved us up to Calgary and we had rented a tiny 600 sq ft condo. So regretfully we re-homed Kenworth. We found an amazing family with property and knew he’d love it there. Well the dog who wouldn’t ever leave our unfenced yard before escaped and ran away any chance he could, fortunately his chip was still programed to Julie and we had her mom take him in. Not only did he have this huge bond with us, but once we had kids he was overwhelmed with a calming and peaceful spirit that every family needs at that time. He didn’t care about anything but to keep our family happy and protect us from any noise that approached.
When we moved to Spray our driveway was a 1/2 mile long and Kenworth would start barking to protect us the second he saw a car turn our way or headlights approach. Then of course he’d make sure to greet them with his warm soul. One of my favorite things about Kenworth was how we as a family always pretended that he’d talk, it was always fun, especially with his expressive eyebrows and his tail that would go in a circle every time he ran.
Kenworth you were one of my best friends and I’ll miss you greatly, but I know you’ll be right there with us anytime a car approaches or we head down to the river to go fishing.
8/21/2017 is a day my family will never forget. It was an amazing experience for us and so many others and of course a lot of things didn't go as planned.
When we decided to purchase the 160 acres in Spray, we had no idea that the eclipse would be passing through or even that there was such a thing that could happen where there would be darkness for 2 minutes. The last time it happened in Oregon was 1979 before both of us were born. So when I saw something in the Spray hotel advertising for it when we moved down in 2015, I brushed it off. A year later some friends came to visit and they asked if they could come stay at our ranch the following year on a very specific date. Of course I remember that ad and figured it must be the time of the eclipse. Julie had no idea and they explained to us what would happen. Of course we said yes, no plans and we'd like to watch it.
Flash forward 1 year, I was just recovering from a major surgery to remove a benign tumor from my colon on Valentines Day. But I kept working hard on convincing Julie that we needed to host an event, the media had really hyped it up we expected hundreds of thousands of people all over Wheeler County (the least populated and poorest county in the state). After much back and forth and encouragement from a close friend who had already sold 200 campsites at her property up river. After she told us we where we could get port-a-potties, we went for it.
There were so many things that we learned from almost immediately, we put it out there in May and got 4 reservations right away. We listed our place on a website called Hipcamp and they sent out an amazing professional photographer (Bubba Sellers from Bend) to take pictures. He connected us with Cascadia Rooftop Tents and we started the conversation of being their host. But of course we needed the photos for marketing. I believe we got 4 more bookings in June... It seemed that everyone else was selling out, but not us. Then things changed in July our house rented out and we got the photos back from Bubba and started our social media blitz. By the end of July we had reservations from over 200 people, 100 shy of our goal.
The week prior to the eclipse we still hadn't reached our goal, so my friend Seth Patterson who is the marketing director for Pendleton Woolen Mills and was a big influencer in our decision called me up. He helped me create a few advertisements. One of which I ran 3 days before campers were set to arrive. Almost over night we had 400 more people coming, before we shut down all our advertising.
Like many things in farming I was way behind on my plans to get the camping area ready, shoot we hadn't even decided where the best spot for people was until 2 weeks before the event. Of course the spot was littered with thistles and dry grass. So I moved the cattle in there and intensively grazed it all and setup irrigation to try and make it green quickly. I irrigated so much so that when the guy brought the port-a-potties down from Pendleton, not only was he upset about how far he had to come, but he got stuck in the mud and I had to pull his pickup and trailer full of port-a-potties with the tractor. He told me he wouldn't be back to pump them out... He'd also up sold me on the ones with a hand wash inside. Which he later told me those things fill up quickly because people keep washing their hands. (Lesson learned for sure) There was still a lot of work to be done to be ready for 600 people.
Our volunteers started showing up the Wednesday before the eclipse and they worked their butts off for a week straight to help us put on that event. We were definitely way under staffed and unprepared to handle that many people. Julie and I barely slept. We build a giant shade structure and setup a hay bale seating area. Moved the cattle and chickens away from the camping areas and finished up getting our house ready for guests. (Julie and I camped with everyone else by the river)
Our vendors arrived first thing Friday morning and started getting setup. Around the same time our first guests showed up. They came down, parked, walked around and left, they never came back... Fortunately as more guests came we had better success and everyone slept well Friday. We had a fairly casual day on Saturday with a steady stream of people coming through and we really felt like we had everything under control. Then our first and only accident happened. Our volunteer a college friend of mine hooked a bass and it wrapped the lure around his leg. The barb was fully in and he couldn't get it out. We tried everything you see in the movies and decided to send him off to the local PA and mayor of Spray who took it out no problem.
2 kegs of beer were given away by our friends at CVT and surprisingly nobody got rowdy. The group of 600 people didn't need any enforcement and I only had to talk with one person about bad behavior. Around 3 am I walked up on a guest peeing on the port-a-pottie. I gave him a bit of grief about it and his buddies had a good laugh.
Sunday was a mad house and after all our guests had arrived -3 who never showed up, Julie had to stop greeting everyone at the gate because she was severely sun burned. The one and only person we turned down was a guy from Belgium who showed up right after Julie was forced to quit working. We sent him up to the school.
We decided we weren't going to let new people come onto the property on Monday, so we could relax with our family and enjoy the eclipse. That was the best decision we could have made. There was a line of cars starting from 4:30 on and our neighbor was frantically making sure nobody got onto his property. We took time to ourselves and chatted with many of the guests. When the eclipse started one of our guests from Canada let us look at the sun through his binoculars. We could see solar flares and the girls also got to check it out.
Then the magic started to happen. Suddenly it started getting darker and colder, we could hear our cows off in the other pasture getting restless and looking for their calves. A flock of geese flew over head and circled everyone. I didn't hear our rooster start crowing, but he had a very quite crow. We experienced the most amazing 2 minutes of our lives right there next to some amazing friends and with 600 people looking up at the stars at 10:21 am. Immediately after we all shared in our amazement and started talking about plans to go to Texas or Mexico in 2024.
After experiencing amazing things my first thought is, everyone should experience that at least once in their life. I think everyone needs to go sky diving once, scuba diving once and watch one TOTAL Solar Eclipse.
I'd love for you to help me add to that list by sharing an amazing experience you've had in your life or even tell me your eclipse story.
PS: Win Our Grass-Fed Beef We are giving away 4 boxes of our Grass-Fed Beef today only to mark the 1 year anniversary. Follow this link to sign up to win: http://bit.ly/eclipse_giveaway.
In March of 2006 I began my career in Project Controls. I came in nervous and armed with a huge lack of experience and a degree in Business from Western Oregon University. Strangely enough, it was the easiest job interview I had ever had, even though I had absolutely no experience in that field. I remember the day of the interview because it was MLK day and there was nobody in the office except for my Aunt Lisa who was a part owner in the engineering firm (ARES) and the VP, Bob Fritz. Bob is a Missouri farm boy through and through, he had his Missouri Tigers ball cap on and had a slight stench of body odor. Not exactly who you'd expect as the VP of a large engineering firm. He threw his big arm around me and said "Lisa tells me you played baseball! Our softball team, the Wire Nuts, needs a ball player, can you start next week?" My response, "ummm yeah... Does that mean I got the job?"
I learned many valuable lessons from Bob and have much to thank him for, especially now as I am understanding what it takes to run a successful business. It was simple, Bob cared. Everyone knew he cared for his employees because you could find him whistling and walking the halls every day, striking up conversations with everyone, taking time out of his day if things weren't going okay, playing host to you when you brought your girlfriend Julie up from Bend for your second date and shortly after offering her a job and relocating a young couple to Canada.
It was 5 years later when I accepted a 3 month role on the Caltech project Advanced LIGO (ALIGO). I continued as an ARES employee for another two years before jumping ship and becoming a Caltech employee the week before Millie was born. As a new employee I had no time off and my deadlines didn't change, so I worked from home for the first two weeks after we got home from the hospital. I took on many different responsibilities and had a few different bosses through my time at ALIGO. I learned about an amazing project that I'd never heard of and was able to spread the news to all my friends when they made their first detection of gravitational waves and when the founders won the Nobel Prize. I also think that I am the only Caltech employee to have lived full time in Wheeler County or Grant County. I'm excited to take my girls up for a tour and show them the cubicle I worked in with no windows, where I first decided I'd talk with Julie about starting a cattle ranch.
I've worn many hats through the past 12+ years and am proud of the work that I have done and life long friendships I've made along the way.
Today is an interesting day as we knew it would happen and have been planning for it for a while now. The nature of project controls is every project has an end date, fortunately for me the Advanced LIGO project was extended multiple times and I was one of a small handful of employees to be there for closeout. I don't find myself fearful of the future or resenting the fact that I have not lined up my next "job." I am more excited than ever and ready to make the most of the opportunity that's in front of me!!
Our heels are firmly dug into this new life at Right Lane Ranch, we are laying the foundation for something great and I'm excited to have all of you as a part of it. No matter if you are reading this from across the world in Sweden ("hi Janet"), one of the folks who camped with us for the Solar Eclipse last year, or one of our grass-fed beef and lamb customers, we appreciate your support more than you will ever know.
I love ending on a quote and as a parent it is only fitting that today's comes from Dr. Seuss: "Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory."
Thank you all for the amazing memories along the way over the last 12 years as an employee. I hope to have you along for this amazing journey as a small business owner here at Right Lane Ranch.
PS We have a special offer right now, if you'd like to try our grass-fed beef for free just Click Here.
Go Outside!! Watch Some Meteors This Weekend!! We are hosting a small group of friends here at Right Lane Ranch this weekend to watch the Perseieds Meteor Shower, it's a new moon so visibility should awesome!
"How? I mean... how?"
It's the most popular question we get asked. "How come you decided to leave your job?" "How did you decide you wanted to raise cows?" "How did your friends and family react to such a big change?" "How has it been going? Has it been hard?" "How does it work?"
How? How? How?
Man, do we LOVE that question! I'm not being sarcastic, guys - we LOVE that question, in whichever shape or form it takes. We will share with you the logistics. We will share with you the struggles. We will share it all. Because, all too often we find ourselves right smack in the middle of living our life with lots of "how" questions... "How did we end up here?" "How did it come to be like this?" "How come we do things this way?" And I believe that, first of all, we should NEVER be afraid to ask the questions and second of all, we should NEVER be afraid of answering them. Can you think of a time when you've wanted to ask someone a question but didn't because you thought just by asking you might offend them? To me, that's nonsense. If we could all welcome more questions I believe we could help open the minds of others to possibilities they might not otherwise think of. More of that, please!
When it comes to asking & answering questions, we should do so especially from within. Have you ever stopped yourself from asking a question because you're afraid of the answer? It's by answering the questions we have in our head & in our heart that we will truly find out who we are, what we want out of life, for our future, and the way we would like to be living day-by-day. That's HOW we ended up where we are today; forgetful of which day of the week it is, debating homeschool for our daughters, loving the work we do and full of hope. How did we get so lucky? I wouldn't say that we're lucky, but I will say we are lucky in who supports & encourages us. Does everyone? Nope. But the right ones do. The ones who tell us to "give it a try" and even share excitement with our ideas. How do we ignore the ones who don't agree with our lifestyle? We don't. We try to look at it as one human being concerned for another, and genuinely take into consideration their concerns & reservations with the full belief that we are capable of making the final decision and guess what? Sometimes, we do decide differently based on other's opinions. If we didn't give others the opportunity to ask questions, our own thoughts would be limited, right? So why not? It's not offensive to us. Not one tiny little bit. Questions are always welcome around here...
The one "how" question I love sharing about the most is "How come rural living?" So if you're still reading, wondering where the heck the part about wildflowers comes into play, here it is... we didn't want to settle in life when we felt in our hearts we were meant to be free, growing in ways where others never would. Isn't that how wildflowers are?
Out here we feel like there's less noise to influence us. We didn't want to continue ignoring our own ideas and values. We didn't want to hear constantly that we shouldn't give up a six-figure salary, and the "benefits" that come with that job. We didn't want to constantly hear how much our neighbors hated their jobs or that it's "normal" to hate having to go into work on Monday. We wanted to answer our own desires and curiosities about life. I don't feel like we were running away from anything. I feel like we were being selective & honest about what is and isn't fulfilling in life FOR US. Monday through Friday, 9-5: not so much! Soccer, little league, basketball, dance & music lessons, oh my! How 'bout: oh no! 2 hour commutes to work in a cubicle: not productively living. I say these things NOT to be offense for anyone living like this, only to say that we kept questioning WHY this was our life and HOW come we didn't feel fulfilled and those questions (when answered) led to another question: What Would?
Out here we feel like we're following our call to be & do something that would really allow us to make a difference in the world. Out here we feel like we're really living in roles we were meant to lead in. Out here it's easier to find fulfillment in how we spend our time. Out here it never feels like we're settling.
Do you feel like you live according to what you were meant for? The reason I ask is because I like to have these blog posts mean something, and not be the ramblings of someone who likes to write, and maybe this is one of those questions you're afraid to ask yourself. So don't mind me, I'm asking you, for you. I hope that doesn't lose any readers, I'm nosy like that. But I gotta ask because I feel like it's a way to pay forward the possibility of feeling like I do most days; grounded & fulfilled. You see, the change from city to rural isn't just about raising our family, being who we truly are, living life in a slower pace, or putting REAL food on dinner tables - this adventure in our rural life is also about encouraging a change. If it's a change in how you live your life, what questions you ask, or even a change in what's being served for dinner to the people you love, we want to encourage you to embrace change. Don't be afraid of the answer if you ask yourself, "Is this the way I want to live my life?"
The wildflower is free and no matter what changes it still grows.
Growing up I moved 4 times I lived in 3 homes in and around the family ranch in Kimberly and once to Canyon City to the home I graduated high school from. I just asked Julie and she told me that she moved 11 times before she graduated high school. So when we had kids it was very important to her that we made our decision where we would raise our children before Olivia started Kindergarten. Our family was comfortable in Kennewick, Washington where I had just taken a promotion into a very stable position with one of the best employers in the country (CalTech). Then in the winter of 2014 we were walking from store to store in the Columbia Center Shopping Mall and I noticed a bunch of teenie-boppers wandering around without shopping bags. So, I asked Julie what the heck they were doing and she told me kids come to the mall to hang out… Seriously!?! I asked her if she had done that growing up in Beaverton and she said she did. So I asked if that’s what she wanted for our kids. This lead us on the journey we have been on for the last 3 years down in Spray with Right Lane Ranch.
Fortunately for us I was working 2 jobs with Caltech and one of those jobs would continue part time for the next 3 years. They agreed to keep me on part time while we started a new life down in Spray. It’s been the best decision of our lives, although we have been tested in almost every way possible from Olivia getting pneumonia the first month we were there, to our manufactured home getting stuck in middle of our field, to me needing emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor and of course things continued all the way through to closing. That being said there have been far more amazing adventures and memories we created in Spray that we will cherish forever.
When the opportunity arose for us to buy my grandpa’s home and raise our girls in the same home as their grandpa. There was never any question for us, we were going to do everything we could to make it happen. We are excited about the opportunities that we will have not only for our family but for our friends, neighbors and customers as well.
Since my high school baseball days I’ve always believed in signs and superstitions, so I had to share a few with you since we have moved. Not long after we moved I left the house and had just driven onto the highway when a Bald Eagle glided about 20 feet above the pickup window for about 30 seconds. Then on the same drive 3 miles down the road I saw a beaver in the river working on a small dam. The next sign happened about two weeks ago when we were on our way to Portland for a beef delivery. Our neighbor rancher Jean Hill, who we are partnering with to sell Grass-Fed beef had two bulls standing in the highway. One had a green piece of steel tubing around it’s neck like a necklace. So we immediately stopped, at the same time Joe, our neighbor who had just put shoes on our horse Missy, stopped as well. He helped me catch the bull, get the tubing off his neck and get them penned up, while Julie called up Jean. Jean reached out to another neighbor who got there just as Joe had left. Within a few minutes we had reached an agreement to offer the Grass-Fed Lamb that he is raising to our customers through Right Lane Ranch. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take a picture, but sometimes the best memories are always that way. Kimberly is an amazing place to visit as is our “new” home, feel free to call us anytime to plan a trip out.
If you or someone you know wants to try our Grass-Fed Beef or Lamb, send us a text at 541-668-6048 or message on social media with “Grass-Fed” and you’ll get a $5 off coupon. We have all cuts available and offer delivery within 4 hours of Kimberly.
Has it really been 7 months since I've had something to write about? Absolutely not! It's just that the last 7 months have left us living out of boxes, creating new business plans, and dreaming bigger than we ever have. I've heard it's a contagious thing to do, so if you start working to live a life you've dreamed of, expect that there's going to be a lot of work and that your dreams come true. So much so that you have to start dreaming more!
One thing I've come to learn about dreaming and hard work is that you have to have two things; faith & patience. Faith is easy. It's like dreaming. If you believe in your dreams then you believe in faith. Yes, sometimes faith can try and slip away from you, especially during the difficult times, but it's usually right back in your front pocket to get you through. It's patience that's tricky. If you weren't born with patience, or haven't mastered the art yet then chances are it's going to be a struggle to maintain your patience through living a life built on your dreams. Why? Because nothing ever happens over night. Nothing worth having in life is ever given to you easily. It's cliche to say, maybe, but it's the truth that your dreams don't work if you don't and you never know what work it's going to take, or how much effort you have to put into, before your dreams are reality. Sometimes it takes a lot longer that you think...
For example, we have officially been living the rural life for three years and it was ONE MONTH AGO that we (finally) started selling Grass-Fed beef! Never did we imagine it would take us three years to be able to that. However, everything we've been through in the past three years has led us here and has given us so much more experience and knowledge in the pursuit of this goal. But you better believe that over the past three years we've leaned heavily on faith & patience. You will never know how many times we've considered giving up! In fact, I'll never know either. Struggles like having no money, learning how to adjust to a life as a stay-at-home parenting team, and how to keep all the animals living and safe from predators during extremely cold & long winters.
So what's the deal with having faith & patience, and then working hard? It's like I said, your dreams come true. Not only have we now been selling our Grass-Fed beef successfully for a month, but the universe delivered another dream this week... Grass-Fed Lamb! We thought this might take us a year from when we could officially offer beef, but as it turned out, an opportunity knocked and we're so grateful that our eyes were open to receive it and will soon be delivering Grass-Fed Lamb to our customers, too!
For the record, I am one of those people who was not born with patience. In fact, I have a family history of low patience levels on both sides of the family. I've learned a lot of people can relate so here are a few of my tips on how I deal with life when I am low on patience:
-Gratitude Meditation: As soon as I start to think about the things I'm grateful for I can feel the anxiety and pressure start to release from my neck & shoulders. My children are usually the first thing that come to mind and I can't help but be overjoyed that I am their mama.
-Varmint Control: When I need some patience during the warmer months of the year a sure fire way to find some ease is to grab my .22 and shoot ground squirrels. Many people don't understand this form of therapy, but it does help our ranch to reduce the population of ground squirrels so we have more luscious grass for our animals to eat. They can ruin crops costing us money and time so if I need a stress reliever, this is an activity I'll engage in.
-Journaling: I love to write, hence the long newsletters and blog posts I usually create, so why not journal my frustrations, conflicts and thoughts that I have going on in my head rather than keep them up there interrupting my ability to think clearly? I've probably filled over 20 journals in my life, and currently have more than 8 that I fill pages of regularly.
-Exercise: No one can deny the release of endorphins, epinephrine and serotonin that happens with a good workout, so get sweaty! There are other benefits, but that feeling after a solid workout is hard to beat!
Alright, I better get back to my to-do list that consists of remodeling, domestic housewife things and ranch life mixed with a lot of motherhood and being an "okay" wife. Ha!
ps... no time for editing around here!
When was the last time you met someone who said they were the 5th generation of anything?
Our children are the 5th generation of children to be raised as ranchers in Eastern Oregon. The Campbell family is deeply rooted in the history of ranching. One big thing that we want to do here at Right Lane Ranch is to continue that history and share ranching heritage.
Our way of doing so will be to share ranching heritage stories from our family and other families with stories of ranching heritage through our social media pages. Submissions must come through our email: firstname.lastname@example.org and stories will be shared to our page www.rightlaneranch.com/heritage as well as our Instagram and Facebook pages.
I’ve been a clean eating mama for close to six years now! What does that even mean? It means I don’t eat food that doesn’t have an expiration date, comes from a box, is processed or isn’t REAL food. Most of the time, anyways, I mean I am human. It wasn’t the easiest transition for me, however. I knew that if there was ANY hope, seriously even just a smidgen of hope of me sticking to a clean eating meal plan or lifestyle that the food that went into my belly needed to be tasty, or it wasn’t going to stick. I desperately wanted to eat clean food but not feel like I was depriving myself, or my taste buds!
So, I’m going to give you three recipes that are easy, healthy & clean! In order of easy to easier, these three recipes are sure to please your taste buds and your goals of preparing clean, delicious meals at home. Also, you’ll notice they don’t have a lot of clean up, which is a huge bonus for us busy mama’s, am I right?
Easier: One Pan Lemon Parmesan Chicken & Asparagus from Chelsea’s Messy Apron
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes
Calories: 432 kcal
GROCERY SHOPPING LIST:
1.5 Pounds of boneless, skinless pastured chicken breasts
1/3 cup flour
1 cup panko – check the Asian food aisle
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon minced garlic
8 tablespoons melted butter separated, unsalted
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
1 pound of asparagus
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons of honey
(optional) fresh parsley and 1 lemon for topping
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
2. Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl.
3. Combine panko, 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, dried parsley, garlic powder, about 1/2 teaspoon each of salt (I use seasoned salt) and pepper. Stir.
4. In the final bowl, add 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending on lemon flavor intensity desired), minced garlic, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Stir. Remove 4 tablespoons of this mixture and set aside.
5. Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders (about 1 and 1/4th inch strips) or use chicken tenders.
6. Coat in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the Parmesan panko mixture.
7. Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining Parmesan panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders. Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning over the tenders (I use Mrs. Dash lemon pepper)
8. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes and remove.
9. Flip the tenders to the other side.
10. Place the asparagus next to the tenders and drizzle the reserved lemon butter sauce. Sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese over the asparagus and toss with tongs.
11. If desired place lemon slices over the chicken (optional)
12. Return to the oven and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken has reached 165 degrees F.
13. Meanwhile, whisk remaining 3 tablespoons melted butter, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-2 teaspoons lemon zest, 3 tablespoons olive oil, and 3 tablespoons honey in a small bowl. Add some pepper and parsley if desired.
14. Remove from the oven and top with the honey lemon mixture and fresh parsley if desired and enjoy immediately.
15. Do not top chicken breasts with the honey lemon mixture unless eating immediately and aren't planning on having leftovers since it will make it soggy.
Easy: One Pan Balsamic Chicken & Veggies from Cooking Classy with a Sprinkle of Fancy
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 13 Minutes
GROCERY SHOPPING LIST:
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons Italian salad dressing (I make my own, it’s simple, or buy a good brand from the grocery store)
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinedar
1 ½ tablespoons of honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper falkes
1 ¼ pound of boneless, skinless pastured chicken tenderloins
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound of fresh asparagus OR 1 pound of fresh green beans
1 ½ cups of matchstick carrots
1 cup grape tomatoes, in halves
In a mixing bowl whisk together salad dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey and red pepper flakes, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste, then place chicken evenly in skillet. Cook about 6 - 7 minutes, rotating once halfway through cooking, until chicken has cooked through (meanwhile, chop asparagus and tomatoes). Add half the dressing mixture to skillet and rotate chicken to evenly coat. Transfer chicken to a large plate or a serving platter while leaving sauce in skillet. Add asparagus and carrots to skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook, stirring frequently, until crisp tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer veggies to plate or platter with chicken.
Add remaining dressing mixture to skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes to chicken and veggies and drizzle dressing mixture in pan over top (or return chicken and veggies to pan and toss to coat).
Easiest: Baked Chicken with Potatoes, Carrots and Herbs from Sweet Phi
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 55 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
GROCERY SHOPPING LIST:
2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & cut into quarters
2 pounds large carrots, peeled & cut into chunks
1 medium-large sweet onion, peeled and cut into chunks
2 pounds of boneless, skinless pastured chicken breasts
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, parsley, rosemary – finely chopped)
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt
½ teaspoon garlic salt and onion salt
fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400.
Peel and cut the vegetables and herbs. In a large baking dish scatter the onions, potatoes and carrots, sprinkle with half the salt, pepper and half of the fresh herbs and half the olive oil.
Next add the chicken breast on top of the vegetables and slightly nestle them in to the vegetables. Drizzle remaining olive oil over the chicken, then sprinkle remaining fresh herbs and salt/pepper and garlic and onion salt.
Bake for 55 minutes then check for doneness, the potatoes should be soft when poked with a fork, remove from oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then enjoy!
Each of these recipes is sure to be healthy & full of taste! I love the Baked Chicken the most of these three because I literally get to walk away while the oven does all the work. Don’t forget to set your timer! I’ve learned that the hard way before.
If you try any of these recipes, be sure to take pictures and share on social media using the hash tag, #RightLaneMeals
Also, if you’re looking for a place to get your pastured poultry, this year we are offering a limited amount to local friends and family, so be sure to get your orders in before they’re gone! You can do that here: https://www.rightlaneranch.com/beef-chicken-lamb/pastured-poultry
Life is what you make it!
When you grow your food, you feed your soul.
Right Lane Ranch
I'm not naturally open minded, and I take comfort in my routines... but I have come to learn that it's true what they say; Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone.
Once upon a time I lived in a naive world that I really appreciated because once I began to explore the truth about things I routinely did, I did not like what I found out, and that meant I'd need to make changes. Change is never easy. Change takes work. It goes against our brain chemistry to make change because our brain likes to be cozy. Go figure. And I was okay with the idea of not needing to make changes... until I became a mother. I'll save the topic of motherhood for another blog post, on another beautiful day, but it's true that once I was known as "mom" to my beautiful daughter Olivia, I could no longer stay settled in comfortable areas of my life when I knew they weren't the best for me, or for her. You see, my routine was to eat food that came from a box, especially if it contained processed cheese, for two reasons: one, because it was tasty as heck, and two because it was simple. I tried to stay in my safe, naive place and close my mind off to any negative information pertaining to my certain routine for as long as I could, but as it became more and more obvious to me that I was the one influencing my daughter it meant I was the one who needed to be a better role model for her. Have you heard of "mom guilt" before? It landed on my shoulders like a ton of bricks when Olivia was 18 months old. Quite literally, I stood up from feeling frustrated on the living room floor and took myself on a little mom date to the grocery store. I grabbed a food magazine for "healthy eating" from the magazine rack and just began to add things to my grocery cart that I had never purchased before. A lot of those items I wasn't even sure how to pronounce! One thing I noticed was how I spent most of my time in the produce aisle...
When I got home from my mom date I threw away a lot of items that stocked my shelves including items that didn't have expiration dates, frozen meals & processed foods. My husband was rightfully irritated because those groceries cost us money, and were still edible, and he had no idea that we were making these changes but once I filled him in on the way my responsibility to be a good influence for our daughter was at the root of this, he was on board. Over the next few months my husband lost 60 pounds by changing his eating habits. This became a part of our lifestyle. We added fitness into our routine as well, and I'd be happy to share some of my best tips to stay active at home, but aside from physical changes I noticed that eating clean, healthy food also had an impact on my emotions and I felt more reasonable and stable. This meant that our healthy food was here to stay.
It wasn't long before I found out about food laws & regulations that I didn't agree with. I don't like to talk politics, and I always try to remain positive, so let's just say that I wasn't about to take on the responsibility of changing the government but I was considering growing my own food. At this point it had been years after that mom date, and our life had changed a lot including where we lived. When my journey to taking better care of my health started we lived in the city and now we owned 160 acres - what were we going to do with this opportunity? One thing that stood out immediately was that I had the opportunity to stick my middle finger in the air to the food issues I was researching about and feed my family with real, healthy food raised using sustainable, healthy practices. And the kicker? It was on our own land.
It was as simple as me suggesting to my husband that "we should get some chickens" before he was staying up late at night to read all about how to raise pastured poultry. I won't lie and tell you that we had interesting conversations during this time. In fact, all I ever heard about was chickens and how to raise them, how to feed them, how to build chicken tractors, and how they can have a positive impact following our grass-fed cattle around our property. Romantic, huh? It was certainly something my husband became passionate about which was good for me because I was passionate about eating and serving healthy food, not just to my family but to my friends and neighbors as well. We all deserve to have options that meat (haha, get it?) our expectations for what we'll put into our bodies to nourish our adventurous lifestyles.
So, here we are, 2 years after beginning to talk about it to actually raising our first 50 birds that will serve as food on dinner tables for families who want to know they're nourishing their bodies with good, healthy food provided by a farmer who believes in sustainable farming practices where our biggest goals are to improve the land we live on for future generations and to offer a clean, healthy option that we all deserve without limits.
For more information about how we raise our pastured poultry, you can look on our Beef, Chicken & Lamb page or feel free to send us an email. We like to say we're an open book and have faith that if our friends & family know what we do, that the truth will give them comfort in knowing what they eat is a good choice. Because we care. Also, if you'd like more information about staying fit at home, just shoot me an email and I'd be happy to start a conversation with you about some best practices and tips I have up my sleeve.
You can't do epic shit with basic people, and the Right Lane Eclipse was pretty epic from our perspective. Our volunteers showed up first and from a raw starting point transformed an empty field into the setting of something spectacular. It's important to mention that nothing great ever happens without much effort and our volunteers worked with us and worked hard to create a place where experiences and moments could happen for hundreds of families. From the least favorite responsibility of checking port-a-potties, where at one point we lost the key to be able to refill the toilet paper (YIKES!), to the physically demanding responsibilities of building & securing additional shade & moving hay bales, we acted as a team and while it felt like the to-do list kept growing, we finally were able to see the fruit of our labor pay off when guests arrived.
Just before Christmas 2014 Julie and I decided to seek a different life for our family. We had been living life in the fast lane and chose to seek out a life in the right lane; where we could enjoy the pace of nature. We found this in Wheeler County Oregon near the town of Spray. Our family has been in the process of transitioning throughout 2015. I have been building a business plan, reading and learning as much as I can, while Julie is planning away and the girls are deciding what animals they want to have on the farm. We see a life with cattle, horses, sheep, chickens, elk, deer, dogs, cats and even bunnies in our near future.
Everyone asks me is this something I have done before? To be honest no, not really, although I have more experience than most and am ready to continue learning every day. This wasn’t a decision we easily landed on. Financial security is something that is very valuable in this day and age, especially for a family of four. I have been in the project management field for nine years now and every year we had more and more security within my career. Julie has become an active part of the community and became an activist for personal lifestyle changes through her Julie Campbell Fitness page. I was recently promoted to a permanent position of a financial analyst working for the California Institute of Technology, one of the top employers in the quickly growing Tri-Cities of Washington. This is one of the best jobs in my career path that I could have asked for. In my line of work you are almost always on a term, because it is based on project life cycles. We could have moved all over the world, but Julie and I wanted roots. We were thrilled to have the security of a job in one place for as long as we wanted, but something was missing. We were rushing through life…